One of the many perks of my job is that I get to attend fascinating scientific lectures. I have attended some amazing lectures, but one that really "blew me away" (pardon the bad pun) was the presentation by Tim Samaras, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Storm Chaser.
Most kids watched the Wizard of Oz and buried their heads during the scary tornado scene. Tim saw the beast of a storm and developed a fascination that would fuel a life of discovery and daredevil storm chasing. Tim and his team use their incredible technology (and a whole bunch of bravery) to drive directly into the path of the storm in hopes of collecting data that can lead to breakthrough discoveries. Tim and his team have developed an instrument called the "turtle" to collect data in the lowest 10m of the storm. This information is critically important because this is where the storm presents the most danger to people in the path of the storm. (Source: ThunderChase.com)
The science, photography, and video presented during Tim's lecture were fascinating, but I was most impressed by Tim as a person. Not only does he willingly risk his own life to track these deadly storms, but he and his crew also race to the scene after the tornado to lend a hand to the first responders. During his presentation, in a room filled with high-ranking scientists, Tim's attention was directed to the kids in the audience, who were granted a front-row seat. Every child's question was answered with kindness and a thorough explanation. He captivated the kids in the audience- not an easy task.
Tim is part of the JASON project: a Virginia-based organization that was founded by Dr. Robert D. Ballard in 1989. Dr. Robert Ballard is known for many breakthrough discoveries, including the wreckage of the RMS Titanic. The JASON project uses curriculum developed with NOAA, NASA, National Geographic, to connect students with scientists and researchers. (Source: Jason.org)
To find out more information on the great work of Tim Samaras and The JASON Project, please visit these links below.