In our civilization, there are permanent forms which are part of every epoch and every culture. They are not especially difficult to detect. A minimal knowledge of physics, astrophysics, and perhaps mathematics, brings to light certain patterns that make these subjects easier to understand. It is striking to see the extreme similarity between these scientific propositions and the forms that recur in all times, places and civilizations.
I've had young women come to me and say that before they watched 'Voyager' it didn't really occur to them that they could be successful in a higher position in the field of science; girls going to MIT, girls pursuing astrophysics with a view to a career in NASA.
At one point I wanted to work for NASA and be an astrophysicist, so I did physics, math, and chemistry before realizing I probably wasn't quite smart enough to do that. But I am still hugely interested in cosmology and astrophysics. That is my geeky subject area.
What is surprising is that almost all the trends that developed within the sciences, Aristotelianism and an extreme Platonism included, produced results, not only in special domains, but everywhere; there exist highly theoretical branches of biology and highly empirical parts of astrophysics. The world is a complex an many-sided thing.
By analyzing data from Greenwich Observatory in the period 1836-1953, John A. Eddy [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and High Altitude Observatory in Boulder] and Aram A. Boornazian [mathematician with S. Ross and Co. in Boston] have found evidence that the sun has been contracting about 0.1% per century during that time, corresponding to a shrinkage rate of about 5 feet per hour. And digging deep into historical records, Eddy has found 400-year-old eclipse observations that are consistent with such a shrinkage.
In astrophysics, we care about how matter, motion and energy manifest in objects and phenomenon in the universe. Stars are born. They live out their lives. They die. Some of the ones that die explode. Our sun will not be one of those, but it will die. And it'll take Earth with us. So we make sure we have other destinations in mind when that happens. And I've got it on my calendar.
I gained a first class degree in Physics at Imperial College London in 1968 and did research in solid state physics, but did not pursue meteorology matters until gaining an M.Sc. in astrophysics from Queen Mary College London in 1981, after which I investigated and attempted to construct theories of solar activity.
Anyone who has wrestled knows that it's the hardest thing in the world to do. Anyone who says something else is the hardest thing has never wrestled. That's what I have found. ... You don't wrestle because it's easy, you wrestle because it's hard. I don't do astrophysics because it's easy, I do it because it's hard. And I juxtapose the two in my mind, body, and soul all the time.