Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Men of Adventure

Today's Boston Globe carried stories on two men who led adventurous lives, one because of the 100th anniversary of his birth and the other reporting the second man's passing.

Sergei Korolyov was the genius behind the early Soviet space program. He nearly died in a Stalin death camp, and his death is often claimed to have been from incompetent surgeons, but during his live he served his country much better than it treated him. His stunning successes with Sputnik, Vostok and others led to consternation in the United States. One positive outcome of that shock was an overhaul of American science & math education, an overhaul that served me well (though some backsliding from it didn't!). The shock also led to the American moon program, which I still find inspiring. Today is the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Bradford Washburn
led an amazing life. I never had the privilege to meet him, but he was the driving force behind the Museum of Science, which I have enjoyed many times. His pictures of mountains are stunning. To give some idea of his spirit, for his honeymoon he & his new bride became the first climbers to scale Mount Bertha in Alaska (picture in Globe article -- get it free while you can!).

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