Saturday, November 1, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 30- Bobak Ferdowsi, Space, NASA, and Mars!

I have to be honest, I'm kind of freaking out here. Like many people I pulled myself away from the Olympics to watch the Curiosity land on Mars in August of 2012. Thanks to the interwebs I was able to get a live feed from inside mission control and experience the landing in a way that was possible during no other landing. I saw realtime data, lightspeed delayed Mars data, and a dude at a computer with...a mohawk? A NASA engineer with a painted mohawk? And, like thousands of other people, I immediately became a fan of the guy known simply as Mohawk Guy. Here was someone I could relate to. Not to say I'm as smart as he is, not even a little, but here's a guy who takes Science and Cool and mashes them together in an interesting engaging way. Like landing a car on Mars wasn't cool enough, one of the guys doing it looked like he thought it was as fun as I thought it was. A man after my own weird heart.
Reaction after the Seven Minutes of Terror and a safe Touchdown
Bobak Ferdowsi, the Mohawk Guy, quickly became a star in his own right, including getting a shout-out from the president. He did tons of interviews and made science cool and exciting for the masses. What a great hook for a science lesson or a space lesson! Want to get your kids' attention? Just put up a picture of Bobak and say "Rocket Scientist" (close enough) and they will be on board with whatever you have to say.
A few months ago I got a wild hair to ask Bobak to help with #WeirdEd one week. He's on twitter, he probably won't answer, but it couldn't hurt to ask. I noticed he was active one night and sent him a tweet explaining #WeirdEd and asking for his help (not easy in 140). He DMed me back (no, he wasn't following me. He saw the tweet, followed long enough to DM me, then unfollowed) that he was interested and to email him more information.
I've never been through more drafts of an email.
We began an email back-and-forth, trying to figure out the best time for him to come on and talk with teachers and the best way to run the chat. I didn't want to do an hour-long Q&A because that's too unfocused and splintered and not what #WeirdEd is about. And I didn't want him to just ask us questions for an hour either because that isn't the best use of access to such an incredible mind. So we're compromising.
There will be three mostly traditional #WeirdEd question, asked by Bobak (@tweetsoutloud), and then we'll turn it over to you all to ask him questions. His specialties are, obviously, space, science, and engineering, and I think getting a look at education from someone who has been through a few different education systems (check his wiki, no I won't link to a wiki) will be invaluable to us all.
I know I can count on the #WeirdEd family to come up with some amazing questions. Let's impress Bobak with what kind of teachers we all are and what good hands our future NASA engineers are in.

My #WeirdEdE brothers and sisters- I'm sorry, but I can't ask him to do two chats. That feels like stretching his goodwill. Instead, #WeirdEdE will have three planned questions and I encourage you all to stay up late and join us at #WeirdEd.

If you need more reason to come, or aren't sure he is right for the chat, or want to know more about him personally, he went on Chris Hardwick's (@nerdist) All Star Celebrity Bowling YouTube show, and you should check that out below.(warning- video contains some language and many dick jokes)

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