Armstrong inspired professors to learn

Omar Oseguera, Photo and Multimedia Reporter

Bakersfield College professors reacted to astronaut Neil Armstrong’s death, which occurred on Aug. 29. Armstrong was an American hero, being the first man to set foot on the moon and giving America the win in the 1960s space race.

The impact of Armstrong’s landing is very memorable, as recognized by President Barrack Obama in his statement, saying, “Neil was among the greatest heroes-not just of his time, but of all time.”

Nick Strobel, BC astronomy professor and director of the William M Thomas Planetarium, elaborated on the impact that Armstrong made to astronomy and the world.

“Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the rest of the astronaut crew showed that it is possible to solve some ‘impossible’ problems by devoting time and resources to the task and working together,” said Strobel. Strobel was 4 years old at the time of Armstrong’s landing, but he recognized that to those older than him, the landing was extremely inspirational.

“The Gemini and Apollo missions were key to sparking their life-long passion for, and careers in science or engineering,” he said. This talk impacted Strobel’s inspirations for going into astronomy. Strobel admired the ethics of Americans in the Apollo days.

“The U.S. had a real can-do attitude to solving huge problems,” he said. “We didn’t look for someone else to help us solve our problems, we solved them ourselves.” He  believes that ethics has started to fade away with new generations.  Randal Beeman, professor of history at BC, also reflected on Armstrong’s legacy and his impact on America and the world.  Beeman, 6 at the time of the moonwalk, had the opportunity to meet some of the astronauts back in Frankfort, Kan., and have his picture taken with them.

“It was a real honor,” said Beeman.

The Apollo program gave the world the first sight of the Earth from outer space, contributing to the environmental movement and impacting professor Beeman’s life and career. Beeman considers the space program to be, “in some respects the epitome of the Greatest Generation.

“They believed and acted like America could do anything,” Beeman said. “It is hard to imagine us thinking this big and bold again as a country.” Beeman also gave Armstrong high praise, saying that he will eventually be celebrated among Columbus or Magellan.

“His words, ‘we came in peace for all mankind,’ suggest a future world that is more unified and a world that devotes to its resources for positive causes, instead of a world dedicated, as it seems sometimes, to self-destruction,” said Beeman.