Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 Nov 2001, 16:51 p.m.

I went to another of Alexei Filippenko's Astronomy 10 lectures…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I went to another of Alexei Filippenko's Astronomy 10 lectures today. I've heard terrific praise of him all the years I've been at Cal. And it's quite true. If my Computer Science 3 professor had been this inspiring, and Simon Stow hadn't been such a charismatic and fantastic instructor for Political Science 2, maybe I'd have majored in something that could get me a job.

Filippenko strongly resembles Robin Williams. Filippenko's sense of humor does not rise to Williams-level zaniness -- a boon, since that sort of thing could tire me out after thirty minutes, much less fifty -- but Filippenko has the same grounded-in-the-subject humor as Reginald Zelnik, my Imperial Russian History professor.

Today, for the first time, I really tried to imagine how far the Earth travels every year. 584 million miles, I learn. Sagan's blue-green dot, er, speck, hurtling through space! The great black void!

It makes me want to hug someone for protection against the vacuum.