Are you proud to be associated with a TV that inspired lots of young people to do a science career?
Inexpressibly proud. I put that at the very top of my list, and certainly young women. Iíve had enough letters and Iíve had enough engagement with them to assure you that that has been the case, and I find that not only humbling, but a very profound warning regarding the power and the legacy of Hollywood. This small pool of entertainment can influence and reverberate both socio-economically and culturally on the profoundest level.
Iíve had young women come to me and say that before they watched Voyager it didnít really occur to them that they could be successful in a higher position in the field of science; girls going to MIT, girls pursuing astrophysics with a view to a career in NASA.
Iím very fond of telling this story because this was my great eye-opener - in the first season I was invited to the White House, women in science were being celebrated and the First Lady was going to speak and I was asked to speak at the Kennedy Center.
I found the whole day so moving at the White House. These women were the heads at NASA, chiefs, engineering, astrophysics, as I mentioned. The First Lady spoke eloquently and deeply on this subject of science, and that night after I had spoken, at the Kennedy Center I was asked to meet a group of young women from MIT who were the most celebrated in their graduating class, and one of them approached me and she said, "Iím speaking on behalf of my colleagues and myself when I say to you that it was Voyager that turned me around. Both of my parents are scientists, my father in a stellar role, my mother in a less important one, and it was my feeling that I would get into the field of research because that was most accommodating to women. And then I met Captain Janeway, and I said to myself, "She can do it, I can do it."