In the days of TOS, Scotty was an inspiration for engineers, today I believe the inspirational figure is Tony Stark – and I must agree, he is a very worthy successor to Scotty.
Spock was my inspiration in following a life in science, he was my scientific Muse – it is as simple as that.
I first came across Spock on TOS whilst living in New Zealand from 1966 to 1968. It is strange that New Zealand being at the arse-end of the Universe actually got TV programmes before the U.K. But I digress. Star Trek became compulsory weekly viewing. Strangely, the day we left New Zealand to come back to the land of the living dead – the U.K. – some two years later, we saw the premier of Arthur C Clarke’s 2001 in a Cinema in Auckland. That same evening we boarded the Australis and returned to the U.K. Leaving New Zealand that evening was the shittiest way to end a day I’ve known – so far.
However, the U.K. did offer repeat viewings of TOS over the following years and this reinforced my interest in science, chess, maths, logic and all things Spock related. Eventually, driven by Star Trek, more specifically Spock, I ended up taking a B.Sc. in Physics Maths and Astronomy at the University of Sussex which in turn led to a career in Semiconductor Physics and finally an Academic career at the University of Southampton.
Today, unhindered by a day job – and yet unable to travel amongst the stars – I can still live amongst the stars and nebulae, by imaging them, and bringing them indoors.
But – the main driving force behind the science all this time, for me, was Spock. A hugely influential part of my life has gone – I will miss you Spock 🙁