Roscoe Lecture: Professor David C. Hilmers
19 March 2012
Professor David C. Hilmers delivered the Roscoe Lecture ‘Four Times in Space – An Astronaut Returns to Earth to Grapple with its Challenges’ at St George’s Hall last Thursday.
Professor Hilmers is a veteran of four space shuttle missions and has logged over 493 hours in space including the first flight after the Challenger accident. He was a Marine Corps Colonel, aviator and electrical engineer before serving as a NASA astronaut. Following this, he attended medical school and is now an associate professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
In addition to teaching, his clinical pursuits have included international HIV, paediatrics special needs, emergency medicine, tropical medicine, nutrition, and inpatient internal medicine. He has done international volunteer service and disaster relief work in many countries.
Prior to the Roscoe Lecture, Professor Hilmers visited local schools including St Anselm's Grammar School in Wirral where he talked to over 300 students about his experiences. He also visited LJMU’s Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI).
Students from three schools were present for his talk at St. Anselm's College (St. Anselm's were joined by Upton Hall Convent School and Birkenhead School for Girls). Professor Mike Bode from the LJMU's ARI and Professor Hilmers were greeted by the headmaster, deputy head and two students before entering the packed assembly hall for his eagerly awaited talk. St Anselm's was chosen for his visit due to their involvement with the National School's Observatory (NSO) project, where students can take part in activities such as Asteroid Hunting for the internationally backed Minor Planet Center (MPC).
In his talk to the students David impressed upon how "it is important to follow your dreams and if you work hard, and have a little luck, anything is possible".
David then continued on to the ARI where he sat with staff and students for a Q&A session, they discussed the logistics of travelling to Mars and possibilities for overcoming zero-gravity for long distance space travel. David's final stop in the Wirral was to Spaceport, there he re-visited take-off in the Space Pod to the in-house Space Station, from where the universe can be explored and also toured the 'Wallace and Gromit in Space' exhibition.
Speaking at the Lecture about his career and experiences, he also expressed his 'inspiration and motivation in seeing young people who are working to achieve and live their dreams, including the Citizenship Award winners at the Roscoe Lectures'.
The International Citizenship Award at last night’s Lecture was sponsored by the Liverpool Consular Corps, and presented by Dr Nunzia Bertali from the Italian Consulate. The winner was Vanessa Noakes, a Physics student from St Mary’s College, Wallasey, who is raising money to go to Tanzania this summer to help with building classrooms and teaching English.
Professor Hilmers has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics and Economics, a Degree of Electrical Engineer, MD (Medical Doctor) and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) and is Master of Science in Electronics Engineering. The Professor is a recipient of three NASA Exceptional Service Medals, in addition to many other service awards and medals.
His last space mission was with STS-42 Discovery in 1992.
Listen to the Roscoe Lecture again at: http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/roscoe/97603.htm
Pictured (left to right): LJMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill, Dr Nunzia Bertali from the Italian Consulate, International Citizenship Award winner Vanessa Noakes, Professor David C. Hilmers, and Director of LJMU's Foundation for Citizenship, David Alton (Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool).