Astronomers do not cry

Or do they?

I don’t know if I can generalise on all astronomers or on all people who do science but I really hope I’m not the only one with such a reaction to new revelations.

So shortly speaking, there are very few things that can make me cry. I don’t cry under stress or under tragic circumstances. I just simply don’t recall that happening. However, I cry in the moments of greatest happiness. And no wonder that one of the things which bring me such happiness is science.

Now let me tell you a story that happened at Friday’s Astro lecture by Dr. Donovan Domingue.

First I should start by noting that one of the reasons I enjoy SSP so much is that we are allowed to ask literally as many questions as we want. I am trying not to miss that opportunity as my curiosity just will not allow it.

So that time Dr. Domingue was explaining Snell’s law (that light refracts(bends) when passing through the different medium). And it just happened that I have already studied that topic at least 3 times in my life. And all of those times I asked for a logical explanation of this phenomenon. And guess what? I never got a satisfying answer. Searching on the internet did not help either.

For a second I hesitated if I should ask Dr. Domingue that question as it was slightly off-topic. But I decided to try my luck again and raised my hand. When I’ve heard: “Yes, Ivan” I was a bit worried but keeping in mind that there is no way back, I asked my question while elaborating that I’ve been always wondering about it and no one could explain to me the logic behind the phenomenon.

I can just recall how quickly he drew geometrically the answer for my question and at some point, I had that Aha feeling. OMG, that makes so much sense!!!

It felt like in the fog of the problem I finally saw the bridge to cross the gorge to add that one crucial piece of logic to my question. As soon as it happened, the fog disappeared as the bright sun continued liting up my mind.

At that moment I could not stop smiling. My eyes were a bit itchy and I started crying. Not like a full-scale weep but it was definitely enough to reassure me how much I love science and how grateful I am to have such intelligent people around who make me feel this way.

This is the screenshot of that moment when I realised the answer.