Oct 15, 2008

My physics and astronomy gene is missing!

I am convinced that I don't have the gene that allows you to understand physics and astronomy. I try so very hard to understand but I just don't.

We watch the Discovery channel, National Geographic channel, I love science in general but when a program related to physics or astronomy is on I feel like a caveman encountering a computer. It's just something beyond my abilities. My head tilts and I say "hunh" in a really high pitched tone. It amuses my husband to no end. He gave up years ago trying to help me understand. Now he just laughs at me.

Well it just so happens that we got onto this subject at the local watering hole recently. Somehow this led to a discussion about the moon and it's phases. It shames me greatly to admit that I just don't get it.

Coincidentally, one of the regular couples we meet there met at an "astronomy club" and were totally on board with helping me to understand. I was even trotted outside to view the actual moon in hopes that the light bulb would come on.

I did see how the moon shone in relation to where the sun was (theoretically was anyway, since it was night.) Mission accomplished. But I don't get the whole picture.

The drawing above was sent to me by my good friend in an attempt to once again help me understand. She agreed to let me include it in my blog only if I included the e-mail chain below.

Me: I've been paying attention to the moon since bar night and although I thought I had it, I really don't . Gonna bring a grapefruit (sun), orange (earth) and ping pong ball(moon) next time for a 3D demonstration.

Friend: LOL!! It's still on my radar to clean the basement storage room before Thanksgiving -- last I saw I still have leftover styrofoam balls and paints from an elementary ed moon phases demo I did for my student teaching. Maybe I won't pitch them quite yet...

(Friend sends me above diagram).

Me: Oh, thank you for the diagram. Also for alerting me that I am not 1:20 the size of the earth.

I get the whole sun shining on the moon thing. But I don't understand why the moon is in different places in the sky. How does it move in relation to the earth during a 24 hour period, and during the 28 day cycle? And how does this movement affect how we see it. .... I know I am being incredibly dense on this subject but it frustrates me not to understand, I guess I'm not as smart as a 5th grader.

I am afraid that there is no way to avoid a 3D demonstration.

Sister: (I think she was embarrassed on my behalf by this point.) ZOMG, you are really over thinking this!


Friend: Cool site! I love the first line: The Moon travels around the Earth. Square one!

Me: You guys are brutal.

Friend: While I admire your quest to fully grasp this concept, I'm a little disconcerted by the fact that it's taking you so long. :)

Me: It's as if I damaged some section of my brain isn't it ??

Friend: Like your moon phases gene is stuck in a black hole or something; nothing's getting through.

Sister: Was the year your teacher showed you the 3-D model that every school has the same year you were visiting the "chemistry" class too often ?

Friend: Ah hah! I think you're onto something. Maybe those brain cells have been permanently "impaired".

Don't even get me started on black holes. And how did you know I was going to title my blog entry "I'm missing the astronomy and physics gene!" And Sis, you just keep your theories as to where my brain cells went to yourself.


  1. Believe me, your sister wasn't the only one embarrassed on your behalf. :)

  2. Crap!..I understood it perfectly until now!
    I think I have a ping pong ball around here someplace..

  3. Miss G-Box - all smug with your astronomy gene.

    Sling: I have now been informed by husband of friend that I will also need a flashlight for the demo.