Ron McNair at MIT, late 1970s
Ronald "Ron" Erwin McNair PhD '77 studied physics under professor Michael Feld. McNair became the second African-American NASA astronaut to make a flight to outer space. He was Mission Specialist for Space Shuttle "Challenger" in February 1984. In the January 1986 mission, McNair and eight other astronauts lost their lives in the space shuttle Challenger accident, and MIT renamed a campus building in McNair's honor.
The satisfying thing about physics itself is the feeling of having understood and unlocked something heretofore unknown.