Doug and I were lucky enough to meet Randall Monroe when he came to speak at Christopher Newport University (his alma mater). He seemed genuinely shocked to have fans. His creative commons comic XKCD is a staple in our family.
This cartoon means a lot to me and I think speaks volumes about who I am as a person (although I do not consider myself a scientist...I consider myself plagued by curiosity).
When I was a young girl, my mother bought an encyclopedia set for our house. She had to buy it section by section (it came through the mail). But when it was complete, it wasn't unusual for things to be settled at the dinner table by pulling out either the blue world books or the massive dictionary that had it's own pedestal in the study.
I have a clear image of questions about pimentos popping up at dinner and my mother's shock and amusement to learn they were peppers. If you never think about where those little jarred things come from, you never have to pull out the world book at the dinner table.
I like being a curious person. However, it has taken me many years to understand that not everyone is curious and not everyone finds curiosity enduring. People who are motivated purely by the joy and novelty of discovery
Being curious in the Covid-19 age is a double edged sword. On the one hand, I find it fascinating from a mathematical and sociological perspective.
On the other hand, I'm terrified and scared for my life, my country, and my ideals,
With that in mind, I try to function in my job and in my life in accordance to a religious principle I developed very early on. Being raised a Universalist Unitarian, one of my church school assignments was to come up with how I thought souls got into heaven. Even as a young human, I decided that once I die, all the barriers to remembering what I learned on earth will be removed. If I've learned enough, I pass on to the next realm. If I haven't learned enough, I'm reincarnated and have to learn the next round.
Funny, I never thought that it would be a specific quantity of knowledge. The golden ticket into heaven was "did you learn all that you could?"
I hope that I have.