I'm not sure when this interest first began, but I find it to be the most defining interest I have. The title of this entry, "The Place in Which We Live," is meant to be taken very broadly. It is not constrained to merely a city, state or country, it expands even beyond the reaches of the Earth itself. But to say I have an interest in the Universe is perhaps not quite a correct fit. So please allow me to better explain by starting as far back as I can. As a child, I was enamored, as most children are, with dinosaurs. Massive beasts which roamed the land and then, quite suddenly, disappeared. They left us only their fossils, bones which over the intervening millennia became rock. Paleontologists would piece together their remains and describe to us a world millions of years before our own. This really got me. It was a way to discover the past. I wanted to be one.
I imagine that for most kids in the late 80s and early 90s that the name Alvin brought up images of a singing chipmunk. I would have thought of a submarine. I remember reading in an old National Geographic of the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic, by a tiny submarine deep under the Atlantic. I also read of black smokers and tubeworms and blind crabs that scurried about the ocean floor, it was a strange world so deep down. I wanted my own submarine so I could explore the final mysteries of our planet.
I had yet another interest though, and it hung above us. The sky was filled with stars, specks of light that flickered in the evening. I watched NOVA quite a bit as a child, still do, and the name was not lost on me. I don't remember the Hubble being launched, but I do remember that I was upset that its optics were flawed. I read countless books on astronomy, details of the lives of stars, speculation on the origin of the moon, Comets and the Kuiper belt, they all held my attention. A telescope and an open sky were what I wanted.
So my interest in "The Place in Which We Live" extends to the heavens as well as the depths. And I still keep an ear out for the latest discoveries about the past, as the place is not just a spacial location, but a historical one as well. My interest is Science, the only method we have for coming to a better understanding of the world around us, and behind us.