21. Before he become an astronaut, Dr. McNair had a successful academic career
Aged 26, Dr. McNair had a new wife and a PhD from one of the world’s most prestigious universities. But still he wouldn’t rest on his laurels. He authored several academic papers, published his doctoral thesis, and lectured at various universities. He eventually settled for a job at Hughes Research Labs in Malibu, California. The laboratory is named after its founder, the legendary film director and pilot, Howard Hughes. Hughes in the 1970s was a veritable hotbed of scientific discovery and pioneering, and its jobs much sought-after. At Hughes, Ronald continued his research, and specialised in chemical and high-pressure lasers.