Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon, has died. It’s a sad day for all humankind, and for science, that we should lose such a star of space exploration. But I think that, rather than dwelling on the sombre mood of his passing, we should celebrate the man’s contribution to the sum of human knowledge, and to the spirit of science and engineering.

Few knew much of Armstrong past his involvement in the Apollo missions, a testament to the humbleness with which he carried himself. Following the success of the first moonwalks, Armstrong did not spend time in the spotlight though surely he would have legitimately deserved it; instead, he returned to lecturing on engineering. How wonderful that a man so adventurous, so self-sacrificing, so curious should pass on this spirit to students down the years. read more