Those were a couple of the topics that were presented as a poster session at JPL today. Pretty low tech - poster up, presenter available and willing to talk with you about a topic they've been investigating.
Interesting note was that all the scientists and engineers presenting were Latino or were of Latino heritage. What a kick to have this young scientist, originally from Argentina, share her work in Spanish. The Hub in the library at JPL was resounding with English, Spanish, and Scientific vocabulary.
While there we also hears about a young student who was laughed at by his classmates when he shared he wanted to be a scientist. They felt they were much more sophisticated and wanted to become recording artists, movie stars, and celebrities.
Wish there were a happy ending to this tale. But this time there isn't. Despite his being helped by a local community volunteer to find a group that could help him achieve his dream. They reached out to him, but weren't able to help his parents understand, or perhaps sacrifice; the benefits of the future vs. for the needs of the present. In the end the mother tossed his lab coat in the trash.
I'm hoping that sometime in the future he finds the strength to reach back to his dreams and makes them real. Maybe someday he'll meet a young scientist, or someone who loves science, and a dream will become vivid again.