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Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.


David Mittman
Mission Planner, Pathfinder
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

As a Kid

As a kid, I remember getting a subscription to "Scientific American" magazine for my 13th birthday. At that time I couldn't understand most of what was written, but I was interested in the kinds of articles that were in the magazine, articles from all areas of science. I was never a "Popular Mechanics" kind of kid, never interested in just one area of science, I was interested in all areas. I'm sure that because my interest wasn't very focussed, I didn't become an engineer, doctor, or scientist. Instead I learned about the computers which everyone needs to use in their scientific work.

My first experience with computers came in high school when my physics teacher acquired two new Apple II computers. I was able to tinker with them during after-school hours. I would take out "how-to-program" books from the local library and type the computer program examples into the computer to see how they worked. During summer school, I learned how to program in FORTRAN using punch cards on the school district administration mainframe computer; that was my first, and last, formal class on computer programming.

I've worked in a computer store assembling computer systems for sale, I've taught college extension courses on using computers in business, and I've owned my own business offering computer training to businesses and their employees.

I still don't understand absolutely everything in "Scientific American," but I still enjoy reading and learning about new areas of science and technology.

Some Personal Information

I live in Arcadia (population 65,000), a few miles east of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. My wife, Felice, teaches fifth grade in Duarte, a few miles east of Arcadia. We have two beautiful children, Jenna (age five-and-a-half) and Brandon (age three-and-a-half). Jenna attends kindergarten and daycare where she was recently named Student of the Month. Brandon goes to preschool where he was recently given a promotion to the position of "gate-holder" (he gets to hold the wrought-iron gate open as the other children pass through on the way to recess). We have three cats named Alex, Nikki and Marble, and two goldfish named Azalea and Big Max. Although born in Chicago, I consider myself a

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