Indiana News

Former Astronaut to Work at Children's Museum

Wolf to be the first Extraordinary Scientist In Residence; Museum announces Purdue partnership


L-R: Children's Museum president Jeffrey Patchen, museum board chairman David Gray, former astronaut Dr. David Wolf, Purdue president Mitch Daniels. ( photo: Ray Steele)

Scientists have long worked at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.  Now, they have one on staff who has been to space.

Listen to Ray Steele's report:

Former astronaut Dr. David Wolf was named the museum's first Extraordinary Scientist-In-Residence.  It will be a three-year position for the native of Indianapolis who graduated from North Central High School and Purdue University, and later earned a medical degree from IU.  Wolf says he is thrilled to have the chance to help teach children about science, engineering and math, with they hope that some of them will one day want to travel into space.

"I am thrilled when I see young people light up as they wrap their mind around space flight, the cosmos and zero gravity," said Wolf. "This will be an incredible opportunity to help them think in different ways that are applicable to all problem-solving. When I look back, many of the skills I needed to be good as an astronaut were learned as a young person. I can't wait to help these young people realize what they do now will affect them for the rest of their lives." 

The Extraordinary Scientist-In-Residence position is partially funded by a grant, with more funding being sought according to Children's Museum president Jeffrey Patchen.  He says the scientist in residence will work directly with kids and also help to develop companion materials for the museum's exhibits.  Patchen says his hope is to continue to find funding to extend the position to another scientist once Wolf's three years is up.

The museum also announced a new partnership with Purdue University.  Patchen says they will collaborate on exhibits and programs dealing with space and engineering in conjunction with Purdue University Libraries and its Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives.  Purdue president Mitch Daniels says the partnership helps Purdue by getting young people interested in science and math at an early age - he points out that Purdue was among the first schools to require incoming students to have four years of high school math.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for children to be inspired at the world's largest children's museum," said Daniels. "Young people can share the same dreams that touched astronauts and scientists like David Wolf and learn how to launch those dreams in the classroom, much as he did during his time at Purdue."



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