– [Brian] You’re a scientist. You must know what it’s like to fail at something. – Oh, yes. – [Brian] So, – I’m an expert at that. – [Brian] You’re an expert, (chuckles) I am too. (laughing) So, what have those failures given you? What, – You’re never a failure unless you quit. That’s the big thing. Curiosity. It’s the desire to know why something works. One of your questions said, “What are your favorite
research programs?” I don’t have any favorites, but I look for characteristics. And one of them is this being pursued with curiosity? The desire to know what we don’t know. Can we look back and see that the fundamental science that this technology, for instance, has come from, and can we look ahead to see where it is we want it to go. So it’s looking in both directions. Back in time and forward in time. We need people who wanna do something, not people who want something to do. I had met a young Air Force captain, who had a PhD in engineering, and he said, “My first assignment after the PhD “was as a contract monitor.” And he said, “I kept wondering why did you send me to school if this is
what you want me to do?” And I said this is still going on. It was going on 30 years ago. It’s still going on, how can this be? – [Brian] Is that frustrating? Yeah. – Is is frustrating? Well yeah, of course it is, but it’s more frustrating for the people who are going through it. Especially at a time when we really need these people. Right now, the system from the Congress through The White House, through the Department of Defense, and into the Air Force, is fully behind innovation
and taking risks. But if we don’t produce, if we don’t make some real gains that may go away. In technology, the coin of the realm is a great idea. Really good ideas can change the way we do things. It doesn’t matter whether the person is, is brand new or whether they’ve been here for 25 years. The young person with great ideas, who infects the rest of the corps with those ideas, can make a profound change. I still believe that.