Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Brother, The Samurai Star Warrior

My new friend Judith, who is Grace, the artist's, sister-in-law, and who has the blog entitled "Eternity II" on my blogroll, sent me a link to the Astronomy Picture of the Day (see my Links). Every day, you get to see a new picture of some awesome space vista. How cool is that?

The site got me thinking about my late brother, David. He was inspired to be a scientist by my father, not because Dad was a scientist, but because Dad would take us kids out to the yard at night to look at the stars. Dad would tell us about the vast distances between planets and the sun, and the immense age of the starlights we were seeing (he had to explain "lightyears" first.)

David was a genius who built a laser in the physics department of his undergraduate school back when almost no one had even heard the word "laser." He had his pick of graduate schools and chose one that had a rep for hot chicks (I did mention he was smart, right?). He found the one hot chick on the planet who could live with him. She was as strong-willed as he was and very close to his intellectual equal.

My brother went on to become a physicist specializing in laser optics. He was a weapons consultant to the government, in other words, a Star Warrior. That was his day job. He also excelled in martial arts and had his own school where he taught bushido, Japanese sword fighting.

In his later years he was thinking about going back to school to get his Ph.D. -- not because he needed one for his job, but because he had never gotten around to doing that due to the demand for people of his expertise during the Cold War. His wife said he had finally decided to get his Ph.D. in astronomy because that was the "easiest." But, it was not to be. He had a quadruple heart bypass at age 40 and died at 49. Whenever I see pictures like the ones on Astronomy Picture of the Day, I think of him and I am grateful to have known him. The main thing people said at his memorial service was that his star shone brightly.

Thank you, Judy, for sending me this link; I'll enjoy it every day.