i’m determined to lay in lakes and see my sisters
I don’t know why science makes me so sad. Maybe because it’s so enormous or because it’s so detailed. I’ve never understood chemistry. Biology was okay, but give me atoms and protons and neutrons and electrons and you might as well ask me to read Hebrew. I understand physics and chemistry in a very abstract way, like of course gravity exists, because my feet stay rooted to the ground, but I can’t see it kind of way. Feynman’s Rainbow was written about the time when String Theory was just developing; when most physicists thought Schwartz was a quack, but Murray Gell-Mann let him stay on the faculty at Caltech to work it out. Now, String Theory to physicists is almost akin to evolution for biologists. It may as well be fact.
Maybe the reason I was never able to completely understand chemistry or physics is because it just seems too similar to understanding God. How do you accept something that you can’t see, you can’t feel? Atoms and elements are like that to me. As someone who has never once in my cognizant years felt that epiphany of faith, it’s very difficult for me to make sense of the atomic world.
After Feynman’s Rainbow, I thought I’d keep up the trend by starting Pandora’s Keepers, which is a series of portraits on the nine more-famous physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project. But I got through the introduction and realized I just don’t have the heart right now. So I was at Borders yesterday with a 20% off coupon and happened to pick up Wuthering Heights. I felt oddly ashamed that I had never read it – a former English Major of the Year, and I didn’t even really know what it was about.
So I’ve departed the world of physics for the nineteenth century, for the moment.
Science just makes me feel so lonely. So singular in such an enormous and sprawling universe.
And I think that’s why, for the past few days, I’ve had this incredible need, almost, to see my sister. Maybe it’s that I just saw her a couple weeks ago for the first time in months, I’m not sure. I’m very much looking forward to this weekend, to seeing her again.
It’s funny though, because sometimes it seems like we have a better relationship when it’s only conducted via email, lolcats, and facebook. When we’re together, sometimes it’s like I’m just her weird, awkward little sister who reads books about physics and philosophy.
But like it or not, we’re stuck with each other, tattooed to the underside of both of our wrists.
I’ve been starting to think about another one, lately. And I have to admit that Lis’s brand new addition is making my skin really squirm with jealousy. It’s only been six months since my last one, but I really, really want to start working on a new one.
I just can’t ever settle on something that really has meaning. Which somehow seems strangely appropriate.
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Tags: a little personal, books about physics, irony, math and science, my sister, religion, tattoos