Actor Leonard Nimoy Shares Views on Creativity
"I believe in living a creative life.
I believe in bringing more to the party than is required or asked for.
I believe in using both sides of the brain."
These are the messages that actor, director, photographer, poet, and space icon Leonard Nimoy shared with an enthusiastic audience at the Space Technology Hall of Fame® Dinner on April 15, the final evening of the 26th National Space Symposium.
Nimoy's spirited discussion of the creative process and its impact on his life fit the occasion - the induction of two innovative technologies into the Space Technology Hall of Fame®, which honors products originally developed for space that now dramatically improve life on Earth.
His remarks followed the formal recognition of Eagle Eyes Optics and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for radiation-filtering technology now used in sunglasses and of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Draper Laboratory, The Boeing Company, and Airbus for fly-by-wire technology that uses electronic pulses to control aircraft.
One of the examples of creativity that Nimoy shared was the development of the now-ubiquitous split-finger Vulcan salute he derived from a Jewish prayer ceremony he witnessed as a child. Nimoy played Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan first officer aboard the Starship Enterprise in the Star Trek television series, which - judging from the crowd's reaction - is much beloved by the space community.
Nimoy also talked about his surprising - but rewarding - transformation into a role model for scientists and space enthusiasts. "I am an actor, not a scientist," he said. "People do confuse the actor with the role and people assume I know things." But, he continued, he is proud of the way in which Star Trek portrayed its crew as "well-qualified, well-trained scientists in all fields."
"We are not scientists on Star Trek, but we are role models. That's an important thing for people to see," he said. "It's been a great source of pride to hear 'I'm in the sciences because of you guys.' It means a lot to me to hear that. We need scientists."
To see a video of his remarks, click here.
Nimoy was honored by the Space Foundation during the dinner with the 2010 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award, which is given annually to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to public awareness of space programs. The award's namesake was an Academy Award winning writer and producer, space advocate, and former director of the Space Foundation. For more information, click here.
Earlier in the day, Nimoy participated in a briefing for reporters, where he talked about his career, his views on space, and the creative process. For more, click here.