When I was a child, I was in love with science, in both its theoretical form and its practical form. I was full of curiosity and I was so excited by big, important, and beautiful questions. And I loved doing experiments, both at school and on my own. Unfortunately, the religious aspects of my schooling created a lack in some aspects of my science education, and, because of that, and because of my lack of confidence in my knowledge of science, sadly, I gave up on a lot of it. As an undergraduate student, though, I was able to begin to educate myself in Biology and Zoology (which have since become interests and passions for me) and I also had the opportunity to take multiple Astronomy and Physics classes.
This exposure to astronomy rekindled my childhood curiosity in and passion for the subject, and I’m so very grateful for that. A wonderful part of my undergraduate experience (at the University of Washington) with Astronomy classes was the campus planetarium, which is a wonderful resource and was such an exciting thing to experience.
On that note:
Every episode of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is now available to watch here, on Hulu.com. Wonderful! I want to buy the DVD set as soon as I can afford to. I grew up watching Cosmos on PBS and learned so much from it. It’s one of the things that helped me to develop a passion for science and a deep curiosity about the universe. It made me feel wonder and awe, and inspired an interest in both astronomy and in the beauty of science in general. When I see it now, I feel both excited/inspired and very comforted. It’s wonderful on so many levels. ♥
I recently finally got a hardback illustrated version of the Cosmos book, too, and it’s lovely. I’ve had a mass-market paperback version forever & it is well-loved and has been read many times, but I’m thrilled to now have this version, too.
Just two of the many gorgeous quotes from it:
“The Cosmos is all that there is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”
“Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.”
The second one is especially important to me, because it reinforces just how crucial both curiosity and intellectual exploration were in my journey away from religion, superstition, delusion, irrationality, and the supernatural, and towards a mindset of curiosity, intellect, a strong appreciation of and awe and wonder towards the intense beauty, complexity, and ephemerality of life, and a passionate desire for scientific and intellectual truth and the achingly gorgeous beauty that come with them. I mean, isn’t life wonderfully exciting? I know that I’m so incredibly lucky to be a part of it, and I’m very grateful for quotes like the one above, because they helped me to begin to realize how important it is to appreciate and be in awe of the wonderful reality that surrounds us, instead of wasting time and resources believing in supernatural delusions that destroy curiosity and wonder and stunt one’s intellectual and emotional growth.
♥ I also adore the book’s dedication:
“In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie.”
Wonderfully, breathtakingly beautiful and sweet. ♥ (Annie = Ann Druyan, who’s pretty wonderful herself.)
I recently ordered a Galileoscope, a high-quality but very reasonably priced telescope that was developed as part of the very exciting International Year of Astronomy (& here’s NASA’s page about the IYA & Portal to the Universe is a very useful astronomy news site that is part of the IYA.) They’re going to be delivered in June and I’m definitely looking forward to it! ♥
NASA also has an Astronomy Picture of the Day site. It’s a wonderful place to find gorgeous, exciting, interesting, informative, and awe-inspiring wonder. I subscribe to it through Google Reader and always look forward to seeing each day’s photo.
I’m quite enamored with NASA‘s site in general. It has such an immense amount of interesting, useful, and exciting information/resources/media, etc. I definitely visit it at least once a day. Also, NASA Images is a great resource that’s full of wonderfully gasp-inducing images (and their Flickr photostream is great, too.) And NASA TV is excellent, especially when you can watch live launches and landings and such. It’s really thrilling.
On May 11th, Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope & it’ll be so exciting to watch the launch live! ♥ The HST is fascinating and the images it has produced are stunning. Another great source of information on it is HubbleSite, and this image is from there:
Wow. Amazing! Click on the photo for more information about it.
And if you’re Twitter-ly inclined, and interested in these things, be sure to follow NASA’s Twitter account, too!
I could go on and on about how excited I am by astronomy, and about the wonderful and beautiful poetry of science, but I should probably stop now. I’m definitely passionate about these things, though, and hope to write more about them in the future. ♥
Only one more thing: I recently bought this wonderful shirt from here. It’s screenprinted with an image from a vintage science textbook. I love it! ♥
(& The subject line is another wonderful Sagan quote ♥)
Thanks so much for reading! More soon. xo