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"Since I started my Astronomy class" Princeton --What makes it beautiful is invisible


ailibai 8 / 21  
Dec 28, 2010   #1
Ehhh, I'm really not sure how I feel about this. I think it's rambly and repetitive, and I don't know if it says enough about me. Please help me on this one!

The prompt:Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation at the beginning of your essay.

My quote:"'Yes', I said to the little prince, 'whether it's a house or the stars or the desert, what makes them beautiful is invisible!'"

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)

Since I started my Astronomy class this year, I haven't looked at the world the same way. Space and the universe have always held a certain attraction for me, but this class has vastly increased my fascination. Every day in class, I sit in the front row of the classroom, failing to conceal my sheer awe. How can I not be awestruck in learning that the light we see from the sun was produced in its center 100,000 years ago or that in a black hole the mass of a star 20 times bigger than the sun can compress itself into an area smaller than the nucleus of an atom? The universe constantly reminds me to appreciate the hidden beauty in life.

What I have learned about the physical makeup of the universe has led to more complex existential ponderings. I recently picked up Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (mainly because it had the words "time travel" and "teleportation" on the cover, as well as a picture of the TARDIS). In the chapter on parallel universes, Kaku discusses the amazing suitability of our universe for supporting life. The fact that we even exist seems impossible when looking at all the factors that go into forming a universe. If gravity were increased, the universe would crush in on itself; if gravity were decreased, the universe would disintegrate. A bit less nuclear force, and the stars would never ignite. However, the universe does exist, the earth did form, and humans did evolve far enough to marvel at the universe that birthed them. Thinking about the origins of humankind has made me realize the beauty of all that people have themselves created. The improbability of existence makes everything that much more remarkable.

Everything I see around me-my cat, my cup of tea, my hand-is all made of the same basic building blocks. All the atoms in the world began as hydrogen and "evolved" through nuclear fusion in the heart of stars. I love the unity it brings to life; everything is connected. For me, this only reinforces the profound beauty that I see in the universe. My new perspective on "life, the universe, and everything" gives me reassurance. Society has infinite problems, but scientifically, our universe is almost impossibly perfect. There are so many terrible things in the world, but because of the invisible forces that make it exist, it is beautiful. It is important to me to never lose this fascination with everything and the beauty I see in it. With all I have learned, that is the only thing I know for certain is impossible.
fc barca 4 / 19  
Dec 28, 2010   #2
I don't think you should worry about this essay - it's great. You might just want to change a couple of words here and there - here are some suggestions:

- of the classroom... SHEER AWE WRITTEN ALL OVER MY FACE (or something like that... the only reason your original bit doesn't work for me is because it makes me wonder why you would want to conceal it?)

- comma after years ago
- mainly because it has the INTRIGUING WORDS

GREAT GREAT GREAT job.

Hope this helps!! Think you could help me with mine?
OP ailibai 8 / 21  
Dec 28, 2010   #3
Oh, thank you! This is probably my third redo of this prompt, so that's why it makes me nervous. Your first change is much better than what I had!

I just have one more question...My sister thinks that the last sentence is unnecessary and a bit distracting/confusing. What do you think of it?
awesomepossum 2 / 4  
Dec 28, 2010   #4
i feel like your essay would still retain the same general meaning without the last sentence.
ershad193 14 / 333 5  
Dec 29, 2010   #5
This is a good essay. I like its simplicity. However, there are a few points I'd like to point out.

1. The first paragraph seems to exaggerate your interest in astronomy. It may not be the case in reality, but I'd like it more if you choose some toned down words.

The main problem is the use of the phrase "sheer awe" in combination with a rhetorical question.

However, this is just a personal opinion, and personal opinions may vary from person to person.

2. I don't think the following words are needed.

(mainly because it had the words "time travel" and "teleportation" on the cover, as well as a picture of the TARDIS).

I love the second paragraph, especially the last sentence.

3. I have to agree with your sister. The last sentence is a confusing one. One thing you can do is follow it up with a clarifying sentence.

P.S. I loved that book by Kaku.
OP ailibai 8 / 21  
Dec 29, 2010   #6
Thank you for your suggestions! I can't really figure out how to rework the beginning, though...Can you think of any alternatives?
I guess the words in parentheses were my attempt to insert more personality. I know they aren't necessary, I just thought they gave it a more personal touch? Let me know why you think I should take them out.

I did take out the last sentence; I like it better without.

And it is a fantastic book. :)
ershad193 14 / 333 5  
Dec 29, 2010   #7
Can you think of any alternatives?

Hmm...if I were to write the opening, I'd probably scrap quite a lot of the opening para. I think if you want to express something, it's better to use an anecdote than just describing it. For example, if you had given an example from a Astronomy classroom session, maybe it would have been more convincing.

Anyway, like I said, it's just an opinion and definitely not an advice. You can stick to your version :)

I guess the words in parentheses were my attempt to insert more personality. I know they aren't necessary, I just thought they gave it a more personal touch? Let me know why you think I should take them out.

I'm sorry, I didn't explain myself properly last time. I meant, if you need to cut out something, you can cut out those.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 10, 2011   #8
the light we see from the sun was produced in its center 100,000 years ago

could this possibly be true? I thought the sun was something like 90 million miles away. If that statement above is true, it means the sun is 100,000 light years away. I definitely am not qualified to argue about this subject, but it is worth checking to make sure the info is accurate...

The main point of the quote is that what makes something beautiful is invisible, and I don't think you covered that concept enough in the essay.

Here is my favorite quote:

scientifically, our universe is almost impossibly perfect.

That quote is cool because of the implications for our arguments about the Origin of Everything.

:-)


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