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Across the Universe: All of the Above — 2 Comments

  1. Hello Brother Guy. Here goes my first post on the site:)

    I didn’t know that you had considered a career in journalism, although it makes perfect sense given your gift for communication and outreach. It makes me feel better for being “just the writer”- no background or particular gift in science but a love and appreciation for it all the same. I have often found a rather peculiar irony that I am not “wired” to understand something that I love but I trust that there is a reason for it:)

    I enjoyed your rendering of your evening with the teenagers and hearing about their questions. As you say, it is important to keep asking the questions and just as important – ( and perhaps more so ) to awaken the wonder. I see wonder in the eyes of my 5 year old granddaughter every time I show her something in the night sky or tell her about the other planets in our solar system and how someday we will be able to go there. ( she wants to go to Mars.. ) And I want to keep that wonder alive and make sure that it doesn’t get lost in the world of the IPad, Frozen or the dreaded Barbie, not that there is anything wrong with any of those things. But wonder and true awe are in short supply in today’s fast paced world and I worry that we will lose our connection with nature and the natural rhythms of our world.

    You are so right that the scientists and the researchers and the explorers need to share their work with the every day people and be careful to not continuously preach to the choir so to speak. My column on space exploration has only a small audience in my home town but these are are exciting times of discovery and as I tell readers about the Dawn and New Horizons mission ( Pluto has a giant heart! ), the Kepler Mission discoveries, possible organic life on Europa and so much more, I am often amazed by people who stop me on the street and comment on how much they appreciate hearing about these things—often starting out with..” I didn’t know that..” These are the folks who are not reading Sky News, Astronomy Today or other science magazines and I am thrilled that they are taking an interest because of something that they read in my small column.

    You had said that it is important to start the conversation. It seems that we are moving closer to ever more exciting discoveries and I think it is inevitable that we will find “life” in my lifetime, God willing. Of course, life is a broad term and that will no doubt open up another discussion but when we do, it will have profound societal implications. For some of us, finding out we are alone in the Universe will be consistent with our spiritual beliefs—didn’t one of the Popes say–“who are we to limit God’s creation?”— and something we can easily integrate into our world view, but for others–it will be a direct contradiction of their doctrine and it will most certainly be disruptive, perhaps even frightening. Which is why I think that it is so important to start a dialogue at the grass roots level now.

    Dr. Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner just announced the 100 million dollar “Breakthrough Listen” project which will generate even more interest in this topic, judging by the amount of media coverage. For many people outside of the scientific field (I know because I hear the comments from people ) this conjures up visions of looking for the proverbial “little green men” and can feed on the feeling of many, and not just the conspiracy theorists, they “they” have already been in touch with us. So the importance of meaningful, responsible and informed dialogue on this topic seems to be more important than ever. For the record, I am personally very excited about this project and feel that it is really great news—I’m just concerned about folks who may take it out of context.

    So let’s keep talking. As you can see by the length of this post, I have no problem with that ( 🙂 ) and conclude with a sincere apology for the length of this post.

    Maureen Nadin

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