On May 30, 2020, The United States launched a manned spacecraft into low-earth orbit for the first time in nine years. SpaceX is now the first private company to launch NASA astronauts into space from US soil. The astronauts are heading to the International Space Station. And how did this happen? With a whole lot of math. As we celebrate this historic flight that could be the next step in human exploration of the Moon and even Mars, we’re highlighting two women whose love of math took them on unexpected journeys of their own.
Host Gillian King-Cargile (@gkingcargile) and Kristin Brynteson (@kbrynteson) talk with NASA’s Ryan Prouty. Ryan Prouty is now the Assistant Director for Strategy and Vision at NASA's Johnson Space Center. But for the past 23 years, she was a key team member and then leader of NASA’s International Space Station Program.
Then, Gillian talks to S.L. Huang (@sl_huang) whose own love of math took her from MIT to a career as a Hollywood stuntwoman. Huang now shares her love of math through action-packed sci-fi books about math genius and mercenary Cas Russell. The latest in the series is Critical Point from Tor Books.
Enjoy the episode and remember, next time a student whines, “When am I going to use this?” you can answer, “When you’re packing for space or writing a sci-fi novel about math and guns, Timmy!”
Northern Illinois University’s STEM Read is part of the NIU STEAM family of programs that explore science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Find more great books, lesson plans, and resources at stemread.com.
The STEM Read Podcast is produced in collaboration with WNIJ.
Notes & External Links
- Watch the SpaceX Launch
- SpaceX: Returning Human Space Flight to the United States
- NASA’s International Space Station Program
- Mir Space Station
- An eye-witness account of the Mir Space Station Collision
- Partner Countries in the International Space Station Program
- Research and Technology on the ISS
- Crews and Expeditions
- NASA’s Vision for a Low-Earth Orbit Economy
- VCR Tapes (VHS) – Gloriously Bulky!
- Storytime from Space: Astronauts read picture books from the International Space Station
- Keep taking English Classes! No link. Just sayin.
- Work for NASA!
- NASA Resources for Educators and Students
- STEM Read’s Science + Fiction Virtual Summer Camp for Teens
- NIU STEAM’s Virtual Summer Camps
- MIT is kind of an intense school
- Zero Sum Game: A book about math and guns
- Huang reading Zero Sum Game. These books are not for elementary school kids!
- We need all the stories. We Need Diverse Books!
- Chicago’s C2E2 is geektastic!
- The Calculus Controversy: The Feud between Newton and Leibniz
- The mysterious death of Évariste Galois