Scientist hopes eclipse fever nudges some into science field

Scientist hopes eclipse fever nudges some into science field

A former NASA scientist is hoping all the excitement over the solar eclipse will inspire students to go into math and science careers.

So he took advantage of Monday's phenomenon to come to New Orleans with a message and be there the moment senior high school students witnessed history.

Clyde Dease was in the middle school in Picayune, Mississippi, when a NASA scientist from Washington, D.C. came to speak to his class years ago.

"I said, 'Excuse me sir, you mean to tell me we're going to go to that moon out there?' He said, 'Yes,'" Dease, President of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, recalled.

That one moment changed his future. Now retired after working on NASA satellite and space shuttle missions for 35 years, he is hoping one of the seniors at the International High School of New Orleans will be inspired by his talk and appreciation of how the solar eclipse works. One student put the rarity of a solar eclipse over populated areas in perspective.

"I don't guess you were alive in the last eclipse in 1979," we asked.

"No," said senior Grace Clark.

"Was your mom even alive," we inquire.

"She was three," Clark answered. 

And they had appreciation that it was science that taught mankind a solar eclipse was not a dragon eating the sun like the ancient Chinese believed .

"It's kind of cool that all the phenomenoms {SIC} that people were like, thought was magical we can explain by science," said Ka'Lasha Jones, a senior.

And then it was time to witness history, through the homemade cardboard devices with a pinhole, and the best of all, the special glasses.

"It's truly extraordinary, really. I've never seen anything like this before. I was so excited to see this and I'm glad I get the chance to," said senior Ediell Wilson. 

Her classmates could be heard saying, 'That so cool. Oh my God.'

'It's like a quarter moon.' 

'Oh, it look like a lamp.'

'Oh wow, looks fascinating.'   

 'Oh my God.'

'That's crazy.'

'Whoa, it's red.' 

'It look cool. It's coming this way.' 

Just a few quotes from normally talkative teens who were somewhat speechless. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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