Virginia Tech College of Engineering – Cool Thing #2

I described meeting Steven Mackay, College of Engineering Communications Coordinator, at the visit of Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Blacksburg, Virginia, October 23, 2008.

I asked for the top three cool things going on in the engineering school at Virginia Tech.  Steven sent me four.  Here's Cool Thing #1.

Here's Cool Thing #2:

[email protected]: An Emotional Tie, and Three Strikes of Lightning Later

In 1992 Wayne Scales was among the nation’s entry-level assistant professors of electrical engineering. His specialty — space plasma physics — was not the topic of a household dinner conversation.

Wayne Scales, Ph.D., Virginia Tech College of Engineering Only a handful of universities in the country were powerhouses in space research. They included Cornell, where Scales obtained his Ph.D., Stanford, University of Washington, University of Michigan, and several schools in the University of California system, including Berkeley.

Cornell, the home of the late Carl Sagan, encouraged Scales to consider joining its faculty. When he countered that he planned to join the Virginia Tech Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), they were surprised. Since Virginia Tech did not have a space science and engineering program, his Cornell colleagues felt Scales would not be satisfied in Blacksburg and that it would be too difficult for him to initiate an enormously expensive competitive research program by himself.

But Scales had an emotional tie to Southwest Virginia that outweighed the interest of other universities and government laboratories. He was the only child in his family, and he wanted to live near his mother, who still resided in Ridgeway, Virginia, following his father’s death.

Scales followed his heart.

Here's more of the story.

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