I was invited by the city of Scottsdale's Parks and Recreation Dept. to give a presentation at a family stargazing night this past Saturday. Despite the partly cloudy skies, a few dozen people showed up. Had a lot of fun, met some interesting people, got to see Saturn. All in all, a good time.
Students nominated me for an award at the university where I teach part-time. I'm not eligible for the award (due to the part-time status), but I was touched to be nominated. The award would have meant participating in the Last Lecture Series, which enables the faculty member to give the lecture that they would want to give if they only had this one last chance to speak to the public. (And I'll take it on faith that students just wanted to hear what I had to say, instead of just hoping I'd give this last lecture and then shut-up forever.)
So, I've been wondering...what would I say? It is a provoking thought. Sure, I could give a decent talk full of pretty astronomy images, but freed from the educational objectives of a traditional lecture, really, what would I say? I'm not sure, but it's something I continue to think about.
What would you say if you had one last chance to sway or move or motivate an audience?