I once lived at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, England. The castle, owned by Canada’s Queen’s University, shares its acreage with the Royal Observatory and Science Centre. The Science Centre is comprised of six domes that house six very large and very old copper telescopes. Here sits a surreal collection of a 15th century castle, 17th century observatory, 19th century caretakers, and 21st century Canadians. Just kidding about the caretakers.
One stormy Tuesday I took a handful of paying first year university students to the Science Centre with hopes and dreams to view the sparkly Milky Way, Orion’s bright belt, and Jupiter with its many moons, and perhaps even see a close-up of the craters on our own moon. I had paid a visit to the center the year before, and absolutely loved peering through these telescopes. I had built up the center so much that my students were also super excited!
Much to our dismay, the Science Centre peeps very kindly led us into the big domes, pointed to the big telescopes and said, “Here they are” with somewhat minimal enthusiasm. They couldn’t let us actually look through the telescopes because A) it was cloudy and no stars could be seen, and B) rain was falling from the clouds and we and the telescope equipment would have been soaked when the domed roof opened. This was very disappointing.
However, upon my persistent requests, since the rains had paused momentarily, the Science Centre people did reluctantly agree to open the big dome roof for us just for a few minutes.
We watched in awe as the old dome roof arthritically creaked open and we faced the sky in anticipation. And then, with nowhere to hide, we stood as hundreds of dead flies fell from the ceiling where they had been hanging stale and dry for months, and floated down onto our upturned heads.
Hurray for the Science Centre.
* * * * * * * * * *
That is as good as my science stories will ever get.
If you want a better science story, you should go here. David’s blog is in the running to win the Best Science Weblog award. I am not a science-person, but I am fascinated with what scientific morsels my artsy mind can process. Usually, this means the kind of science that has to do with animals and stars.
HERE IS WHY I LIKE HIS BLOG (and why you will like it too):
- He writes funny adventure stories about Australia (like me!)
- The blog is full of awesome photos
- He is a talented writer
- He is a student who somehow manages to blog regularly about a host of random topics. (Perhaps this is procrastination in the disguise of creative productivity, but good on him)
- He makes science interesting and within reach of non-science-people
Or if the day is quickly coming to an end and you haven’t done a good deed yet, you can go directly to this site and just vote blind in the “science” section. It’s a good thing.