Header Bar Graphic
Shuttle Image and IconAerospace HeaderBoy Image
Spacer TabHomepage ButtonWhat is NASA Quest ButtonSpacerCalendar of Events ButtonWhat is an Event ButtonHow do I Participate ButtonSpacerBios and Journals ButtonSpacerPics, Flicks and Facts ButtonArchived Events ButtonQ and A ButtonNews ButtonSpacerEducators and Parents ButtonSpacer
Highlight Graphic
Sitemap ButtonSearch ButtonContact Button

March 10, 1999
QuestChat with Steve Bauman

Mechanical Engineer
NASA Glenn Research Center
Cleveland, OH

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 09:34:04 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants! Today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Steve Bauman will begin at 10:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time. Be sure you have read Steve's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/bauman.html before joining this chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 09:34:24 ]
Once the chat begins, Steve will attempt to answer as many of your questions as he can, but please be patient. Today's chat will be MODERATED to help Steve keep up with our questions. This means that only a few questions will be posted to the chat room at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately during moderation. They will be held in our chat queue and posted as Steve answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 09:34:46 ]
Remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided before posting messages to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 09:35:05 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you thought about it. For your convenience, you may use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 11 - 10:00:47 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Steve Bauman from NASA John Glenn Research Center. Currently, Steve is trying to figure out how to prevent models mounted in the 8x6 wind tunnel at Glenn Research Center (formerly Lewis Research Center) from bouncing around during a test. He is also helping to design and build a new facility that will test jet engine combustors, which is a part where fuel is squirted in and ignited.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 12 - 10:01:05 ]
And now, here is Steve Bauman to answer your questions.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 15 - 10:04:37 ]
RE: [Christine] Why did you choose to go to Case Western? Do you have any suggestions for which schools are best for Aerospace Engineering majors?
I went to CWRU primarily because it was the school my dad wanted me to go to - his school. It was a very good school, but I wish I gad been a bit more selective. I think a less expensive, less prestigious school would have done the job just fine for me. Look for schools that offer hands on experience, like labs and design contests.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 17 - 10:06:15 ]
RE: [Christine] What is the most important thing you learned in college that you use in you work?
The most important things I learned were more on my own, tinkering, building, fixing, and asking a lot of questions. High school trig. is the most valuable math course I ever took. Your career education starts NOW.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 20 - 10:07:40 ]
RE: [Dane] Have you considered attaching cables to the models to stabilize it in the wind tunnel during tests? What are the probelms with this idea?
Yes we have. The problem with doing this is the drag on the cables and the effect this may have on the research. You are still considering it though.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 23 - 10:09:50 ]
RE: [Deb] Could you please share with us what a typical day on your job is like?
There are fortunately no two day identical. I just got back from speaking at a high school career day. Other days, I will be read or study drawings all day. On a good day, I make sketches of new ideas. I also talk to a lot of people, both in person and on the phone, about how to get a job done.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 25 - 10:11:34 ]
RE: [Christine] How time-consuming is your job? And what type of environment do you work in?
I work a pretty normal work day, usually 7:30-4:00, although this is quite flexible. I work in a nice, but old, office building that is very comfortable. I consider myself to be VERY fortunate. I am so glad that I am an engineer, and that I worked hard to get here.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 28 - 10:13:24 ]
RE: [Dane] Have you ever seen the Wright Flyer replica? How big is it compared to the models you work with?
Yes, I have seen a wright flier replica and is is amazing how large it is! Very few wind tunnel model can be that large. Our largest has a test section that measures 15 ft wide by 9 feet tall. Most model used are scaled down.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 29 - 10:14:59 ]
RE: [Christine] Having your job, do you feel that you spend enough time with your family?
Yes I do. NASA is a particularly wonderful place to work because I can keep normal hours, and need work very little overtime. It seems that few jobs allow for this anymore. And, family is my number one priority!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 32 - 10:16:36 ]
RE: [Jimmy] Have you ever tried your design skills with aircraft design?
Not much. I have made my own flying model airplanes, especially when I was young, and this taught me a lot about how airplanes fly. I love airplanes!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 33 - 10:18:23 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] Why do you like to take things apart and put them together?
To learn how they work. By knowing how other things are made to work, I am better able to use what has already been done for new applications. And, I can better think of fresh approaches for similar things. I love machines.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 37 - 10:20:54 ]
RE: [Lonnie] What was it about how things work that fascinated you?
I always thought that how things work fascinates everybody. I love to invent new ways of doing things, so I am smartest to find out how things are already done around me.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 38 - 10:22:13 ]
RE: [Kristin] How are you going to bild the new wind tunnel?
The new 1x1 SWT wind tunnel is already done, installed, and operating, and very well. It is made of welded stainless steel. It is a great design!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 39 - 10:24:05 ]
RE: [Lonnie] Why did you want to become an engineer? How did you pick the type of engineering?
I knew, from my interest in machines and how things work, and my interest in making new things, that engineering would be good. I picked mechanical after I started college, but now it seems like it was an obvious choice for me.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 41 - 10:26:32 ]
RE: [Reyes] Why did you have to make the track 150 feet long?
The track needed to be that long for it to extend from the floor, go up and arch over and go all the way to the far mic positioning point that the facility engineers had chosen. In other words, I didn't chose the length, it was just the result of what was needed. I wish you could see it - it is really impressive!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 46 - 10:29:30 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] Who's your hero?
I have no grand hero's in my life, but the most influential person to me has been my father. He has shown me the right way to do everything. Today, he is showing me how to be a terrific grandfather, and a productive retiree.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 47 - 10:33:11 ]
RE: [Jimmy] What gave you the idea to design a ferris wheel? Is it difficult or expensive to do something like that?
My daughter had thought that the model ferris wheel she saw in a movie was really neat, so at first I thought I might make her a model for Christmas. But then I realized that for about the same amount of work, but more clever engineering, that I could make a real ferris wheel, although small. Three years ago, my three children unveiled it on Christmas morning in our living room, and they were the first test pilots too, to ride near to our living room ceiling and back down again. We still use it today, but its out in my shop.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 48 - 10:33:28 ]
Everyone, once again, Steve is answering your questions as quickly as he can. We have lots of questions waiting for Steve in our chat queue, and we'll post them as he answers those ahead of you. For those of you leaving us early, please be sure to share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. Thank you for your patience and for joining us today!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 49 - 10:35:32 ]
RE: [Luis] I also want to be a engineer. How should I prepare my self?
Work hard is school. Math and Science are the most important, but all of the subjects are important. Like English is vital to be able to write well and to communicate. In high school, take the hardest college prep course you can - you'll be glad you did later in college! Learn how things work around you. Tinker.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 50 - 10:36:28 ]
RE: [Kristin] How big is your ferris wheel? Does it take up your hole back yard?
The ferris wheel is only about 6 feet tall, but its still a great thrill even to my 9 year old, but more so for younger children.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 55 - 10:41:11 ]
RE: [Dane] What are the most exciting parts of your job?
The best part is seeing something that you personally designed or engineered being made or assembled, and being installed or made to work. It is very rewarding to see the end results of your efforts.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 57 - 10:43:16 ]
RE: [Lonnie] What other kinds of NASA staff work with you on projects?
I work with designers that help me to figure out how to design things and then they draw them on a computer. And I work with technicians that make or assemble the parts. And there are many others as well.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 59 - 10:45:10 ]
RE: [Jimmy] What kind of writing do you do in your work? Do you think you will ever write a book?
I write an occasional project report, but more often, I write, sometimes very detailed, E-mails about issues along the way of a project. I do hope to write a book or two someday, but not about engineering. I hope to liberate people's thinking about certain everyday topics.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 61 - 10:47:16 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] What do you hope to test in your wind tunnel?
Many things get tested in many kinds of wind tunnels here at Glenn Research Center, and at all the NASA centers. Anything that is being designed to fly through air, like airplanes or rockets, are tested in wind tunnels. Airplane engines and rocket engines are frequently tested.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 63 - 10:49:54 ]
RE: [JimmyDaneLonnie] You are so lucky to have season tickets to Cedar Point! When you look at the Magnum or the Corkscrew or the Mantis, do you think about and wonder about how they work?
I most definitely do think about how they work, especially since I already studied them for the traversing mic project that I recently finished up. Roller coasters are not complicated in principle, but on the other hand, they are all different in many ways. Did you ever notice how some have their wheels between the rails and others have them on the outside? And there are many other variations as well.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 65 - 10:52:38 ]
RE: [Luis] Did your dad help you with any projects? Did he influence you?
My dad helped me a lot with most of my projects, and he still does. Ironically, he didn't like the ferris wheel idea - safety concerns. And so, I had to do that to prove to him that his son was right. But unfortunately, he was right two - I have to keep a close eye on it when using it to make sure nothing breaks. But no one has been hurt, and it was well worth my effort.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 68 - 10:54:29 ]
RE: [Michelle] Are there any toys that you recomend children play with to better their engineering abilities?
Yes - there are many toys on the market now that allow you to make many different things, usually motorized. I think these can be very helpful. Don't be afraid to try making things on your own, and be sure to ask for help and advice. I know I do, nearly every day.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 71 - 10:55:39 ]
RE: [DannyDel] Can anyone come and visit the wind tunnel site?
Tours are arranged all the time at all the NASA sites, usually for groups. Call and ask!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 72 - 10:57:18 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] How old were you when you built your first machine?
I was probably making things when I was about 9 years old. I started by making toys for myself, like motor boats or airplanes with spinning propellers. Later, I got more inventive. Model airplanes had to fly, and boats had to go fast.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 76 - 10:59:16 ]
RE: [Luis] Do you want to go to space some time?
I would go to space in a second if asked, but I don't think that's likely. You can, though, if you work hard and aim to be an astronaut. Most astronauts have many college degrees and prove themselves before joining NASA. Go for it!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 77 - 11:01:43 ]
RE: [Dane] What was the purpose of moving the mics around the dome on tracks in the dome-shaped facility where jet engine nozzles are tested? What was being measured during the tests?
The mics measure the noise that engines that are being tested make. We are working to make jet engines quieter when flying over your house. The mics stay in their designated position during any test. But they are all gathered at the floor to test the mics and perhaps re-aim them if necessary.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 78 - 11:02:08 ]
For those of you leaving us, please be sure to share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 79 - 11:02:34 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] What's the best thing you have ever accomplished?
Picking a wonderful wife and having a wonderful family. I couldn't be a happier person

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 82 - 11:05:30 ]
RE: [Lonnie] You say you are glad to be an engineer. What other career choices did you consider?
I thought I wanted to be a pilot when I was young. But I learned that being a commercial pilot can actually be a bit boring, and it doesn't require much creativity. And so, I became an engineer instead. And, I earned my a private pilot's license so that I could fly around with a friend or two around for fun.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 85 - 11:07:09 ]
RE: [denisse] do you ever work on any projects for your pets?
I once built a neat dog house when I was perhaps 11 years old. I'm going to make a fenced dog run for our present dog we can leave her outside longer.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 87 - 11:09:31 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] How many jobs do you have, and what are they?
I currently have 4 jobs. Two are to design instrument probes to mount interchangeably in all of the wind tunnels. One is figuring out how to stiffen that 8x6 strut. Another is to deign adapters for mounting a new kind of engine in one test rig. I am very busy.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 88 - 11:11:25 ]
RE: [Deb] What kind of work did you enjoy with stagecrafters in high school?
I liked helping to build the set, provide props, and then during the performances, operating some of the lights. Since then, I have been in the chorus of a production of Music Man, and Finian's Rainbow. I love musical plays.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 91 - 11:12:18 ]
RE: [denisseariandmichelle] we are chatting from our classroom at Machan Elementary in Phx, AZ. We are fifth graders.
Thanks for letting us know, Machan Elementary!

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 94 - 11:13:40 ]
RE: [Dane] What did you study for an MBA and how did that help you with the job you do now?
My MBA was mostly general business with some specializing in marketing. It helped me to get jobs because it impressed employers a great deal. I have not use much of the actual educational material directly, but I do indirectly quite often. Education is never a waste.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 96 - 11:15:48 ]
RE: [Deb] What advice would you give to middle school students about how they can prepare themselves best for future careers and the world of work?
Work hard at all school subjects. Since everyone tells you this same thing, ask yourself why? Get involved with extracurricular activities. You MUST be comfortable socially to be a successful and happy person in life. Aim for college. Figure out what would make you most happy.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 99 - 11:17:50 ]
RE: [Deb] What was the nature of the combustion experiment (performed on the shuttle) that you helped design?
DCE deployed droplets of fuel into air and ignited the nearby fumes. Ignition and combustion science is vital for improving engine technologies of all kinds. We will soon have a space station to help us to do these experiments.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 100 - 11:18:20 ]
RE: [ari] What is your favorite cartoon?
Mighty mouse. It makes sense, doesn't it?

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 103 - 11:19:40 ]
RE: [MrsMetcalf] Is it neat being able to design things?
It is fantastic and very rewarding to be able to design things. Design is usually a team effort and everyone plays an important role.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 104 - 11:21:06 ]
RE: [denisse] Do you want to have another child? Do you think any of your children will want to be engineers too?
No more children - three is enough. Its still too early to tell if any of them will be engineers, but I won't be disappointed with whatever they decide to be as long as they find happiness.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 108 - 11:22:56 ]
RE: [Deb] Where do you see your field in ten years? What changes are likely?
It is easy to see design depending more and more on the computer as a tool. I will have to do sketches and early drawing work on a CAD package. I see no end to the need for engineers. Technology is a very safe career bet.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 109 - 11:26:35 ]
RE: [michelle] Do you ever do modifications to your household appliances for better performance?
My wife often kids me that I am like Tim the Tool man, but no, I haven't done anything too radical. I have designed new living space and storage space for our house. Our firewood is loaded into a closet through a door in the garage and accessed on the other side of the closet through a small door inside of the house and next to the fireplace. It makes perfect sense to me, but everyone thinks its quite novel.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 110 - 11:27:52 ]
RE: [Reyes] How do you make a motor for space shuttles?
Its very complicated, and I can't help you much there. But one big reason we invented the space shuttle, which returns the engines to earth, is so we wouldn't have to keep making so many of them.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 111 - 11:29:03 ]
RE: [denisse] how fast is the speed of sound? How do you measure that?
Sound travels at about 850 mph. It has been measured many time in many different ways. It is different depending on temperature and air density.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 114 - 11:30:45 ]
RE: [Ari] do you have a favorite project that you have worked on? Are there any projects that you want to work on in the future?
My favorite project was the traversing mic system. I seek any job that requires some creativity - that's what I'm especially good at.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 115 - 11:32:43 ]
RE: [denisse] Do you know any of the astronauts who have gone to space over the past few years?
My family met an astronaut after he gave a speech to a very small audience at a museum. It was really neat to talk with him directly, and get our picture taken with him. John Glenn also came to speak at NASA and I saw him. He is a really great guy - very down to earth (pun intended).

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 116 - 11:35:32 ]
RE: [michelle] was it hard to get a job at NASA?
Actually, yes it was. NASA requires a near 3.0 point average from college, and I just barely qualified. Also, NASA hires infrequently, especially over the past few years, so I was lucky. And my dad knew a directorate head very well who put in a good word for me. I have no sham. But, nothing is ever impossible, so always try to get what you want, and have patience.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 117 - 11:35:42 ]
We will now be ending our chat with Steve Bauman from NASA Glenn Space Center. We would like to thank everyone for joining us today. Our special thanks to Steve Bauman for staying with us to answer our questions, and sharing his career experience and expertise with us. Once, again please share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ LonnieJimmyDaneDeb - 118 - 11:35:49 ]
Thank you so much for all of your time and trouble with answering our questions!

[ Christine - 119 - 11:35:49 ]
Thank you for your time, Mr. Bauman!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 120 - 11:36:12 ]
We hope you can join us for our next Aerospace Team Online/Wright Flyer Online chat with Fred Culick. This chat is scheduled for Thursday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Check the Aerospace Team Online chat schedule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting to learn more about this chat. Also check our schedule of events page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events/ to learn about other upcoming chats with NASA experts.

[ SteveBauman/JGRC - 121 - 11:37:26 ]
Thanks you all - its been fun!


Footer Bar Graphic
SpacerSpace IconAerospace IconAstrobiology IconWomen of NASA IconSpacer
Footer Info