Hadfield still a man of science

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chris Hadfield speaking at University of Waterloo

Colonel Chris Hadfield got a preview of what life will be like as a professor at the University of Waterloo when he visited campus this week. His day included giving a lecture, meeting with students, advancing research and promoting his newest publication.

Chris Hadfield’s lecture was attended by more than 700 people live and many more online. Hadfield led the audience through his incredible journey – from watching the first moon landing as a boy to becoming the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station – in order to inspire the audience to pursue their own dreams.

“Nothing in the future is guaranteed. But what is a guarantee is if you don’t turn yourself into the person you want to be, you zero your own chances," said Hadfield.

The campus meanwhile was buzzing with news and quotes from day’s events as recorded in the more than 550 tweets, photos and multiple posts about the lecture.

The public events finished off with a book signing during which Hadfield chatted with students and attendees while signing copies of his new book, “An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.”

Hadfield ended his visit by participating in a follow-up round of test for Prof. Richard Hughson’s study of space-induced cardiovascular aging. Extended space travel causes the arteries to harden and researchers were interested to see if Hadfield’s body has recovered. This study may help explain the link between sedentary lifestyles and cardiovascular aging and determine whether arterial stiffening is permanent or reversible.

Hadfield plans to return to the Waterloo campus September 2014 to start a new career as an adjunct professor in Aviation, an undergraduate degree program offered jointly by the Faculties of Science and Environment. His responsibilities will include teaching and advising students.

"This University is absolutely world class," said Hadfield. "I'm really looking forward to coming back in the fall. That will be when the circle comes around and I feel that my feet are back on the ground."

Hadfield is also cross-appointed to the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.