From the Infinite to the Infinitesimal

What the stars can teach us about life.

den-belitsky/Adobe Stock

My sister’s son, my nephew Joseph, died on April 10, at 36. At his funeral ceremony, I learned from his sister that every year on his birthday he went to the Hayden Planetarium in New York. I hadn’t realized that it was a passion we shared. It would have been great to do it together. In 2002, I wrote a piece about it, which I would like to share here, in Joey’s honor.

From the Infinite to the Infinitesimal:
What the Stars Can Teach Us about Life

Humans like to take the measure of things, and sometimes it saves a great deal of time to measure space. The other day two deliverymen were moving a refrigerator into my smallish kitchen. I offered them the tape measure several times, but they looked at it with disdain, preferring to eyeball the situation and muscle the refrigerator through. After taking several gouges out of the woodwork, they soon discovered what the tape measure would have told them: door number one would not admit the fridge.

Measuring the galaxy and beyond, however, far exceeds the capacity even of my Stanley Fat Max industrial-grade tape measure. To take the measure of the cosmos,…