Just Checking In

Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your patience. The last few weeks I’ve been getting back to the novel I’ve been neglecting for at least a year, and doing something I love that’s just for me has really helped me get my energy back. I also started a personal blog to anonymously talk about what’s bothering me and connect with support, so I’ve been working on that. And I’ve generally been trying to get better about maintaining a work/life/SLEEP balance.

However…recently when I was at work and had no access to my novel, but things were slow and I had some time, I whipped out my astronomy textbook on Kindle. And I that got me really excited to come back—even more so than I was when I posted that lunar eclipse post. So I’m hoping to start publishing some more posts this “weekend” (Tuesday and Wednesday). We’ll finish off black holes first, then move on to some awesome phenomena from compact objects. There’s some really crazy stuff that goes on in these gravity wells! And then we’ll move on to talking about our galaxy, galaxies in general, and cosmology. After that, we’ll switch gears and return to our own solar system, where we’ll explore the planets and the possibility of life elsewhere.

I’m coming back, and I’m planning to get a lot more active than before…so I appreciate you guys bearing with me while I get my work/life/sleep/mental health balance figured out 🙂

Life vs. Rocks: What Makes Them Different?

Welcome to my third “Science Answers” post! About a month ago, I sent out a post requesting science questions from all of you; you can find it here. This post addresses the third of the questions I was asked. If you have a question, you can ask it in the comments here or on that post, or ask it in an email. Or find me on Facebook!

Q: What is the division between the physical and life sciences? For example, why do we think of rocks in a different category than we do plants and animals? (asked by Katherine)

Okay, wow. Another great question! This one is almost as fundamental as gravity, which I answered earlier.

Gravity may be pretty much the singular reason why the universe works the way it does, but the difference between the physical and life sciences is an important distinction when trying to understand the world around us.

So let’s start with what we know. When you hear “physical science,” what do you think of?

You might think of any number of things—but I’ll bet you that none of those things are alive in the traditional sense.

So, how about the biological sciences? What does that make you think of?

Maybe plants…or cute animals?

Whatever you think of, I’m going to guess they’re all alive.

But what makes something alive or not alive? What makes zebras leap and run, whereas rocks are forever immobile? What makes these living beings different from a vast galaxy or the Pillars of Creation?

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