Electrons and Guys Over 50

It’s being reported that the electrical system of the submarine recently lost on a tourist dive to the wreck of the Titanic had been designed by a college intern. It had been previously reported that the CEO of OceanGate, the company that operated the sub, didn’t want to hire “white guys over 50.”

I’m currently working on the power systems for a couple projects for NASA. One is a robot that will be used to refuel satellites on orbit. The other is a lidar system what will used by autonomous vehicles for close-in maneuvering. While most of members of the teams working on these systems are young engineers under 30, there are at least a couple over-50 engineers and technicians on both teams. One of us is 70. I’m 75. We’re there as mentors.

It’s been said that most of us need about 10,000 hours of experience to fully master a skill. (Think of all the time Michael Jordan spent shooting baskets.) The young men and women I work with are smart and talented, but only part way up their learning curves. We geezers are there to coach them and to help them avoid mistakes we have already made.

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