Essays for #dearMoon

Well I wrote them more than a month ago as timely snapshots of my state of mind and ambitions, and have decided that it might be cool for me to share them here too.

Q1: Tell us about a project/activity you feel passionate about.

I am a doctoral student in theoretical physics. There are three pillars to my daily activities and life aspirations, solid science, inspiring art, and engaging outreach. To this end, initially built during my time at Berkeley, my personal website, FWPhys.com, has been a hub and journal of all these efforts to date.

An apprentice cosmologist, I work with scales that often abstract the entire galaxy, with humans and trillions of stars in it, into a few data points. However, I gained more appreciation of ourselves through such experience.

In a popular science essay that I published back home that has amassed nearly a million views, I argued that — not black holes, and not red supergiants — “the earth” could be the most formidable celestial body known. For no matter what is out there in all the vastness of the cosmos, it is the earth that accommodates stargazers such as we, who measured and charted whatever other objects in our view and ultimately projected our emotions and imaginations elsewhere, much like the Dear Moon mission.

Such senses of poetic naturalism guide my academic work and beyond. While my research focuses on dark matter dynamics at the time, I have also started a few artistic explorations. Being well-trained in mathematics and physics, I found it rather appealing and intuitive to tap into my longtime passion for music, photography, and 3D digital filmography.

Lastly, I believe that it’s fundamental in the nature of my work and character to be collaborative and supportive to others. I write about my ongoing problem solving and STEM news regularly, as well as helped organize various physical science fairs and exhibits –humbly, with lasting passion, I will continue on my path of science while doing the best I can to share it with the bigger world.

Q2: By taking part in dearMoon how will your project/activity evolve and how will you be able to contribute to society?

The recent developments in spaceflight are essential to my optimistic life outlooks. However, before learning about dearMoon, I have only envisaged myself as a hopeful beneficiary, but rarely a direct participant.

Studying the universe, I sometimes find myself unable to intuit the distances needed to describe its structures. As such, to experience the earth-moon separation, in real-time and in-person, will be a character-building and career-defining moment.

In July 2019, on the semi-centennial of the Apollo 11 landing, I composed and performed a track with the working title ‘Lullaby from the Far Side of the Moon.’

I dedicated the work to the people who made the moon landing a reality, but especially to Young (Apollo 10) and Collins (Apollo 11), the missions’ command module pilots, the farthest-traveling human beings at their times. I tried to capture the awe and serenity in orbit under a sky without earth in it, and the mystique of the blue marble rising from the lunar landscape. My imagination was exhausted rather quickly, and I still cannot fully grasp the beauty of such an occasion. 

“Only poems,” perhaps.

Socially, especially in terms of scientific outreach, a space journey will allow me to demonstrate general relativity’s beauty through a series of little experiments that I plan to design and bring. They could be a spiritual continuation of my series of DIY demonstration articles. 

Likewise, I will share my passions for and insight into space with my crewmates while learning their experiences on this planet.

To summarize, I recognize that my professional journey is in many ways still in infancy. Through dearMoon, I wish to connect with more people and my fascinations with nature at an entirely new level, learning invaluable lessons along the way.