When the Curves Line Up

From December 5, 2009.

The inspiration for the title of this astronomy blog is a chapter from Craig Nelson’s Rocket Men.  In the final chapter of this book tracing the background of Apollo 11, Nelson recalls a conversation with Gerry Griffin, a NASA Flight Director.  A group of NASA employees went to Caltech, where the first moonwalker, Neil Armstrong, “got up at the blackboard and he drew four curves.  They look kind of like mountain peaks.”  The titles of the peaks were “Leadership,” “Threat,” “Good Economy”, and “World Peace.”  As Griffin recalls, Armstrong said, “My theory is that when all of those curves are in conjunction, when they all line up together, you can do something like Apollo.  Apollo, or something like it, will happen.  And we happened to be ready for that when all those curves lined up” (p. 348)

Regardless of the strength of an idea, without the appropriate leadership, a perceived threat, finances and general good feeling action cannot occur.

 

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