Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tor and NASA in Collaboration

I generally avoid posting press releases and such on this blog because that just isn't my style or desire. But, I am a scientist who cringes at the state of science education these days and the relative lack of science inspiration in our society today. I'm also married to a PhD planetary geophysicist who does a lot of work for NASA and I imagine that some of my friends and acquaintances from grad school will be directly participating in this collaboration. So in this case, I'm happy to spread the news.

Tor/Forge Books and NASA Jointly Announce Publishing Collaboration  NEW YORK, NY (August 23, 2011) – In an effort to educate and encourage math and science education Tor/Forge Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, and NASA have embarked on a collaboration to publish a series of science based, commercial fiction books, referred to as "NASA inspired Works of Fiction" around concepts pertinent to the current and future work of NASA.  NASA will allow existing and new Tor/Forge authors to team up with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Subject Matter Experts (SME) to create scientifically accurate and entertaining novels in a distinctly unique way.

Tor/Forge and NASA hope that pairing scientists and engineers with the imprints’ award-winning roster of writers will raise awareness and inspire the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), in line with the President’s Technology Agenda.  They also hope to contribute towards the goal of attracting and retaining students in the above fields, thereby strengthening NASA and the nation's future workforce in a compelling manner. 

“When I was a boy, books by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and their colleagues excited me, inspiring a lifelong fascination with space and the science and technology that would get us there,” said Tom Doherty. “From Fulton and his steamboat, through Alexander Graham Bell and Edison, to Silicon Valley and the advent of the internet, innovative Americans have built a future in which we lead the world.”                                                                          

GSFC’s Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) Office will host a select group of Tor/Forge authors – some of whom already write science based fiction – to learn more about science and space exploration. Authors will visit GSFC for a two day workshop in November consisting of presentations, facility tours and one-on-one sessions with SMEs. NASA contributions to the project will also provide access to their data, facilities, and educational design and evaluation experts."Ultimately this agreement will benefit taxpayers as we look for innovative ways to train students for the science challenges of the future," said Nona Cheeks, Chief of GSFC's IPP Office, which is managing the project's implementation.

The enormous popularity of science fiction is a key element in this collaboration to make these NASA inspired Works of Fiction a gateway to reach the general public and to generate awareness of the significant role NASA plays in everyday lives. Many people who work in the fields of science and technology credit science fiction as a significant inspiration for their career choice.

“It is my hope that in working with NASA in the creation of new stories of science and discovery we will inspire the next generation of explorers and inventors, because it all starts with the imagination – with stories and dreams of better things to come,” said Doherty.

For more information about NASA and this project contact Enidia Santiago-Arce at 301.286.8497, Enidia.Santiago-Arce@nasa.gov

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