Scott Kelly comes in peace to deliver his lecture


On Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m., Captain Scott Kelly will give a Distinguished Lecture in the Laurie Auditorium about his various achievements and experiences from his time spent living in outer space.

“I think it’s exciting that we will get to hear him share his experience as his life as an astronaut and an engineer,” said Paola Gutierrez, a junior neuroscience major.

Members of Trinity’s various STEM departments are also excited to hear about Kelly’s experiences.

“He has really done such a unique thing to have gone on these missions, on a space shuttle, on the Soyuz capsules, for so long. He is going to have a truly unique perspective.” said David Pooley, professor of physics and astronomy.

Kelly’s lecture presents a unique opportunity to learn about experiences that were once considered implausible.

“He’s going to have a perspective and insights that are truly unique and I think would be very valuable for students to hear, to understand why is it that we do this sort of thing. What do we learn when we go to space? What can we learn about ourselves? I can’t think of anyone better than Astronaut Kelly to share that wisdom that he’s learned,” Pooley said.

Pooley will help lead a discussion with students and Kelly on the same day from 4 to 5 p.m. in Northrup Hall 040. All students are welcome to attend.

As an astrophysicist, Pooley has his own set of questions for Kelly and is excited to both lead a group discussion and learn more about Kelly’s experiences in outer space.

“I’m really interested to hear his perspectives of American and Soviet technology after the experience of being on a space shuttle versus a Soyuz capsule. Could he tell big differences in the technologies or the design ideas that were used for those two? So kind of the more practical aspects of getting up into space. I’d also be interested to hear why he chose to do such a thing, to go into space,” Pooley said.

Kelly has made several significant contributions to astrophysics through his work on different space capsules.

“On one of his missions, he was on one of the servicing missions for the Hubble Space Telescope and, as someone who uses a lot of Hubble Space Telescope data, I think that’s an amazing thing,” Pooley said.

Astrophysicists maintain a great deal of responsibilities at NASA, and Kelly’s achievements in this field are revolutionary.

“As astrophysicists, we owe a debt of gratitude to all of the astronauts that have put the NASA satellites up into space, Hubble, Chandra, all of them. I’d be interested to hear what he thought of the science aspect of going into space and other experimental things on the space station, to hear what he thought was memorable and meaningful.”

Staff and faculty members see Kelly’s lecture as a great opportunity for the Trinity community and have planned and coordinated his visit carefully.

“Here is an astronaut that has just been on a one-year epic journey in space. It’s just a rare opportunity to have an astronaut in our current time be able to come and tell such an incredible story,” said Sharon Jones Schweitzer, assistant vice president for external relations.

Part of Schweitzer’s job is to spread the word about Kelly’s visit and make sure that his visit goes smoothly. She also hopes that others will be inspired by his story.

“I think that [students and faculty] will gain some insight into the type of career and life he’s led,” Schweitzer said. “Hopefully, maybe years down the road, they will come to appreciate the opportunities that as members of this community we have to meet with some of the leaders of the world who come to our campus.”

Captain Scott Kelly’s lecture is free, and all members of the Trinity and San Antonio community are encouraged to attend.