From the editors and reporters of Scientific American , this blog delivers commentary, opinion and analysis on the latest developments in science and technology and their influence on society and policy. From reasoned arguments and cultural critiques to personal and skeptical takes on interesting science news, you'll find a wide range of scientifically relevant insights here. Follow on Twitter @sciam.
Contact John Matson via email. Follow John Matson on Twitter as @jmtsn.
A Remembrance of Challenger Astronaut Ronald McNair on Anniversary of Shuttle Disaster [Video]
Twenty-seven years ago today space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, killing all seven crewmembers onboard. Among the victims of the 1986 disaster was astronaut Ronald McNair, who two years earlier had become the second African-American in space.
McNair lived only 35 years, but he amassed quite a résumé in that time. In addition to earning a spot in the astronaut corps, he attained a black belt in karate and received a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to his NASA bio.
A new video from StoryCorps, an oral-history nonprofitthat broadcasts stories on NPR, reveals McNair as a uniquely driven individual, even before any of those accomplishments. The astronaut’s brother, Carl McNair, recorded a few anecdotes from their upbringing during Jim Crowin 1950s South Carolina, recalling Ronald as a strong-willed dreamer. The three-minute animated video that accompanies Carl’s story—a warm tribute to his astronaut brother—is embedded below.
About the Author: John Matson is an associate editor at Scientific American focusing on space, physics and mathematics. Follow on Twitter @jmtsn.