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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.


Steve Wall
Advanced Projects Design Team Leader
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

When I was a Kid

I liked exploring as a kid. Sometimes it was outdoor exploring, and sometimes it was wandering through a library or even through the encyclopedia looking for interesting stuff. It helped that I grew up in the country where there is always something that leads you down a new path. I can remember making maps of the neighborhood and trying to understand where the telephone pole wires went and came from. There were certainly times when I got into trouble from too much curiosity. I remember being very proud when I discovered how to attach a tape recorder to the telephone until the phone company called my parents and told them it was illegal! If you want to do research, keep looking around for what excites you the most, or what raises your curiosity the most. Then read about it and ask questions about it, always following the details that interest you.


It was my father and mother who first encouraged and even helped with the various "experiments" I did. Later, a friend in high school taught me that it is OK to branch out and try new, unconventional things, but that safety has to always come first. My physics professor Richard Patty showed me that doing research is just an advanced form of a child's play, and my first supervisor, Fred Huck, taught me how to let "reasonable [people] reasonably differ."


I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I lived until I was 22 years old. I am now 48 and married to Kate Borger, who is a nurse. I love the outdoors. We live in Altadena, California, near a range of mountains where I hike and bicycle with Elise, our seven-year-old daughter. Elise also likes to swim, play soccer and take care of her hamster, Joey. Our family likes to go sailing together, and we also ski.

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