In the beginning, there was physics. “Physics” describes how matter, energy, space, and time behave and interact with one another. The interplay of these characters in our cosmic drama underlies all biological and chemical phenomena. Hence everything fundamental and familiar to us earthlings begins with, and rests upon, the laws of physics. When we apply these laws to astronomical settings, we deal with physics writ large, which we call astrophysics.

Yes, not only humans but also every other organism in the cosmos, as well as the planets or moons on which they thrive, would not exist but for the wreckage of spent stars. So you’re made of detritus. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?

If you board an aircraft built according to science-with principles that have survived numerous attempts to prove them wrong-you have a far better chance of reaching your destination than you do in an aircraft constructed by the rules of Vedic astrology.

This was not, of course, the first time that significant monies were spent on military programs. Kennedy knew, if only implicitly, that while bravery may win battles, science and technology provide security. Science and technology win wars.

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

How do you study something that cannot possibly get your clothes dirty? How do astrophysicists know anything about either the universe or its contents if all the objects to be studied are light-years away? Fortunately, the light emanating from a star reveals much more to us than its position in the sky or how bright it is.

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