I could not imagine living in a house that does not have a basement. While most people would simply discard anything that doesn’t fit in the main level of their house, I simply move it to the basement. So, my basement is quite full of junk. Sometimes, I need to find something in my basement, and I search endlessly, and eventually give up and declare the item “missing”. In the process of searching, however, I often find things that had previously been declared “missing”. So, I have come to learn that nothing is ever “missing”, it simply is waiting for a later time to be found.
I thought about my basement when I read about a recent discovery by scientists studying data received from the James Webb Space Telescope. This telescope is the largest optical telescope in space. It’s high-resolution and high-sensitivity instruments make it capable of viewing objects too distant or too faint for the Hubble Telescope. This telescope has been in space for only a little more than a year, and it is already sending back data and images that are simply amazing.
Similar to my basement adventures, scientists were recently looking for one thing using the James Webb Space Telescope, and they discovered something entirely different. NASA scientist were looking for a previously-discovered asteroid, but were unable to find it due its brightness and an offset in the telescope’s direction. While they could not see the asteroid they were looking for, they did discover another asteroid which had never been seen before. The new asteroid was very small, demonstrating that the James Webb Telescope was capable of finding asteroids smaller than anything which was previously discoverable with Hubble. The mission had been declared a failure, but was now declared a great success.
I found this story particularly interesting because in addition to reminding me of my cluttered basement, it also made me think about how many different scientists, and how many different disciplines, and how many different engineering achievements were necessary to ultimately find this asteroid. It was not a single person, or even a single team of people that got us here. Designing and building the Telescope was the first task at hand, and that required massive amounts of Systems Engineering and manufacturing expertise. Launching the Space Telescope into space with a Ariane 5 Rocket was also a huge feat, which required the skills of another team. Daily operations of the telescope and managing the data from the telescope require even more attention from a completely different set of scientists. There is huge number of people that had their hands on this discovery, and the future discoveries of the James Webb Space Telescope.
To be a well-rounded scientist or engineer, one should have a basic level of understanding of each of the disciplines that contribute to his or her area of expertise. Short-Course Technical Training like what is offered by Applied Technology Institute is a great way to acquire that basic level of understanding. ATI can not replace the intensive training a scientist acquired in his or her field of expertise; there is no way a 4-day short course can substitute for a long and rigorous college education. ATI short-courses can, however, offer a way for a scientist or engineer to become more aware of the many disciplines which work in unison with their field of expertise. And, even within a scientist’s field of expertise, short-courses can help refresh certain areas of their training.
A complete list of upcoming ATI short-courses, as well a complete list of available short-courses can be found at the ATI homepage ( www.aticourses.com ). We hope to see you in an upcoming ATI short-course, or an upcoming ATI Free-Session soon.