This weekend ten students in Kenyon’s astrophysics class impressed their mothers by attending the American Physical Society April Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. According to its website, particle physicists, nuclear physicists and astrophysicists gathered to share research and insights. Among the accomplished academics in attendance was Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the new documentary series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. If you have never heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson and would like to learn a little, tiny bit about science I recommend this video: The Most Astounding Fact.
Although the Kenyon Students attended talks for with titles as mysterious as “B14.00003: Liquid Scintillators for Neutrino Detection in Large Scale Detectors,” obviously the most important thing to do was find the rock star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and take a selfie with him. Junior physics major Ross Mauck ’15 was up for the challenge, but it proved to be no easy task.
At 8:26 a.m., Ross was seated not too far from Dr Tyson at a talk and sent me this:
Clear evidence that they were in close physical proximity, but it’s no selfie.
Two hours and forty minutes later, Ross did it – he snagged his first selfie. Note the tentative happiness on Ross’ face, with Dr Tyson cheesin’ on the stairs in the background:
Good, but not great, and Ross Mauck is not one to settle. Within half an hour he was even closer, and even happier, to this American academic hero:
At this point I told him that the weekend in Georgia should be considered a success; after all, he had taken two selfies with America’s most famous astrophysicist. Ross agreed, but we both knew in our hearts that he could achieve greater things, and better selfies.
At 1 p.m., deGrasse Tyson walked by right by Ross, but stepped into the elevator faster than even Ross – a retired varsity collegiate athlete – could ask for a picture. Would the APS conference come to a close without the ultimate selfie? It was certainly starting to look like it.
But lo! At 5 p.m. Ross texted me this:
He did it! Ross Mauck took a consenting selfie with Neil deGrasse Tyson!