Discovery Launches!

Moments ago, Space Shuttle Discovery launched  for its last mission. We were not there to witness the launch in person. We watched on NASA-TV. The shuttle has now traveled far enough that it cannot return to KSC, should something go awry. “All systems are continuing to operate as expected.” Good luck to Discovery‘s crew. For a retrospective of Discovery, click here. Continue reading Discovery Launches!

Blast Off: Discovery and Writing

Tomorrow, space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch at 4:50 p.m. EST. We’ll be watching it remotely on our computers at 1:50 p.m. here in California. Tonight, the Rotating Service Structure will be rolled back, revealing the shuttle. Last time the RSS rolled back, Anna stood just outside the gate surrounding launch pad 39A. NASA will start filling the external fuel tank early tomorrow morning … Continue reading Blast Off: Discovery and Writing

Guest Blog: Brian Foster

We welcome guest blogger and physicist Brian Foster this week. With Jack violinist Jack Liebeck, he does a program called “Einstein’s Universe.” Click here to find out more about the upcoming events. Brian Foster is a professor of experimental physics at Oxford University. His CV is twelve pages chockfull of publications, awards, and grants. His books include Electron-Positron Annihilation Physics. Among other aspects of particle physics, … Continue reading Guest Blog: Brian Foster

Literary Science Writing

Given that two-thirds of the mandate we set for ourselves here at Lofty Ambitions is Science and Writing (as a couple), it will come as little surprise that we hold science writing in particularly high esteem. In each of our lives, books about science have either confirmed that we were doing the right things with our lives—in our educations and our careers—or these books have … Continue reading Literary Science Writing

Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords, and Grit

Last Monday, astronaut Mark Kelly rejoined the crew of STS-134 for their final training for the April launch of space shuttle Endeavour. Mark Kelly has been on leave from NASA since January 8, when his wife, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was shot at a public event in Tuscon, Arizona. The next day, Scott Simon of NPR said, “Gabby Giffords has true grit. I don’t mean the … Continue reading Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords, and Grit

Crab Cakes with the Wright Brothers

This past week, we attended the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in Washington, DC. As we usually do, we applied a divide-and-conquer method to deciding which panels and presentations we would attend individually. Doug attended an especially intriguing panel on science writing, featuring David Everett, Nancy Shute, James Shreeve, and Christopher Joyce. We’ll have more to say about the science writing panels at … Continue reading Crab Cakes with the Wright Brothers

Guest Blog: Peter and Kirsten Stoltz

We’ve had this guest blog piece ready to go for several weeks, having asked Peter and Kirsten Stoltz to write about being a scientist-artist couple like ourselves. Doug worked with Peter at Tech-X for several years; Doug was based at Fermilab in Illinois and made regular trips to the parent company so that we got to know both Peter and Kirsten. We were especially interested … Continue reading Guest Blog: Peter and Kirsten Stoltz

The Space Shuttle as Artifact

In November, we traveled to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to see Space Shuttle Discovery’s final launch. That mission is now scheduled for the end of this month. After Discovery lands back at KSC, or perhaps at Edwards Air Force Base in California, that shuttle will make its way to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. The pieces of the Space Transportation System will … Continue reading The Space Shuttle as Artifact