It’s no secret that I like to write. Even to you, dear reader, who has most probably never met me before, by reading this column my interest in writing and journalism is clear. My dreams of becoming a renowned writer and figure in the realm of art and media emerged in middle school when I began writing for the school newspaper. My literary aspirations have been growing stronger ever since. The writing I have done in the past, however, has never illustrated my fascination with and love for space exploration, scientific discovery, and theories about the cosmos.
As a young child, my bedroom ceiling glittered with glow-in-the-dark stars. In the moments before I would drift off to sleep, I would stare up at my homemade constellations and envision my place in the galaxy. These nightly experiences fostered my love for space and what lies beyond our world.
When I first started playing guitar in the sixth grade, I found solace in playing at night, in front of my giant bedroom window, so I could feel the strings and play by memory and inspiration, rather than out of a book. While staring at the stars, I realized what I would name my guitar: Orion. When I finally added a two new guitars to my collection, a Yamaha acoustic and a Fender stratocaster, I named them Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, respectively. Betelgeuse is Orion’s “right shoulder” in the constellation while Bellatrix is the “left shoulder.” Altogether, my collection of guitars and love for music lit up my life.
It was then that I realized that two of my loves, science and art, were inextricably intertwined. The beauty and mastery of the universe is encapsulated and embodied in the art that fills the world around us. As I entered high school, I decided to follow this path of juxtaposed interests. Mainly, I continued my journalistic journey. In middle school, I began as a staff writer for the school newspaper and eventually worked my way up to the position of editor-in-chief. I replicated this path in high school as I went from staff writer, to editor, to creative director. But in my spare time, I furthered my love for science. I was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society and thrived in my Chemistry and Physics classes.
My time in physics during senior year was highlighted by the release of The Martian. Watching it gave me a pure rush of excitement—I was captivated by not only the film’s cinematography, score, and artistry, but also its story. The complex science and ingenuity of Matt Damon’s character, Mark Watney, floored me and inspired me. As he battled the elements and loneliness that Mars presented him with, Watney embraced each challenge with a striking optimism and sense of humor.
Now, here at Boston College, I declared as an English major. Yet I am still pursuing my passion in the sole astronomy class offered at this university. Every Tuesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m., I listen in awe to Thomas Kuchar’s lectures on lunar phases, astronomical motion, and spectra. One lecture has stuck with me, though, all throughout this semester. This November, while learning about stellar evolution, Kuchar explained that we’re all made of stardust. A star’s life is a perpetual war between gravity and internal gas pressure. This is a war that gravity ultimately wins every time. As stars evolve, they increase in luminosity (brightness) and decrease in temperature. This process continues until it dies. Sometimes, stars explode in a fantastic show of power called a supernova. When this occurs, heavier elements are created from fusion events, like magnesium, lead, or gold land on Earth as such. So, essentially, the gold necklace I wear everyday with my first initial is made from a star. This fact amazed me and made me look at the world around me differently. It reminded me of the epiphany I had while naming my guitars.
Therefore, I am naming this column, “A Word From Mars.” Every week I will be excited to bring a new outlook on something that interests me and hopefully interests Heights readers. This time, my motive was to introduce myself and, in doing so, share an interest of mine that may seem out of left field. Throughout my upcoming time writing this column for The Heights, I plan to convey my love of the arts— subjects and themes in music, film, fashion, and more—while exploring some unexpected topics, like science, that may take some by surprise. To me, the sky’s the limit.
Featured Image By 20th Century Fox