The Very Spring and Root

An engineer's adventures in education (and other musings).

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Nalin A. Ratnayake

My credentials and publications as a research engineer and as an educator are listed separately on this site.

I was a propulsion systems research engineer at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, where I worked for six years. In early 2012, I decided to make a career change. I am a proud graduate of the Boston Teacher Residency, a rigorous and innovative program that recruits, prepares, and retains high-quality teachers for Boston’s schools. Since 2013, I have served as a science teacher,and currently also chair the science department, at an urban public high school.

I am a published science fiction author, and maintain a separate blog for my writing and author persona at

I post personal updates, musings, and things I find interesting on Twitter as @QuantumCowboy and maintain an Instagram account for photography with the same handle. You may also find my GoodReads bookshelves to be of interest.

This is a personal blog. Views expressed are my own unless specifically noted otherwise.

I am also extraordinarily indecisive about blog appearance. Please be aware that the aesthetics of this blog may change suddenly and without notice.

Quotes To Live By

“Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”  –  Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

“Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.”  – John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

“Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment.” – HHDL XIV

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.” – J. Krishnamurti


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