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Deborah Bass
Deputy Science Team Chief
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

P2K: In high level science today there is an awful lot of mathematics, and an awful lot of computer science, and a lot of people say, "Well, I'm not a math wiz, it doesn't come easy to me." Were you a math wiz? Is math something you use every day?

Deborah Bass: Actually at this point math is not something I use every day and I would argue that I am probably a "math phobic" kind of person, and yet I have a Ph.D. in geology. At the moment what I do right now for my job is I work communications. I work interfaces between people. I don't do math any more, and sometimes I kind of miss it because I have done a lot of programming in the past. So I have that in my background, but we need people in the space program that can do all sorts of things. We need computer animators. We need educators. We need all kinds of people. You don't have to be a math wiz to work for NASA.

P2K: What were some of the science fiction stories that got you started?

Deborah Bass: Heinlein. Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite authors, and Arthur C. Clark is another one that I absolutely love. And then I like some fantasy books like Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. So just a whole wide range of things, but Heinlein is one of my favorites.

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