Tuesday, February 21, 2017


The first book to come to mind in the matter of Where is "Longitude" by Dava Sobel.  Might not sound all that interesting but it is a thrilling book on the way men sailed and got very lethally lost without being able to measure longitude, how far around the globe they were. The sun helped with latitude but longitude was horrible.


Where?  Here!

Where?  There, over there.  Overseas.  Some place else.

Not in my backyard.

In a galaxy far, far away.

Where the wild things are.

Where are my keys?

Where was I, Class?

Where?  Where they do things differently.

Where?  Where I can live a better life.

Where?  Go to hell.

Where am I?

Where was I?

Where was I yesterday?

Where do you live?

Where have you been?

Where have you been all my life?

Where was I at the time of the crime?

As with When, we have mysteries. We don't know everything about Where we are or Where we could be.  The same Dava Sobel has written about Copernicus and his better way of thinking about the local universe.  It was still in the 1920's that some astronomers thought that the Milky Way, our constellation, was the entire universe.  Again, Dava Sobel has written about the women "computers" (no electronic computers yet) at Harvard who figured ways to measure the distance to some stars and show that many were much further away than our neighbors in this galaxy.

You can take a minute to put "famous women astronomers" in Google and learn about Vera Rubin and the current theories of dark matter.  Many male astronomers have helped us know more about Where we are, including those who showed that the universe is expanding.

If you want to learn about Where, try Google Earth, which can show you the bottoms of the oceans and Where you live.  See the movie "The Martian" to get an idea of Where we may go some day.

I overheard a colleague talking with a student.  "Well, who is your advisor?"  

"Dr. Kirby"

"Well, Dr. Kirby may be able to be in two places at once."

I thought of that statement when I sat in a classroom and could hear myself teaching in the next room (on video tape).

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