Saturday 12 February 2011

How I ended up as an Astronomer ?

Never underestimate the importance of enthusiastic teachers who love their subject. It was this lack of enthusiasm that lead me away from my dream job at 16. I was very creative and after making my own web page had decided that Art and Computing was where my future would be......

However my art and computing teachers were no where near as excited or enthused as my Physics and Maths teachers were during my GCSE and College studies. Actually I sensed that my computing teacher hated computing and that my art teachers were just jealous that some artists in my class were alot better them. Meanwhile my physics teacher was telling us all these inspiring stories about crazy physicists with gold noses, who fly kites in thunderstorms and get hit on the head with apples etc. So, even though I had aspirations and dreams of becoming an interior designer/artist/fashion designer/graphic designer/web-page designer, I actually ended up liking Physics and Maths more. 

I enjoyed that you could work through your formulas do your calculations and you could be very confident of getting all the marks. This was just the opposite in art where I felt exceptional artists could do amazing pieces of work and the art teachers interpretation of it would be a grade E, where as in my own opnion these great artists deserved a B in the was all a bit "hand wavy"..This is why I feel maths with mechanics/physics thrown in is so awesome. You get a nice sense of achievement when you get your answer out, especially when you know the answer is a real value with physical meaning. for eg. the speed you would have to throw a creme egg to get it to escape the earths atmosphere...... its not just maths, for the sake of maths! 

So....I ended up in Astronomy specifically, as opposed to just Physics..manily because of all the pretty Hubble images of space that were about at the time. This imagery appealled to my creative side, and showed me that Physics and Astronomy was not only beautiful from equations, theory and formula point of view, but also you could see it's beauty. 

The Butterfly Nebula credit: Hubble
Looking at these images allowed my imagination to run a bit wild. The history of astronomy was also rather interesting to me; it taught me that to learn about our environment, some times the answer is far away in space.......Lots of physical laws e.g. gravity were discovered by scientists looking beyond earth, to the planets and out into the galaxy.


David Dennis said...

Nice post. I think that is pretty true of teachers, I can't imagine anyone who does art does it to become a teacher. It's not like they actually teach in the same way a maths/physics teacher has to, they can't be passionate about it...well, I couldn't be.

Soton Astrodome said...


Yes Art is a difficult one. I think I only got a B 'cos I could write alot about artist and make up why I had stuck random bits of PVA glue to things, suggesting it caused some emotion etc. People in the class who were alot better artists and went onto sell their art in fact, ended up getting E's. They got a low mark not 'cos their art work was bad (it was amazing!!) they just didn't like rambling on/making stuff up about why they did it and which artists inspired them's a shame really.

Anyway Physics for the win :)

I still try and do a bit of painting etc now and then, but manily to try calm me down after research makes me stressed.