Passionately providing imagery that inspired my own amazement at the cosmos, he narrated a journey through space and time that tickled the adventuring spirit of every brave man and fed the burning wonder of ever questioning mind. He would describe in detail the settings of his youth when he was first awed by the size of the sun or the infinince of the universe; he would drag us through the history of astronomy showing the agonizingly slow progression of knowledge and then slamming us with the big bang of information that came with the bigger telescopes, radio imagery, and computer modeling. He showed us the explosion of data in all areas of scientific research that was only made possible with developments in astronomy. I’ve never had an instructor so effectively pull me into the subject and show the relevance to my own generation of what he was teaching.
Sitting next to me in class are two girls ranting in complaint about our professor. They make fun of his enriching tangent describing his favorite movies from the fifties that showed the lack of astrological knowledge we possessed at the time or his quick detour outlining details of his life that displayed his own love for the science.
Now, I can hardly follow a conversation between two woman. It isn’t the tangents into personal lives and emotions that get me. It’s the web of topics and purposes in the conversation. I can’t keep track of the base subject matter. They seem to have three or four conversations going at the same time. I’ll take a tangent, but give me continuity.
These same two woman, who on most days dance conversational circles around me, say, “He makes this easy class so confusing because of all this stuff about how he feels. I don’t care what’s going on in his life; astronomy would be so much more interesting if he just taught from the book.”
I don’t know what they’re talking about; they’ve lost me!
I guess I’ll have to go back to paying attention to the Doctor of Astronomy.