Martin Luther King Jr. & Astronomy for #MLKDay2016

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m posting this notecard I found in the King Center’s archive. At a time when astronomy is struggling with issues around equal inclusion, and with racism being one of the most pernicious challenges we face (both in the sciences and in society as a whole), I thought it was nice to see a reminder that many people stop to consider their place in the universe (even if they pursue other goals day-to-day). And in his own handwriting, no less! I’ve also transcribed the note below (added emphasis mine).

Screenshot 2016-01-14 14.56.34


A few stars are known which are hardly bigger than the earth, but the majority are so large that hundreds of thousands of earths could be pack inside each and leave room to spare here and there we come upon a giant star large enough to contain millions of millions of earths. And the total number of stars in the universe is probably something like the total number of grains of sand on all the sea-shoes of the world. Such is the littleness of our home in space when measured up again the total substance of the universe.

Happy MLK Jr. Day everyone! Here’s to a more inclusive future.

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3 Responses to Martin Luther King Jr. & Astronomy for #MLKDay2016

  1. donbright says:

    thanks for posting this. very cool.

  2. That’s a wonderful find, Lucianne. Thanks for sharing it!

    Beyond the beautiful insight that Martin Luther King, Jr. expresses, I am also enjoying that he kept notes on notecards. King’s notecard reminds me of years of elementary school when we were taught to take notes on those 3 x 5 notecards. As I worked on a paper, I would have stacks of these notes, wrapped in beige rubber bands, that I would shuffle and sort as part of writing a paper. I probably even had stacks of notecards about astronomy, since I always tried to turn every term paper into one about space.

  3. Susan H says:

    Excellent post, and I’m glad I found your blog…my 10 year old daughter wants to be an astrogeologist and I can’t wait to show her this!

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