Nova programs evoke strong responses in me. This week the husband and I have been watching a program about rockets. I’d probably rather watch a cooking show, but when it comes to rockets the power of the human brain is awe inspiring. I can comprehend how someone, at some point in history, invented the wheel. But the engineering and sheer hubris in inventing something that goes into space is mind boggling. And I love seeing women in those rooms of engineering geeks.
A year ago I posted after watching a Nova episode titled Black Hole Apocalypse.
Here’s the log line from the PBS website: “Black holes are the most enigmatic and exotic objects in the universe. They’re also the most powerful, with gravity so strong it can trap light. And they’re destructive, swallowing entire planets, even giant stars. Anything that falls into them vanishes…gone forever.”
I love Nova programs, but sometimes I feel like a dog listening to a human. Blah, blah, blah, Ginger. Blah, Fetch, blah. Especially the programs that are based on higher math. Math was never my strong suit. At Goucher College I was allowed to take an astronomy class instead of college algebra to fulfill the math requirement. Enough said! Note: I’ve never quite forgiven Goucher for taking away 27 semester hours of art credits when I transferred there from University of Maryland.
But this Nova program really made me aware of how many galaxies and stars and planets there are in the universe. Billions, trillions, way too many to count if we could see far enough. Our planet is an insignificant speck of dust among millions/billions of others. And it occurred to me that we are pretty much the cockroaches of the universe. Somewhere out there another Mala Burt is writing the same book I’m working on. We think we’re special, but almost certainly are not. Note that I have enough ego to hold out some hope.
Alexander Pope said it best in his poem An Essay on Man.
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never is, but always to be blessed: The soul, uneasy and confined from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
Pope probably wouldn’t have written that poem if he’d been able to watch Black Hole Apocalypse. Despite Nova, I have enough hope to be thinking about starting seeds for my always optimistic and hopeful garden. But that’s another post.