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A keen bongo player sits alongside a veteran of the Korean War to face the world’s press. Why?
Richard was a mean bongo player, but he was also a Nobel award winning physicist. Meanwhile, Neil earned his student pilot's license at sixteen years old and flew for the navy during the Korean war, but he was also the first man on the Moon. So what were they doing facing the press?
Richard Feynman and Neil Armstrong were asked to join the Rogers Commission to investigate the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The question? Just what went wrong? What connects these two men is the unerring pursuit of fact.
Despite the politics of NASA, ultimately the facts came out. After close examination of all the data it was recognized that a design fault had caused two small rubber sealant rings to burn through. 73 seconds after liftoff the space shuttle was engulfed in flames, as a result the rocket broke up and, tragically, seven astronauts lost their lives.
The facts were, as they say, 'hidden in plain sight'. Sometimes seeing through all the big data, in this case more than 5000 physical pieces of broken shuttle and rocket, in addition to the noise of politics, to join the dots of data and find the relevant facts takes a moon walker and a quantum physicist. Sometimes it just takes just takes an insanely curious mind with a passion for education, world health and clarity of thought.
“Stay open to new data and be prepared to keep freshening up your knowledge.”
― Hans Rosling