Andrew's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    UK Team

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Washington, DC

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 3

  • ON DVD:

ANDREW STEELE

Astrobiologist
NASA

“Your life is a gift. No one has the right to tell you how to use that gift. And no one has the right to try and place you into a mold or into a position that they see right for you.”

INTERESTS:

Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Chance Confidence Hobbies & Pastimes Opportunity Perseverance Planning Societal Pressures Values

FOUNDATION:

Problem-Solving

TAGS:

biology, hobby, keep doors open, life is a gift, life on mars, meteorite, NASA, options, PhD, research, society, space, stardust, taking advantage

BIOGRAPHY:

  • He doesn’t consider his job a “job”; calls it his “hobby,” something he loves to do and think about.
  • Had been doing high-powered imaging of bacteria while working on his Ph.D.
  • Saw NASA’s images of what they claimed were traces of bacteria on a meteorite from Mars.
  • Tracked down the names of the scientists on the project, swore he could give them better microscopic images.
  • They sent him a piece of the meteorite, he followed through on his claim, and they offered him a job.
  • Big proponent of “fake it ‘til you make it” — dealt with NASA as “Dr. Steele,” had only had his Ph.D. for three weeks.
  • Never dreamed he’d be working for NASA or “changing the world”; he just always liked what he studied.
  • Stresses our great gift is life; we’re all made up of “exploding stardust,” and you had a “ridiculously” low probability of being human, of being you.

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