July 26, 2013
The Aero and Space Academies at GRC were treated to a presentation by Tom Benson, current NASA employee. Tom treated the Academites to a discussion of his many experiences, giving sound advice on how to be successful in the adventure that we call life. Growing up in Columbus, OH, Tom attended Ohio State University, where he received his BS and MS in Aeronautical and Aeronautical Engineering. Merely by the whim of a taxi driver, Tom ended up serving in the USAF as an engineer in the Inlet Aerodynamics Group. This, and some Ph.D studies in computational fluid dynamics at OSU, enabled Tom to work on Mach 5 inlet and shock boundary layer interactions at NASA Glenn Research Center.
During his time at NASA, Tom has worked on the National Aerospace Plane Project, been a manager, and done extensive work with the Learning Technologies Project. This project involves a series of educational outreach tools-such as online textbooks-and interactive software that helps inspire students through an interest in aerodynamics and propulsion. Tom is currently continuing his work with CFD and outreach In his free time Tom is an official Wright Brother, giving talks on the Brothers’ famous work. Throughout his talk, Tom talked about how his life was an “n-dimensional space” made up of different bases, such as relationships, science/ technology, politics, sports, and so on. He emphasized how important it was to not constrain yourself to any single base, and rather to simply trust where life takes you and enjoy the ride.