On the Universe

Subatomic particle > Atoms > Molecules > Cells > Tissues > Organs > Organism > Population > Community > Ecosystem > Biome > Earth > Solar System > Milky Way Galaxy > Universe

I wish I still had the diagram of this I used during my teaching days. I look back at this organization chart as being quite profound, yet I know that I did not fully use its power in my teaching. Although I could explain it, maybe I didn’t grasp its magnitude. These days, it is that magnitude that grabs me when I watch one of my favorite videos – one that I have used here several times – this version of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. (Watch or continue below)

Many adjectives can describe the universe. For me, a few descriptors includes vast, mysterious, and glorious. As I watched the recent video to the words of physicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, those three descriptors still fit for me. Dr. Tyson’s words beautifully weave with Sagan’s (although to me, he tries too hard to be Saganesque with his speech).

Whereas Sagan sees each of us as speck on a planet that is “a small stage in a vast cosmic arena – a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,” Tyson states, “We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.” Put them together … powerful.

Since the time of Aristotle, through the turmoil of Copernicus and Galileo, to the current insight provided by the Hubble Telescope, I realize how far we’ve come regarding the universe. Today, I stand in awe while feeling blessed – yet shake my head at those who fail to see the grandeur creation offers.