I studied Japanese at the University of Arizona when I was an undergraduate student, first because I had a requirement to take a foreign language, but more importantly I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to understand how a different culture thought and how they express themselves in a way that I would be totally unfamiliar with. It was a great place to really grow intellectually and seek out people that were willing to help you do that. I really didn't understand humanism or the approach to looking at the world in that way until I got into the program. I was learning a lot more about myself, about the human experience and why I was so curious and why I was driven to explore and learn and create knowledge for the human race. Scientists are creative and they are curious and they really are seeking fundamental answers to questions that we ask ourselves: where did we come from? Are we alone in the universe? Why are we here and what is our future? And so, understanding the motivation for those questions and really using the humanist approach to engage with people helps make it relevant to their lives.
Regents Professor of Planetary Science
University of Arizona