Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Kids, the Space Geeks

What do you do with a lazy weekend morning?

My kids jump on Dad’s suggestion that we watch Nova. And, while they’re engrossed by the story of Einstein’s flexible model of space-time replacing Newton’s more solid concept, I marvel that I gave birth to these creatures.

For me, space and the stars just…well, they just are. I’ve enjoyed my times spent stargazing at camp, in Maine, on various beaches, but I’ve stuck to a romantic contemplation of the superficial beauties of space.

For the kids, it’s more about what exactly would happen to spaghetti in a black hole or how exactly our sun will end or whether there is gravity in your mouth. (Little A. concluded that he does, in fact, have gravity in his mouth.)

So today they spent an hour transfixed by the idea that all three-dimensional artifacts may be holograms of two-dimensional information on a plane somewhere (Don’t ask me! I don’t really get it!) and the coolest thing happened.

The NOVA episode included a lot of interviews with Peter Higgs, the physicist who (if I’m following correctly) posited the existence of the Higgs Field and the miniscule particles that confer mass on everything. Translation: he came up with the idea that there were little bitty particles that make EVERYTHING exist as matter. They give stuff its stuff-ness, aka matter.

As the episode originally aired in November 2011, many physicists commented that they believe the Higgs boson particle exists and it’s just a matter of time before it’s observed.

The really cool part? Just the day before we’d had the radio on in the car and heard an article about the discovery of the Higgs boson particle on July 4!

Even I couldn’t believe how exciting it was to hear all these scientist talking about how much proof of this particle’s existence would mean…if it happened…and to know that it just happened!

So I guess I’m a bit of a space geek, too. If you’re a dreamer, you kind of have to be, don’t you?

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