Astronomy Domine

January 9, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Me + Myself + I | Leave a comment
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I attended a physics conference yesterday, which later included stargazing and a quiz, which they’d arranged in honour of Stephen Hawking’s 66th birthday.

I felt that pleasant jolt and wild enthusiasm (that I generally get during every talk involving physics) when I reached the venue half an hour early. But I was a bit disappointed that they had limited it to stuff dealing with basic physics. What they had was a general background of physics and its history.

I was quite happy with the stargazing and stuff. We marked constellations and observed Mars and several stars through telescopes. They gave us loads of advice on the best approach of astronomy, its evolution and history. I am quite overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge already gleaned in this field and even more so by that of the countless questions and puzzles that need to be solved. Astronomy is the oldest of all sciences, and it has been with us for all this time. The sky is like a book that faithfully opens each day when the sun goes down and lies before us to be examined. There’s so much to observe, so much to speculate on, that all the squinting, pointing, and mapping can never be enough.

The most important thing required for study in astronomy is patience, they said. My neck was a bit strained with all the watching and observing and I earned a few funny looks with my wild exclamations whenever I spotted something, but apart from that, I had a really good time and the telescopes were enviable, considerably larger and more powerful than my own.

Stephen Hawking says that if we ever find a theory that describes the whole universe – which is the main goal of science today – it should be able to be unsderstood by everyone: this is how I myself have always viewed as the purpose of all science. It’s amazing how he’s stuck to his passion all his life, and it’s been said he doesn’t view his physical disability as a great barrier after all – the brain remains every bit as ingenious as it ever was. *sigh* I’d die to meet him!

I wish I’d have conferences like these more often (although I would prefer them to be dealing with stuff more than the basic things of course). I would have been overjoyed if we had had a discussion cutting directly to the core of physics. Time travel, black holes, antiparticles, dark matter and energy, the beginning, expansion and end of the universe. And of course, developments on the unified field theory. Perhaps that is asking a bit too much, but, when it comes to physics, you can’t have enough of it after all!

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