August 30, 2012
Getting Curious with the Mohawk Guy: Bobak Ferdowsi To Host Third Rock Radio Show
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Bobak Ferdowsi, now famously known as NASA's Mohawk Guy, is a flight director for the Mars Science Laboratory mission that put the Curiosity rover on the Martian surface in early August. He will host a two-hour online broadcast on Internet radio station Third Rock Radio at 4pm EDT, August 30.
Ferdowsi, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, will be discussing his experience with the landing of Curiosity, the renewed interest in science and exploration, and NASA's evolving image. The show is called "Getting Curious with the Mohawk Guy."
Ferdowsi has become an internet sensation, as his image has helped popularize the Mars rover mission with young people and modernized the public's perception of NASA engineers and scientists.
"I never thought I'd be hosting a radio show," Ferdowsi said. "Landing a rover on Mars rocks, and so does this music!"
Ferdowsi has worked at JPL since 2003. He holds a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Washington, and a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the landing of the Curiosity rover, he captured the public's attention with his star-spangled Mohawk hairstyle.
His hairstyle isn't something new, however. Apparently, he considers his eccentric hairstyles to be a good luck charm and has had a variety for big missions and projects throughout his nine years with NASA. The star spangled mohawk, however, has gone viral. His presence at mission control during Curiosity's arrival generated more than 44,000 new Twitter followers, a number of marriage proposals, and a renewed interested in sciences and engineering by younger generations.
“I would love to be working here 10 years from now and some guy who was in high school or middle school at the time sees me and is like, ℠I remember you, you´re one of the reasons I got into NASA.´ Even if one kid is like that, I´d probably get a little emotional,” Ferdowsi added. “I think the stuff we do here so is so cool, and I´m OK with kind of being an example of 1) it takes all types and 2) you don´t have to look like anything – you can be who you are. As long as you have a passion and a willingness to work hard, you can work here.”
Even President Obama noticed, and commented on, Ferdowsi's unique style. “I, in the past, thought about getting a mohawk myself, but my team keeps on discouraging me,” Obama said to the sound of laughter from dozens of NASA employees.
Third Rock radio is a custom produced Internet music radio station that is "crafted specifically to speak the language of the tech-savvy young adult." Its format is New Rock/Indie/Alternative. The station is a collaboration with Houston-based RFC Media, and is funding through a Space Act Agreement. The purpose of the station is to cultivate a new interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) among young Americans.
“Today´s 4G audience craves new music and enjoys finding it,” said Pat Fant, RFC Media co-founder and chief operating officer. “We´ve pulled out the best songs and the deepest tracks from a full spectrum of rock artists across many styles and decades. NASA features and news items are embedded throughout the programming alongside greetings by celebrity artists.”
Third Rock Radio can be streamed free via the TuneIn mobile app, which is available for smart phones and tablet computers through the Google Play and iTunes app stores, and from the NASA home page at http://www.nasa.gov, or go to http://www.thirdrockradio.net to stream it live over the Internet.