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Sputnik Helped Launch Career of Professor

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Professor Andrew Romberger of Penn State Berks

"Sputnik is one of the reasons I pursued a career in science," says Andrew Romberger, Assistant Professor of Physics at Penn State Berks.

Credit: Penn State Berks

The Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth, had a profound impact on American higher education. Fearful of falling behind, the U.S. government launched an initiative that created a generation of scientists. Andrew Romberger, a physicist who teaches at Penn State Berks, is one of those scientists.

"Sputnik is one of the reasons I pursued a career in science," says Romberger, 66, who's retiring after 40 years at Penn State. "The space program absolutely fascinated me."

Romberger says the personal computer was behind the biggest change in science education during his four-decade tenure. He is concerned about a lack of interest in math and science among American students. "To my mind, science education is our competitive edge. If we lose that edge, we will be on a road to becoming a second-rate nation," he says.

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