Friday, January 29, 2010

Worldwide News

By Warren Sparrow

Your international correspondent did make it to Manhattan, KS, for the December 2009 graduation of our granddaughter Lydia Peele from Kansas State U. A good time was had by all. Graduation was held in what ESPN is now calling the Octagon of Doom. We were proud of Lydia who was a speaker at the graduation. If you have not seen your grandchild on a jumbotron, you have not lived.

The first attachment is a photo of Lydia (whom we call Little Lydia) and her grandfather and grandmother (Big Lydia)in the concourse of the Octagon of Doom shortly after graduation.

The second photo is our gang at the entrance to KSU.

Finally, we have a Kansas windmill. This is an appropriate photo. Windmills are associated with the Dutch. Little Lydia's great, great grandfather is Willem de Sitter, a Dutch astronomer. He toured the US with Einstein, taught Old Albert the universe was expanding. Look it up. You might be surprised.

Wow!  I did look it up...and I'm impressed. Willem de Sitter came from a long line of Sitters going all the way back to the invention of the wooden shoe. 
 Smart alec remarks aside, Willem was a remarkable man:   -Ed

Willem de Sitter (6 May 1872 – 20 November 1934) was a Dutch mathematician, physicist and astronomer.
Born in Sneek, De Sitter studied mathematics at the University of Groningen and then joined the Groningen astronomical laboratory. He worked at the Cape Observatory in South Africa (1897-1899). Then, in 1908, de Sitter was appointed to the chair of astronomy at Leiden University. He was director of the Leiden Observatory from 1919 until his death.
De Sitter made major contributions to the field of physical cosmology. He co-authored a paper with Albert Einstein in 1932 in which they argued that there might be large amounts of matter which do not emit light, now commonly referred to as dark matter. He also came up with the concept of the de Sitter space and de Sitter universe, a solution for Einstein's general relativity in which there is no matter and a positive cosmological constant. This results in an exponentially expanding, empty universe. De Sitter was also famous for his research on the planet Jupiter.