Saturday, May 10, 2008

Little Knowledge and the Big Dipper

Last night, at a party, I happened to meet the director of the Dudley Observatory.  As we talked, I owned up that I only maybe knew three things about astronomy: one, that people probably got it confused with astrology (correct on this one), that Pluto wasn't a planet anymore (still some debate, evidently), and lastly, that really the only thing I recognized in the night sky was the Big Dipper. With the last, she exclaimed, "That's all you need!" and went on to say that once you knew someone up there, that was the start, the way to unlock all you might want to know about the universe. Driving home, I thought about how easy that sounded--and how hard we often make it to gain the knowledge historians, art historians, anthropologists and others present in museum settings. What would exhibits be like if we really dedicated serious effort to seek out that one connecting point--the point that made it possible for us to enter in, excited, into a new world of knowledge?

And tonight, when I got home, I looked up at the sky and thought, "hmmm...maybe I'd like to know more."

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