Children participating in Mathews Memorial Library’s summer youth program “Science Matters” had a special treat on Tuesday—a visit by Dr. Paul Vanden Bout of Mathews, retired director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Vanden Bout discussed everything from the history of astronomical discoveries to black holes, then gave the large group of mostly rapt youngsters a chance to ask questions about whatever galactic matters they chose. He explained the reasons that ancient thinkers made assumptions about the physical world that later proved to be wrong.
“They weren’t stupid,” said Vanden Bout. “They were really smart. They explained things by what they saw.”
Because the Earth was big and solid, he said, the initial assumption was that it was the center of the universe. But as discoveries were made, knowledge was gained, and science progressed.
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