Thursday, June 25, 2009

IU Mini University, Day 5

It's hard to believe this week is almost over: Time flies when you're having fun and learning great things.

I had two stand-out classes today. One was "Religion and Sex in America," taught by Sylvester Johnson. We looked at three different religious groups with very different views of sex: the Shakers (no sex at all), the Oneida community (sexual freedom outside the confines of marriage) and the Mormons (regulated sex within polygamous marriages).

All three of these groups came to prominence in the mid-1800s, and all three groups were vilified (and sometimes physically attacked) for their views. No matter what you do, it seems, there will always be people who attack you for going outside the parameters of sex within a one man-one woman marriage. And here we are, 150 years later, still fighting the same kind of battle.

Another great class today was "Star Cities of the Milky Way," taught by astronomer Catherine Pilachowski. Our focus was globular clusters -- giant balls containing hundreds of thousands of stars. There are about 200 of these clusters in the Milky Way galaxy.

Fun fact of the day: There are two types of globular clusters. The "blue" clusters are older and probably were formed at the same time as their galaxies. The "red" clusters, on the other hand, are younger and probably were formed during galaxy-merger events.

So, now what? I have a class tomorrow morning on anti-Semitism in the works of Shakespeare. Then, it's time for the graduation ceremony (where someone --hopefully not me -- will win the green beanie award for most-enthusiastic freshman).

In the meantime, I don't think I can leave Bloomington without ordering some Mad Mushroom cheesy bread. That sounds like a pretty nutritious dinner to me!

No comments: