The day that I lost my funding for my solar observation project was the same day I first noticed that the universe had begun to contract.
The director of the observatory, Dr. Patricia Remini, came into my office herself to break the news to me about my National Science Foundation application. The letter from Washington, D.C., had finally crossed the Pacific to Hawaii, and the news was not good.
“They said that your proposal just wasn’t significant enough to warrant funding, especially given all the cutbacks in science. I’m sorry.”
I sat there for a minute, just staring into space. It was difficult for me to accept that this was happening.
“Look, Jack,” she continued. “The observatory can still afford to pay your way for at least another year. You’re doing fine work on classifying new binaries with that team from Georgia State, and you’re good with the graduate students.”
“What happens if I can’t come up with alternate funding for next year?” I asked.
“We’ll worry about that then. In the meantime, why don’t you forget about your own work for a while? Go home early; spend some time with your wife and kid. Or help out Daniel Kelly. What was that you got him working on?”
“Spectral analysis,” I replied. “He’s been practicing techniques by taking the spectra of galaxies. You know, checking the Hubble constant.”
She nodded. “Good. It’s especially important given the recent results from the Hubble Space Telescope. If the universe really is younger than we thought, perhaps you might find a clue in his data.”
She walked to the door, and then took one last look back at me. “You okay?”
“Oh, sure,” I said. “I’ll be fine.”
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