The blog contains texts about the Solar System, astronomy and physics, but also about scientific research and the conditions under which it is carried out, written by a professional astronomer.
Astronomy is full of strange facts, weird celestial bodies and mysterious phenomena. Although such things are fascinating and startling, an isolated piece of information remains a charming but useless curiosity, if not placed into a broader context and explained. The problem is that context requires a comprehensive knowledge about space, and explanations often require understanding of physics and mathematics. Going beyond the simple is therefore always a challenge. The blog’s texts are not content with merely presenting curiosities – and do not shy away from describing the context and providing explanations, even when these are not simple or obvious. However, this is only meaningful if great efforts are being made to make the texts pedagogical. The goal is therefore that readers with little or no previous experience in natural science are able to assimilate the texts.
Today, the gap between popular science and the actual research is vast. The abyss between academia and society at large has broadened as the research has become increasingly sophisticated, and as the quality of school education has eroded. No one benefits from this situation – scientists cannot work without financial support from society, and communities cannot flourish unless knowledge is shared by many. As a professional astronomer, I can help to reduce the gaps by sharing my knowledge. Popular education is a democratization project.
In order to understand our immediate surroundings and our time, we must become aware of the world beyond and its history. A more profound understanding of existence go well beyond countries and continents or humanity’s brief time on the stage. There are fundamental existential questions that we can begin to answer today, thanks to centuries of research. How do stars like the Sun form, and the planetary systems that surround them? How did the Solar System evolve with time and how do environments form that have the ability to bring forth life? How has natural selection been molded by the geological changes of the Earth, and by our planet’s interaction with other bodies in the Solar System? Why are we who we are, what is this place we have arrived at in the Galaxy, and why does it look the way it does?
The history of the Solar System is not a narrow interest for aging academicians – it is the history of ourselves as a species and as individuals.