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Neil Armstrong: Why The World Needs ‘Nerdy Engineers’ (In Animated Form)

Combine the gravitas of humanity’s first moon visitor with the whimsy of animation, and the result is pure fun. Here, you can see part of Neil Armstrong’s address to the National Press Club on Feb. 22, 2000 about how engineering made the world a lot better in the past century. Providing animation is PhD Comics creator Jorge Cham.

“Engineering helped create a world in which no injustice could be hidden,” the retired NASA astronaut (now deceased) said in that speech, explaining that engineering is more focused on envisioning possibilities than the facts-based science professions.

While Armstrong makes no direct reference to his historic 1969 moon landing in the speech, the animation is peppered with references including the famous “bootprint” picture taken by his crewmate, Buzz Aldrin.

We’d be interested in knowing what scientists or science fans think of his point of view. Is Armstrong’s view too limited for science, or an accurate description? Watch the video, and let us know in the comments.

Neil Armstrong at a gala celebrating NASA's 50th anniversary in September 2008. Credit: NASA/Paul Alers

Neil Armstrong at a gala celebrating NASA’s 50th anniversary in September 2008. Credit: NASA/Paul Alers


Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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  • mewo April 2, 2014, 5:33 AM

    I’m pretty sure the PhD comics guy’s surname is Cham, with an M.