“The Library of Babel and the VERY Large Numbers of Science”
The Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) in conjunction with The Estes Park Memorial Observatory is offering a free public lecture Saturday, December 1, 2018 at the Estes Park Memorial Observatory. Normally our public lectures are on the 4th Saturday of the month but this months’ lecture is moved to accommodate our speaker. The goal of EVAS is to promote amateur astronomy and education in the Estes valley.
The scientist and the layperson alike try to grapple with infinity. It shows up at the edges of science and math every day. We have to deal with it. But can humans really visualize the infinite? Can we get a gut feeling for even just the very, very large? John Ensworth will take you to the fictional Library of Babel, based on the short story by Jorge Luis Borges of the same name, and use it as a tool to expand your perception of the very large. He will compare the size of the (finite but large) Library with physical and mathematical values science has found exist in reality. How far can your mind go… grasping the vastness of what is…?
John Ensworth is currently the Principal Investigator of the NASA SMD Independent Education Product Review at the IGES, which is a non-profit organization formed, in part, to conduct independent reviews on all Earth and space science education products produced by or created for NASA (www.strategies.org). His position is the one responsible for conducting these reviews and helping with NASA education and outreach efforts through the Web (http://nasawavelength.org/) and at large education conferences (i.e. NSTA, NCTM, and the ASP) that introduce the products that are scientifically accurate and appropriate for the educational audience they are intended for. In the 90’s Mr. Ensworth was a masters’ student and a PhD candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He teaches physics and mathematics at a number of online universities. He earned undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy, and geography and meteorology with an emphasis in math and computer science. You can view a Webcam of his backyard observatory (Cherrywood Observatory) in Longmont at http://bikerjohn.com/webcam_page1.htm.
The observatory is just north of the high school at 1600 Manford Ave. Park in the teacher’s parking lot between the high school and the observatory. The doors will open at 7:00 pm and the meeting will start at 7:30 pm. The presentation, including a question and answer period, lasts about an hour. After the presentation, weather permitting, we will look through our 16 inch dome telescope at various celestial objects.