Joe Bassi has been many things. He’s been an officer in the Air Force. He’s worked for the Secretary of Defense. He served a stint as a pre-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. He’s even written a book.
With a wide array of experience, it’s no wonder the Worldwide professor cites learning as his greatest passion.
“I’ve always been fascinated by a great variety of topics so I’ve invested time to study in many of them,” said Bassi, who has taught at Worldwide since 2010.
Bassi’s lifetime in education has equated to earning a new degree on average every seven years for the last four decades, culminating in his PhD in History of Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009.
“That broad background really prepared me for so many interesting ventures,” said Bassi.
One of those ventures, his book, “A Scientific Peak: How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science,” was based on the work he did for his PhD dissertation. The book has gone on to be named one of the best books in atmospheric sciences for 2015 by Atmospheric Sciences Librarians International.
The book focuses on the changing landscape of scientific research in the two decades after World War II, particularly in the realm of space weather.
“Solar flares and other forms of activity on the sun can affect the earth and its surroundings” explained Bassi. “This is what we call space weather.”
Scientists realized just how important research of the topic was in 1989 when the Canadian province of Quebec lost power due a geomagnetic storm due to the sun.
“These blasts from the sun can shake the earth's magnetic field which can induces electrical currents in things like power lines, which can blow out transformers,” Bassi said. “This why scientists study, and the US government is interested in, space weather."
But no matter the topic, after serving 26 years in the Air Force, Bassi works hard to convince his students to never stop learning.
“If you find something that interests you, explore it,” said Bassi. “No matter your age or situation, it’s never too late to learn.”
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