‘Why do we explore?’ This was the question that Joel Hutchinson asked Buzz Aldrin, Bill Nye, the administrator of NASA and many other prominent scientists he met during his time working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In fact, it was his role at NASA, promoting space exploration to the general public, that made him think about the connection between exploration at the frontiers of physics and its relevance to everyday life.
During his time at NASA, Hutchinson, a second-year master’s student in Physics, researched and talked to many people who had devoted their lives to space exploration. One thing that immediately became clear to him was that these astronauts and scientists were facing an uphill battle against public perception of the value of space exploration.
“NASA’s budget is steadily dwindling and many taxpayers have adopted this ridiculous notion that money spent on space exploration is somehow lost ‘out there,’” says Hutchinson.
He credits this experience for making himself more aware of the public perception towards his own field of analytical physics, and kindling his interest in promoting science education. Indeed, it was this that motivated him to speak at the upcoming TEDx Terry Talks and engage the audience in a conversation about how science impacts the world around them.
“Throughout my entire university career, whenever I tell people I study Physics, the reaction is almost always the same. ‘I hated Physics in high school,’ or ‘I was never any good at math.’ I really want to address those people in this talk. I want non-scientists to be comfortable talking about the ‘big questions’ of the universe,” notes Hutchinson.
For his TEDx Terry Talk this Saturday, Hutchinson will use what is called the “holographic principle” as an interdisciplinary tool to provide insight into how science and nature actually works together.
“What I will be talking about is really a poster child for how science should be. It’s an incredibly bizarre connection between two completely different realms of Physics that has the ability to describe things in the every-day world.”
When he’s not absorbed in the thrill of science exploration and frontier physics, Hutchinson likes to scuba dive and play dodgeball – although he notes, “not at the same time.”
Be sure to check out Joel’s talk at the TEDx Terry Talks on October 25th at the Life Sciences Centre. Ticket information can be found here.