I remember the first time I saw the stars. I mean, really saw them. I had just received an assignment that called for the daily observation of the night sky. Homework that didn’t go away, it was a 5th-grade nightmare. As I grudgingly walked out into the apartment circle, carrying just my marble notebook and a pencil, I glanced up to try to get an idea of what I would be drawing. I was fortunate that night, as the main street light of the lawn was out, and I got to see everything in all its glory. I had never really paid any attention to the sky, with all the light pollution and the distractions.
However, if I were to describe what I saw, it was, in one word, breathtaking. For the first time, I truly understood the meaning of that word. It was so magnificent, I literally forgot to breathe. It took me a few minutes to come back to my senses and remember I was doing outside. The majesty, the magnitude, was unparalleled. I had never seen something so mysterious, yet all-showing. Something so close, yet so impossibly far.
And that was the night I fell in love with the sky, dare I say the universe. A 10-year-old boy discovered his passion that night. What he believed he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing. But he didn’t know where to start. What was that which he had seen? Was it a collection of facts, or something divine? Hard, cold truth, or something more pliable, open to interpretation?
He knew there had to be something of substance behind it, but his heart would not listen. How, possibly, could what he had felt have been… logical? How could something so majestic be explained? Laying in bed that night, I tried to make sense of my awe, put it in words, and all I could come up with was “whow” — a combination of “what”, “how”, and “huh?”. I then decided to ask dad, figuring it’d be best, considering he always claimed to know everything.
The next morning, when I presented my all-knowing father with my new lexical masterpiece, the word “whow”, all I got back was a “huh?”, accompanied with a few of its friends, the “uh”s and “um”s. (This was after I told him the whole story). Then I went to my mother, who, unfortunately, had not much else to say.
That was when I began to consult the “intra-webs”, as my dad so eloquently put when I asked him where I could go for answers, and that’s where I discovered Astrophysics: A branch of science devoted completely to understanding the universe. It was a dream come true. A way to know why things are the way they are. Ever since that discovery, I have read countless articles, even if they didn’t make sense, just driven by my deep desire to know more.
Understand more. On one of my reading sprees, I came across a video of Neil DeGrasse Tyson and saw how simply he put everything. Ever since then, whenever I’m curious, I turn to tv shows or books by Neil Tyson, like “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” or Astrophysics for people in a hurry, or read books by other distinguished physicists, like the one I am currently reading, Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku.