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During a recent visit to the Galileo exhibit on the 5th floor of Bizell, my eyes were truly opened. I had the pleasure of observing works from Galileo, Plato, Aristotle and other influential past thinkers.
It is difficult for me to imagine a period of time when the Milky Way and the truth about our planet was essentially a mystery. Today, there are scientists who are solving unimaginable puzzles, and people such as Galileo and Copernicus were the equivalence for their time.
One aspect of this visit in particular that stuck out to me was something that our tour guide, Dr. Palmeri mentioned:
“When you find a place where you can see the Milky Way, you can see why they were so pre-occupied with it.”
From experience regarding these views, she is absolutely right. Even in the cities with the lowest populations, we are lucky if we get to see a handful of stars, because the brightness and bustle of our sleepless world is distracting from it. In my experiences in the few places that offer a view of the Milky Way, I have been overwhelmed by what is going on above me. It is so immense and vast that my eyes are unable to focus on the entire image, rather I have to put it together piece by piece to even attempt to make sense of it.
In Galileo’s time, there wasn’t electricity, neon lights, football stadiums, or sky-scrapers to blind them from the rest of the universe. We as humans have created a literal and figurative wall between us and something that is infinitely bigger than our existence. A wall of such great magnitude that we have to search for the few places left on this earth, uninhabited, that we can go to view what we can of the universe with our naked eyes.
When you experience this sight, and really experience it, you can understand as best you can why people like Galileo devoted their entire lives to pursing an answer. He was successful because he wanted to know more and he wanted to make sense of something that did not have a clear enough answer to him.
It makes me wonder if we didn’t live this way, isolated and separate from what’s beyond the blue, would our civilization be different? Wouldn’t we be more curious and sleepless over the unanswered questions that still exist? Maybe we can learn more from Galileo that just what he saw through his telescope.

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I have found my happy place here at OU. I am sure that it will look the same in twenty years because I am sure that it hasn’t changed in the last twenty years. The fourth floor of the Bizell Memorial Library, the south side facing the south oval. There are six slim windows that pour in the mid afternoon light onto the two study tables. The shadows move across the tables and chairs in shifting geometric shapes the longer I stay. The chairs are barely held together and shake every time I shift positions. The wooden tables give off a mid 70’s feel and it smells of old books and musty air. Despite the aged carpet, and tearing fabric on the chairs, there is a unique charm. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s usually empty or I feel like I’ve transported to a different place in time at OU. Whatever the vibe, it is prevalent and in a way, comforting. The little corner I frequent isn’t necessarily special or appealing to the eye, rather it is quiet and open. It somehow reverses the effects that mundane schoolwork seems to have on me. To a point to which I almost don’t mind or even enjoy it. This is where I now come on a daily basis. I don’t want to share it or invite others because I don’t want to “decrease the peace”. I cherish this 4th floor: the windows, the views, the light, the smell, the outdated furniture, the “vibe”, it’s a good place.

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