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NASA Scientist No Match for Pre-Schooler’s - Embarrasses Son

Ms. Hampton’s 3-4 year old preschool was having a very interesting and very educational week. It was “Bring a Parent to School Week" and each child had a designated time to have their parent enter the classroom and talk about what kind of job they had and some of the things that they would do during the day. The most popular so far were the parents who were a fireman, police woman, candy store owner and garbage man. But no matter who took from stage of Ms. Hampton’s class most of the children were anxious to meet little Stevie’s dad. He was an MIT Honors graduate and worked as a lead scientist for NASA, personally responsible for several Shuttle Missions. Stevie would often brag about his father to friends as his father’s intelligence and achievements are known throughout the science world and as Stevie says “..knows everything about everything.”
As a scientist Stevie’s father was always prepared and very confident; this of course was before he entered his son’s class on a Tuesday just after morning snack.
Ms. Hampton began by gathering the children in a circle and little Stevie was allowed to introduce his father. Stevie’s dad gave a very brief and understandable (for four-year olds) explanation of what he did then opened the floor for questions.
Suzie Mac was the first to raise her hand. “Why is the sky blue” she asked. Small potatoes for a genius.
“Well Suzie, that’s a great question. There is a very complicated answer to this, but basically the blue color of the sky is due to what's called Rayleigh scattering. This means that the colors in the sky are scattered around but mostly you see the blue, and that's what the sky looks that color.”
He wasn’t prepared for the follow up question:
“So you are saying the sky really isn't blue? Why does the light scatter?” Suzie responded.
A little surprised he answered, “Well this is the complicated part. You see Suzie, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue. Next question.”
But Suzie wasn’t finished. “What are gas milicules?” she asked.
“You mean molecules. Well a molecule is the simplest structural unit of an element or compound.”
“How come it’s the simplest?”
“It just is.”
“Because that’s how it works.”
“So you don’t know.”
“I guess not.”
And this is how it went for the next 30 minutes. Every simple question escalated into a barrage of “Why’s” and “How’s” that frustrated the scientist and ended with no concrete answers for the children. A not-so-impressive performance as the children would later say.
Stevie was thoroughly embarrassed and the dreams of becoming astronauts went from 3rd to 10th on the classrooms “Best Job” list.


Anonymous said...

That was cruel, fancing setting a kindergarten group to attack a scientist, the teacher should have known he was no match for them!


Anonymous said...

damn, faning = fancy

LOL @ wordify - phinsh

Darth Rob said...

Those days can be hell. I got cut off when I told the kids about the fine art of being a bum. Seems teachers dont want kids being influenced by us "dont give a crap" people.

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