The Truth About This Rocket Scientist

>> Monday, May 24, 2010

Kathy at the Junk Drawer did an interesting thing a week or so back. She listed out some truths that one might not expect about a humor writer that were true about her. I thought this was a great idea. So much so, I'm stealing it, at least once.

Starting with here. So, here are five things about this Rocket Scientist that you might not have expected.

1. I'm not a math whiz. I don't do calculations in my head or plot out trajectories by hand. I can do math. It doesn't scare me or confuse me, but arithmetic, trig and calculus aren't my favorite things. What I like about math are word problems. I love word problems, love taking the real world and translating it into math or vise versa. But, get me to balance a checkbook or average out reliability rates? Yikes! That's what computers are for.

2. I didn't build rockets or planes or bombs for entertainment growing up. You'd be amazed how many people I know in this business received bombs (like fertilizer bombs) or who built rockets and model this or that growing up. Many are legomaniacs. I didn't do any of that. I didn't really play with dolls either. I read novels and made up stories or wrote poetry and played make believe in my own mind. Yes, naturally I was sooooo popular.

3. I'm not notably good with tools. Don't get me wrong. I know how to use saws and hammers and nails. I helped build/decorate a number of houses. I'm fairly mechanically adept, for a layperson. However, I don't fix cars or computers or appliances. I don't take things apart and put them back together for entertainment value. Could I? Maybe, but it doesn't interest me.

4. I believe in magic. Oh, I like science and facts and real world wonder. I just don't see why that precludes magic. I have children. I think that's magic. I love flights of fancy and dreaming and fantasy. I think looking for what's "impossible" is why we have as much science as we have. But that's just my opinion.

5. The last thing I ever expected to be was an engineer. I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. In fact, that's all I ever wanted to be. If you'd told me in high school I was going to be an engineer, I might not have ever stopped laughing. As you can see, the joke was on me. Scholarships called to me, and, once in engineering, I was just too stubborn to get out. I've enjoyed it, naturally, and I'm glad I took the path I took...mostly. But it was a path I never expected to take.

And now you know.


  • Jeff King

    Thx, I am glad you shared...

    I built tons of rockets and bombs growing up. All from scratch, no diagrams or plans to follow, just my brain, stupidity and trial and error.

    One day you will get published, I am sure of it. Until then, hope life keeps going well.

  • Roy

    You're in good company; apparently Albert Einstein wasn't a math whiz, either.

  • The Mother

    I didn't find any of that terribly unexpected, considering what I've read here for the past year.

    I agree that pushing the envelope of the possible is why science is so successful--but I do think that magical thinking (in ordinary folks, who lack the critical thinking skills to separate fact from fiction) is what lets so much pseudoscience propagate. In other words--and this is going to sound VERY elitist, but it's my position, and I'm sticking to it:

    It's okay for those of us who GET THE DIFFERENCE to dabble in the idea of magic. But promoting it to the masses is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.

  • The Mother

    And what does "maufhood" mean?

  • Shakespeare

    Funny how the math I hate most is word problems. I LOVED proofs in Geometry--I am forever caught up in the visual.

    I believe in magic, too. See it every day at work, in little ways. I suppose my definition of it is different than The Mother's... *sigh*

  • Quadmama

    I like the fact that you like magic. It shows that even though your career is rooted in facts and science, you're still open to possibilities.

  • Kathy

    I loved this, Stephanie. You're probably one of the most well-rounded bloggers I know. I love that your interests draw from both sides of your brain so fully.

    If I ever have trouble falling asleep, I have been known to do math calculations in my head because I hate doing them and it makes me tired.

  • Aron Sora

    You need to star in a commercial promoting STEM education in our youths, you debunked every stereotype about engineers.

  • Stephanie Barr

    Thanks, Jeff and Roy.

    The Mother, I don't know what maufhood is. It's from <a href=">Bellifortis</a>, apparently a depiction of Alexander the Great holding a rocket (They list the word as "MEUFATON" which is no less cryptic as far as I'm concerned).

    I know we see magic differently. That's OK. You are welcome to steal the idea yourself and debunk preconceived notions of medical folks (or reinforce them).

    I hear you, Shakespearee. Thanks a lot Quadmama and Kathy. And thanks for the great idea to steal, Kathy.

    Good point, Aron.

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