“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.” – Stephen Hawking
Nick and I went on a trip to the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) today. PARI is a public, not-for-profit foundation with two 26-meter radio telescopes, an exhibit with artifacts from NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, and a variety of educational programs. It’s a place with a pretty neat history, and although I have lived in Asheville for over 5 years, I had no idea PARI existed until a few weeks ago.
I was poking around on UNC-Asheville’s website looking at their free lecture series, and a link led to another link that led to a link for PARI. “Wow,” I thought. “We will have to check that out at some point.” A few days later, I received a message from a community email list, and it said that there were spaces for a group trip to PARI.
And, so, Nick and I made the hour and twenty minute trip up the windy little road in Rosman, NC.
Let me just say that a 26-meter radio telescope looks fucking cool, and that is the first thing you see as you drive in.
Dr. Bob was our docent, and he is a man with more than a little knowledge in science. I think I am going to invite him for lunch so that we can pick his brain.
I left PARI smiling and inspired. Nick knows that I did really want to be an astronaut, so he was smiling too. What is the purpose of this blog other than remedying the fact that I somehow missed my calling? We headed to the gym and I started looking at the online schedule of calculus and physics courses at AB-Tech. It’s true that I have the rest of my life to learn about this stuff.
Oh, I deadlifted, and it had nothing to do with astronomy. I just put weights on a barbell and picked it up. It was fun, though. I managed to pull 130 kg with a hook grip, which Steven thinks is impossible to do without having your thumbs fall off. He’s wrong, though. I pulled 90 kg for a set of 15 after that, and I still have both of my thumbs. I did feel like puking, but I think that was unrelated to my hook grip.
We came home from the gym, and I read a chapter from Stephen Hawking’s The Theory of Everything.
It was a good day.
I believe in science.