Thursday, March 29

variable infinities and stuff

so I just found out my baby sister (look: she and her husband have a blog), in whose company there is always much silliness to be enjoyed, has been finishing up an undergraduate thesis about stars. how cool is that?

and even cooler is the fact that I get to proof the thing for her. mm, my favourite thing to do. and in the process I may learn a few bits about astrophysics. or something.
{ photo borrowed from this kind soul on flickr. }

compared to some families, ours isn't the most tightly knit group. perhaps it's my own fault. me, the wandering reclusive one, and perhaps the rest of them keep in touch better. I doubt it though. my guess is that we all keep in touch tolerably with mum, and the rest of us only talk when there is some news or a need. like all the times I call my genius brother when I have questions about computers or programming.

how long has my sister been working on this thesis? I have no idea. probably a long time--it's nearly 40 pages long. I might sort of remember hearing about this observatory once. but a thesis? do I find it strange (unfair?) that she, the baby sister, has written an actual, legitimate thesis at a little school in Idaho while I, the graduate student, will not dream of doing any such thing for many years, if ever at all? that's the difference between the humanities and the sciences, I guess. science is all about research. hard facts and numbers and complicated equipment.

it's not that fields in the humanities don't include research. it's just not as overtly recognizable (or never was before, to me) as the testing-things-in-a-lab kind, I guess. the complicated equipment of an english major's research might not be anything at all like the night sky or a telescope. it might be a the cultural implications of the circulation records of a small library in eighteenth-century britain, instead. a little more micro than this variable stars business, but still part of helping us all better understand our universe, I think.

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