Meet: Kenwyn Long
NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
What I do at NASA
I am a physicist working on space radiation damage to solar cells. There
are radiation belts outside the Earth composed of very energetic particles
that can really zap solar cells. We are designing shielding for these
cells to protect them from damage while allowing enough sunlight through
for the cells to convert to electrical energy to power the spacecraft.
What I like to do outside of NASA
I like to hike, bike, cross country ski - anything outdoors, which is
a welcome change after being on computers and in labs all day. I also
like to read (anything from historical novels to fashion magazines)
and keep in touch with my two adult children. One is a political scientist,
the other is an accountant, but they both enjoy science and love hearing
about the latest Hubble and Chandra Space Telescope discoveries. My
husband is a family and substance abuse counselor; he's also wowed by
all the stuff out in space!
Why I became a scientist
I've always wondered how things worked, and was never satisfied with
"just because..." as an answer. Getting a chemistry set for Christmas
when I was eight really got me started on the idea of science as exploration
and enjoyment. I had to get over the prevailing attitude that existed
even when I was in college that "real girls aren't supposed to be scientists
or engineers." Today I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from doing what
I really wanted to do!
If I could redo high school, I
I wish I had taken more mathematics in high school. Courses like physics
and college math, especially calculus, are much easier if you've had
enough trigonometry and geometry in high school.