In search of solid ground

rough-surf

About 6 or 7 years ago, StarMan and I found ourselves surrounded in way-too-high waves off the Florida Space Coast, stupidly trapped in a rip-tide.  I knew that we were in trouble approximately 20 seconds before he did.  We had been in the water for at least 40 minutes, laughing and enjoying the bouncy waves.  We were unaware that with each playful wave jump, we were getting carried a few feet further from shore.  The waves were tall and irregular that day, a fact that was made abundantly clear only after we were wore out and ready to go back to our beach towels.  Continue reading

A Good Kind of Tired

open_house

Last Saturday, my alarm went off at the very uncivilized hour of Oh-dark-early. The incessant screeching from my smartphone at 3AM was even more annoying than usual. Perhaps my having gone to bed past midnight had something to do with it? With considerable effort, I pushed myself out of bed, splashed some cold water on my face in hopes of reviving myself to an acceptable level of consciousness, chugged a cup of coffee for good measure, then quickly grabbed a fistful of nails, a hammer, and got busy. Today demanded multi-tasking by a jack-of-all-trades, in record time. There was no time for self-pity by the sleep-deprived! Continue reading

The Perpetual Two-Body Problem

An example of a 2-body problem: Two objects with the same weight (mass), orbiting around a point in space (credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem)

An example of a 2-body problem: Two objects with the same weight (mass), orbiting around a point in space (credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem)

Amongst the colleagues in my profession, the phrase “Two-Body Problem” is a geeky way to describe the challenging situation that a married (or committed) professional couple finds themselves in, when  they are looking for jobs in similar research fields in the same geographic location, in hopes of sustaining their careers and keeping their relationship intact.  StarMan and I are, by all accounts, a strongly-coupled  Two Body Problem, and we just got news today that dashed some high hopes. Continue reading

Killer Rocks

One of the aspects of my career as a professional astronomer that has always bothered me is that, well, I’ve chosen a kind of ….  selfish profession.  Oh sure, astronomers try to rationalize their line of work by making claims that technological advancements that further the study of the stars also end up in our homes and enhance our lives, or that such research provides much-needed perspective to the world at-large and underscores the fact  that we are but a fragile island of humanity living on this small rock, promoting the cause of peace and good-will and satisfying humankind’s innate thirst for knowledge and exploration.  All the above sounds good, and indeed I’ve likely been guilty of making similar arguments, but honestly?  Astronomy, along with a few other pure research science fields, really is about the joy of discovery and desire to know more about the Universe. If one has a strong need to “save the world” or promote world peace,  then astronomy is probably not the profession for you.  Or so I thought, until a few weeks ago.  Continue reading

Hello world!

Welcome to my very first blog post!

In the next post, I will provide some background that led me here, but here’s the abridged version:  about a week ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).  The possibility of this diagnosis has loomed for quite some time (again, I’ll fill you in with the details in future posts), but as you might imagine, considering the possibility of a diagnosis is quite different from weighing the pros/cons of treatment options…

Which brings me back to why I am starting a blog: (1) I may very well need some sage health advice in the future from those who preceded me in this “journey”;  (2) the scientist in me is interested in identifying common threads in the longterm health backgrounds of those who end up getting MS and other neurological issues; and  (3) perhaps my blog will help others seeking advice. Continue reading