Neil Armstrong: Boilermaker

Armstrong, 1969

The first lunar landing by a manned craft is arguably one of the most well-known moments of humankind.  "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." is one of the most- famous quotes...and Neil Armstrong was responsible for both.

The greatest, most-famous Boilermaker ever, Neil Armstrong, has died at the age of 82.

Armstrong was a quiet and private man...he didn't make a ton of appearances in public and not many really knew much about the man personally.  What we do know from his career as an engineer and astronaut is that he was a brilliant-minded and brave-hearted man who somehow bridged the gap between scientist and cowboy, like the other original astronauts.

In the 1950s, he was a student on the same campus that you and I attended...and a beautiful building in his honor and statue of him stands in the place of the crappy buildings in which I learned how to do what I now do professionally. He played baritone horn in the All-American marching band and received two degrees from Purdue- one in '55 as an aero engineer, the second, an honorary doctorate in '70...the same year my Dad graduated from our Alma Mater.

24 feet have trod upon the moon's surface, and four of them walked the sidewalks of God's Country before leaving this earth to do so (Cernan the other)...this might be one of the most-elite fraternities of man, thus far. For all of you students reading this, especially engineering students, you might enjoy this quote from Armstrong,

"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer ... born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow...and I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession."

Armstrong called the moon a "brilliant place"...and during the initial lunar landing said he'd "recommend it" to others.  I'd suggest students and those younger who are reading this take him up on his recommendation and work to get there yourselves. After all, he was just a kid from Cincinnati once...and a Boilermaker, shortly thereafter.

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