While chatting with my best friend in emails, we had stumbled across a topic of what initially sparked my interest in physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. It’s a pretty funny journey, so I thought I would share it here with my readers as well. My story starts off a little sad, but I promise to breeze through that part as much as possible. ^_^v
In 2012, my year was shaken by the death of my aunt and nephew. On top of that, it was the ending of my three year abusive relationship with the wrong man. To say the least, I felt a lot lost, angry, tearful, and depressed. I needed something outside of myself, bigger than myself, to focus on and to gain strength from.
Even though I identify as Pagan, I’ve never been strongly connected within any religious beliefs. So I didn’t do what many would do in such a situation, I didn’t turn to a deity. Not that doing so is wrong, it’s just not my thing to do personally, as it never gave me any comfort. While I wept alone in my room, back in Philadelphia, I thought about what I use to do as a child when I felt totally isolated within the world. As a child, I would look up at the night sky.
However, due to the added developments and lights in my city block, I could no longer see the stars like I had once did in my youth. This is when I turned to technology for help, using the program called “Google Earth”, which has added the observable universe (space) to its maps.
For hours, I would stare across galaxies and it gave me a calming affect. I had the realization that our planet is just a pale blue dot, a pixel within the endless jpeg of the entire universe. This fact stopped my tears and cheered me up. Weird, I know, as many people report feeling depressed and lost when faced with this realization. However, I felt the opposite emotions, a sense of hope and inspiration.
Here’s a fun fact: It is estimated that there are (at the very least) 1 septillion stars, planets, and galaxies out there in the cosmos. That number is: 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000! Joe Hanson of the Youtube channel “It’s Okay To Be Smart” has a better explanation of that in this video: here. In my short time exploring these facts and viewing space images, I was inspired to write (and I’ve completed it) a sci-fi novel in 2013, which I hope to publish someday. Maybe. ^_^
As I learned that the universe is so very massive with so much happening outside of our pale blue dot, this gave me some perspective on my existence, my worries, and my personal issues. However, I had ended my exploration of space in 2012, just for a few months. I felt better and directed my focus on putting my life back in order.
In early 2013, my interest in Physics was sent into hyper-drive, due to a George Takei post on Facebook. Yes, that’s right, a pun post by George Takei set me on my path of becoming a Physicist! Think about that for a moment, as I open this composition of “In The Hall Of The Mountain King“, for my crazy explanation. *giggle* ^w^
Mr. Takei posted a pun about Pavlov’s Dog, an experiment that I was well aware of, as I had studied Psychology for a short while in my early twenties. However, a few fans commented about Schrodinger’s Cat, a physics theory that I was not familiar with, And I hate it when I don’t understanding a joke, so I Googled it. The search lead me to a video on the channel “One Minute Physics”: here.
The explanation of that video was so well done, that it encouraged me to want to find out more about String Theory. This lead me to more videos on the channel, more curiosity, and onward to the works of Stephen Hawking. In turn, Mr. Hawking’s lectures inspired me to want to explore the theories of Albert Einstein and Sir Issac Newton.
Doing so had sparked my interest in the works of many others within the scientific community, historic and current. The show “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” aired March 9, 2014, a rebooted version of the show hosted by Carl Sagan in the 70’s, now hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. I followed every episode! (The entire season is now available on NetFlix, which I admit to watching it three additional times on that site… Ahem.)
This lead me to the articles, lectures, and books of Mr. Tyson. Next I began to follow StarTalk Radio and IFLScience. Somewhere in the midst of that (I forget when) I stumbled across the live debate of Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Ken Ham (creationist), which was a lot interesting. This prompted me to follow Mr. Nye on Facebook and Twitter. Later, I bought Mr. Nye’s audio book “Undeniable” and have been enjoying that book at lot.
The more questions and research I did, the more books, sites, articles, the NASA website, SpaceX, and a plethora of science channels on Youtube I stumbled upon. Learning science has been my ongoing obsession and hobby for the last few years now. .
All of this began with a psychology pun posted by George Takei on Facebook! Wild! ^o^/
Meanwhile, in the midst of my constant science consumption, I moved to Minnesota and started therapy for my anxiety issues. I’ve chatted my therapist’s ear off about science, since the start of my first session. She asked me what was my hobbies and I was a bit too excited, rattling off all of the awesome things I’ve learned in science thus far, Then I continued to bring it up during sessions, because science is cool, man!
This winter, when my therapist asked me to consider choosing a long term life goal for myself, a light went on within my head: “Well… maybe I could go back to school and earn my PhD in Physics.” She is overjoyed by the idea, so am I, and thus begins my journey into pursing this goal. To be continued!
For many centuries, the stars have inspired painters, writers, songwriters, and so on. I am no different, I’m constantly inspired by the cosmos and it has become my way of thought.
I will end this post with my favorite space song from David Bowie: Space Oddity. Thanks for reading and, as Joe Hanson would say, stay curious! ^_^v
Photos by NASA.gov