Monday, March 02, 2015

Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

Bill and I rarely write joint blog posts but with the loss of a great cultural icon we both had to have our say.

Bill: Leonard Nimoy (Spock) died last week at the age of 83. DeForest Kelley (McCoy) passed away in 1999. William Shatner (Kirk) is still alive, though I note that he is four days older than Nimoy.

Spock tried to always be logical. I wonder if an unemotional scientist would be a better or worse scientist.
Does emotion drive our desire to learn things? Our choice of problems to work on? Our creativity?

Did Star Trek (or its successors) inspire many to go into science? Hard to tell but I suspect yes. Did it inspire you?

There depiction of technology ranged from predicative (communicators are cell phones!) to awful (Episode 'The Ultimate Computer' wanted to show that humans are better than computers. It instead showed that humans are better than a malfunctioning killer-computer. I think we knew that.) I think TV shows now hire science consultants to get things right (The Big Bang Theory seems to get lots of science right, though their view of academia is off.) but in those days there was less of a concern for that.

Lance: I'm too young to remember the original Star Trek series when it first aired but I did watch the series religiously during the 70's when a local TV station aired an episode every day, seeing every episode multiple times. The original Star Trek was a product of its time, using the future to reflect the current societal issues of the 60's. Later Star Trek movies and series seemed to have lost that premise.

Every nerdy teenager, myself included, could relate to Spock with his logical exterior and his half-human emotional interior that he could usually suppress. Perhaps my favorite Spock episode was the penultimate "All Our Yesterdays" where Spock having been sent back in time takes on an earlier emotional state of the old Vulcans and falls in love.

I did see Leonard Nimoy in person once, during a lecture at MIT in the 80's. He clearly relished being Spock and we all relished him.

Goodby Leonard. You have lived long and prospered and gone well beyond where any man has gone before.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up watching the original Star Trek; these characters were (and still are) family to me. I had the pleasure of hearing Leonard speak some years ago in Sacramento. He was incredibly gracious and warm. This is a profound loss not just for science fiction, but for the bygone golden age of television. We'll miss him. In his typical sign-off, LLAP.