Two sides of the same coin: History and science fiction
Ian Boley, a first-year doctoral student in the Department of History, earned a piece of the battleship USS Constitution for his work bringing a livestream of a Naval Academy conference on science fiction to Texas A&M University.
There’s something special about holding a piece of history. When that piece is intimately tied to the future, it only becomes more meaningful. Ian Boley, a first-year doctoral student in the Department of History at Texas A&M University, earned a piece of the battleship USS Constitution for his work bringing a livestream of a Naval Academy conference on science fiction to campus. Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned naval ship still afloat in the world.
On November 18, 2017, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland hosted NavyCon, a conference studying navy roles in science fiction to examine their present use. After learning about the conference, Boley, who studies the history of military innovation, worked with the museum director to stream the event on campus. Over 40 people came to view the conference and listen to the faculty panel, which was sponsored by the Glasscock Center’s Science and Technology Working Group (STWG).
At NavyCon, each speaker received a challenge coin made from the wood of the USS Constitution. Military units issue challenge coins to commemorate special achievements. History professor Jonathan Coopersmith contacted conference organizer Lt. Commander Claude Berube and made certain that Boley received a coin for his work in organizing the A&M live-streaming event. Commander Chris Marrs, the executive officer of the Navy ROTC unit at Texas A&M, presented the coin to Boley.
“It’s really amazing to see how closely the study of the past and our ideas about the future can be linked. This coin is a nice physical reminder of that for me, and I’m going to treasure it for a long time to come,” said Boley.
The STWG will stay involved in future NavyCon events.