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NASA-JPL's "Mohawk Guy" to Sit with First Lady at State of the Union-UPDATE

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 11-Feb-2013
Updated: 12-Feb-2013 04:47 PM

UPDATE, February 12:   Here's a link to a White House press release showing everyone, including Ferdowsi, who will sit with the First Lady.

ORIGINAL STORY, February 11:  Bobak Ferdowsi, the Iranian-American NASA-JPL flight director made famous by the Mohawk haircut he sported at the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover in August, will have another moment in the limelight tomorrow night at the State of the Union address.   News sources say he will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama as President Obama highlights the need for more visas for science and engineering students.

Ferdowsi's haircut, which he said was chosen by his team because he had a special haircut for every landing, made him a media sensation emblematic of a new NASA shedding its image of narrow black ties and white shirts.   Most recently he marched in the inaugural parade alongside a float with a replica of Curiosity.   JPL is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) operated for NASA by the California institute of Technology and is best known for building and operating most of NASA's planetary exploration spacecraft.

In a story picked up by other media sources, Southern California Public Radio reported today that Ferdowsi will be one of the First Lady's guests at the State of the Union address tomorrow night at the U.S. Capitol.  He will join Apple CEO Tim Cook and Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha and others as the First Lady's guests.  Those media reports say he will be there to emphasize the need to allow more foreigners to enter the United States to earn degrees in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) fields.  According to Wikipedia (the only place we could find biographical information about him), Ferdowsi is not foreign-born, however.   It says he was born in Philadelphia to a father who was Iranian, and spent part of his childhood in Japan.  

 


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