This Tuesday night, we had our last session of the Origins lecture theories – a poster presentation of the research projects that my Origins seminar has been working on for the whole semester. We also had students from the creative artist book class to present their works. It was a celebration of the intellectual growths that we gained from past lectures and a showcase of our own work on the theme of Origins.
In this week’s lecture and seminar, we had Prof. Chris Gavaler from Washington and Lee University to talk about the origins of superheroes. Previously we have read two chapters of his book On the Origin of Superheroes: from the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1 which talk about the evolution and eugenics implications of the birth of superheroes. Then in his evening lecture, Prof. Gavaler introduced this object by tracing back to the origins of the word “superhero,” the origins of the concept of the superhero, and the political and cultural implications of superhero.
I was 10 years old when I learned that humans could only move forward in time and that the Sun would eventually engulf the earth for the first time. The fear of death and inexistence immediately swallowed me, who was too young to think about and question the meaning of life. I wondered for such a long time what the point of living was if eventually everything would be exploded and gone and how could the future creatures know that I once existed. Even till today, I feel so lost and flustered to think about these questions to which I have never had an answer.
There are still many mysteries about the Universe. One of the big question we once might think is related to the origin; How did the universe start? I discussed about this topic once with my friend before, and it made us even more confused with many uncertain questions related to the beginning of the Universe. It was pleasure to hear the lecture of The Big Band and the Origin of the Universe by prof. Dale Kocevski to approach my prior questions I have had about the Universe.
The Olber’s paradox example made me realize the importance of looking at the ordinary things from different point of view so that it could reach us to a new discovery.
Many people believe that it is common that we have the sun during daytime, thus it is bright, on the other hand, it is dark at night because there is no sun. However, German physicist Heinrich Olbers had still questioned himself “why is the sky dark at night?” because if the universe is infinite and is distributed by stars or galaxies, we see stars in any direction we look. Therefore the night sky is supposed be white with lights of the uniformed stars in the universe.
This is called Olber’s paradox. In order to find the explanations of this paradox, some researchers have shown the new evidence related to the origin of the Universe.The one is even though our universe is infinite large, it is not infinitely old. Namely, there was the beginning of the Universe. The Universe was born approximately 13.7 billion years ago in a stupendous explosion called Big Bang and has been expanding since then. Since the Universe is expanding, stars and galaxies get farther away from us. It suggest s us that the stars we see in the night sky is actually the intensity of that star billions of years prior when the light had not actually reached us yet. I remembered that I was surprised to hear once in my science class that even Albert Einstein, who is one of the most famous figures in human history for his theory of Relativity, did not admit that the universe has beginning or end but he proposed a steady state universe saying that the universe does not change in its size.
“Why is the sky dark at night?”, “Where are we all come from?” or “How is the universe created?”, those “why” are important and essential because it could be a trigger off reaching new findings and strive us to intuitively grasp the inner nature of things. Yet we have not known many things about the origin of the universe, we have to continue exploring more those uncertain matters with our irrepressible curiosities.
In addition, the lecture also made me rethink about the aim of this lecture series “order vs chaos”. I used to think that those are the opposite ideas but now I think chaos involves order in itself as the origin of the Universe indicates that the Universe/cosmos(order) began from the explosion of Big Bang(chaos) . Although Chaos itself is fluid and uncertain, there are several orders are swirling in chaos, having infinite possibilities to make order out of chaos.
When I think of space, of anything above our atmosphere, it’s usually clouded by my belief that anything in that realm is far too complex, large, or confusing for little me to possibly understand. However, every time I read a chapter or take a class about space, it feels like the things going on in that sky above me are simpler than the jumbled mess of life happening on this spaceship called Earth.