Some of what we think that we know is fine, but some isn’t. Here's the rub. We don't know which is which! More often than not the fine line between success and failure lies in the difference between how the world really is and how we imagine it to be. There are rules for telling the difference, and in today’s world of rapid change and high-stakes decisions those rules matter.
Dr. Jeff Hester knows about the search for knowledge and its role in shaping our fate. His career has been spent with one foot on the cutting edge of our knowledge of the Universe and the other foot in the practical realities of making complex projects work.
As a professor and astrophysicist Dr. Hester is known internationally for his work on topics ranging from supernovas and pulsars to the birth of our Solar System. Hester’s famous “Pillars of Creation” image has been featured on a US Postage Stamp and was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential photographs in history. But that is not how things started out.
Dr. Hester’s life has been an odyssey in the midst of one of the wildest roller coaster rides in the history of science. A member of the Hubble Space Telescope team, Dr. Hester sat in front of national television cameras and showed the world the telescope’s very first image. That image revealed a near-fatal flaw that would turn the promised jewel in the crown of NASA science into a running joke on late night television and a symbol of failure on a grand scale.
From this disastrous beginning Dr. Hester was recruited for the team responsible for the camera that would save Hubble and ultimately turn it into the most successful and well-known telescope in history. He has seen the catastrophic consequences of shortsighted decisions. He has also been part of the hard work and painful sacrifices needed to bring a project back from the dead. He knows what it means to work in a fishbowl with the weight of the world on your shoulders.
From testimony before Congress to associations and corporate boardrooms Dr. Hester has spoken about the success and failure of grand endeavors. From countless television appearances to informal after dinner talks in wine bars, he has shared his vision of the Universe and his perspectives on creativity and the human drive to explore. His warm approachable style and ability to convey important ideas earned him a reputation as an entertaining and insightful speaker. He is known for inspiring an audience while shining a light on the deeper substance behind the curtain of the everyday world. Broadcaster Hugh Downs referred to Dr. Hester as “one of the greatest explainers in our midst today.”
Over the course of his diverse career Jeff found his interests and passions growing beyond astronomy and the walls of Academia. Looking beneath the surface of current events he discovered the same all too familiar mistakes playing out over and over. Focusing on parochial concerns and the distractions of the day it is easy to lose sight of the questions that really matter. Today Dr. Hester is sharing his insight and hard-earned knowledge with leaders, companies, and organizations ready for the challenge of facing reality on its own terms.