Adam's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Full Circle

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Palm Springs, CA

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 11

ADAM STELTZNER

Engineer
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

“When you look back at your life, you remember the great highs and the great lows. The middle sort of doesn't stand out that much, so never fear risking the great lows in pursuit of the great highs.”

INTERESTS:

Engineering Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Dedication Determination Education Exploration Failure Family Fear Perseverance Risk Self-Reflection Simplicity Chance Success Courage Goals Hard Work Struggle Values Regrets Societal Pressures Choices Confidence Focus Individualism Money & Financial Security Planning Fulfillment Conflict Instincts

FOUNDATION:

Accomplishing Goals

TAGS:

band, Boston, curiosity, discover, father, highs, Jet Propulsion Lab, JPL, lows, Mars, music, NASA, rocket, rover, school, science, shuttle, space, try, universe

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Isn't sure if he ever graduated high school, dropped out of the Berklee College of Music.
  • Found himself continually pulling out of things just as they got serious.
  • Realized he was becoming his father, who'd never really had a passion.
  • Wanted to find something he loved and commit to it, so he took an astronomy course at a community college.
  • Says the equation "f=ma" changed his life; he realized that physics used a beautiful language that he wanted to learn.
  • "Surrendered to the learning process," worked really hard at his education and earned a Ph.D. in engineering physics.
  • Led the mechanical engineering of the Curiosity Mars rover landing.
  • Says his job has definite "failures," but thinks that attempting and failing is always better than not trying.

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