Someone said at one time, you should never meet your hero – They will only disappoint. Well I can’t say that this statement is never true but I can definitely say without fear of contradiction that is is not always true! I had the honour and pleasure of meeting Commander Chris Hadfield at a recent event in University College Dublin. To say that Chris has done it all is almost an understatement. Yes I know that doesn’t quite make sense, but when reaching for superlatives for someone like this man, one tends to step outside the normal bounds. These are just the first two lines of his Wiki page:
Chris Austin Hadfield OC OOnt MSC CD (born August 29, 1959) is a Canadian retired astronaut, engineer, fighter pilot, and musician. The first Canadian to perform extravehicular activity in outer space, he has flown two Space Shuttle missions and also served as commander of the International Space Station (ISS). Prior to his career as an astronaut, he served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 25 years as an Air Command fighter pilot.
And yet he is a modest quiet and respectful listener when in conversation. He engages at a level which assures you that he is interested in what you have just said and is happy to converse with you in a way that makes you feel an equal in the conversation. Now the fact that we were talking about the merits of digital telescopes, I think it is fair to say that the balance of knowledge was tipped in his favour – A lovely man who later gave an after dinner speech that was entertaining and inspirational in equal measure – If the opportunity ever arises, trust me, he is one of those heroes you want to meet!