Book Report

7 Jun

Ruby Payne-Scott was the first female radio astronomer. Miller Goss, also a radio astronomer, just finished writing a book about her. Miller and his wife Libby are the parents of my friend Kate.

Miller told us how he visited Ruby’s children in Australia so that he could gather information about his book on Ruby. As he went through the stories of Ruby and his research, I felt as though I was collecting information on the identity of Kate. I began to understand that identity is a canvas comprised of those around us. And what we contribute to those around us is the legacy we leave behind. That legacy is generational. It’s as though you can’t know someone without exploring their pieces and linkages. After hearing all of Kate’s stories of growing up, it felt like they finally came alive in Socorro, New Mexico. Not only that, being around her parents made me feel like I was around Kate.

We had a great time with the Goss’s. It felt like we were home since they treated us like their own kids. They introduced us to all their curious friends and neighbors and bragged about our travels. They took us to dinner, they made us Indian food and we saw the Very Large Array. And I mean very. If Socorro is isolated, then the Array is on another planet.

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The VLA is comprised of 27 telescopes that use radio waves to understand the universe. All 27 telescopes function as one large one that move their position in place and can be individually unbolted and moved on train tracks by a custom made transporter. This technology of using radio waves to study the universe is not that old. There are radio telescopes throughout the world. The most impressive thing of this field is that the research is open to every country in the world. So the Chinese can come tomorrow to the VLA and the VLA scientists can go to China tomorrow. In a world of conflict and propriety interests, I found this refreshing. I highly value sharing and transparency.

A friendship is not only a person, it is their tribe. And I’m sure glad I know the Goss tribe.

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