I’ve already talked about my epic fail in Physics O’level and how the stars saved me.

The stars were also one of the ways in which I connected with my dad.  On the rare occassions he was home from work earaly, he would walk me home from guides and point out the constellations.  I loved the shapes and the stories he told about them, and I loved that time with him. He lit up as he shared what he had learned as a scout after the Second World War in the mountains of Italy.

Shakespeare’s star crossed lovers, wishing on shooting stars in dark places, watching the moon wax and wane and walking in the silver light of a full moon before work, with the dogs, having it light my way.  For me, the night sky is vast, inexplicable, mythical.

Then on 8th April news of a possible 5th force.  The four we currently know about are: gravity, elctro-magnetic, strong (to hold a core of atoms together) and weak (involved in breaking atoms apart) nuclear forces.  When atoms smash together they create sub-atomic particles, one of which is a muon, can not be explained by the current theory and scientists are theorising that this might the 5th force of nature. This 5th force might be the reason for why galaxies spin faster than they should and why stars, and even us, exist at all.

There is so much we don’t understand and the enormity and the complexity of the cosmos comforts me.  It reminds me to keep things in perspective, to look up and beyond and to know that I am made of star dust just like you.  Which is why I wanted to talk to Rob.  Rob’s passion, humility and curiosity is luminous and I love that he is able to share so much of what he knows and also so much of what we don’t know.  It is the tension between the mystical and the scientific, the known and the unknown which keeps me gazing skywards.

You can listen to my converation with Rob here or below:

Photo by: https://www.victoriamacken.co.uk/



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