Week 3 – Core Friday Lecture – “The Pluto Files”

This week’s core Friday lecture was on “The Pluto Files”. It showed a video on why Neil Degrasse Tyson declared Pluto as “not” being a planet and the controversy it stirred up throughout the nation and other parts of the world. The video also showed us how Pluto was first discovered by a farmer in the U.S. who constructed his own telescope with pieces of farm material. This discovery made a mark in American history and that is one of the many reasons why the “degradation” of Pluto’s status became such a controversial issue.

This video allowed me to have a deeper understanding in why Pluto is and is not a planet. It made me wonder and two different voices played in my mind. A part of me agrees that Pluto is not a planet and another part of me thinks that Pluto is. Which is true? After spending a large amount of time contemplating between these voices, I have arrived to a conclusion that neither is right or wrong.

The part of me that agrees that Pluto should not be a planet says that context in science has always been changing as advancements in technology and human creativity continues to prevail. Take Galileo for example; his proposal about the Earth not being in the center of the universe sparked outrage throughout society of his time but in the end, his assumptions were correct. Another part of me insists on keeping Pluto as a planet in our solar system for tradition and the fact that there is a blurred understanding of what qualifies to be a planet since we lack the understanding of our solar system and the rest of the universe.

My questions: How do you think that controversy of Pluto now being a dwarf planet is related to historical events? Would you agree that history tends to repeat itself? Do you agree that is it important for one to challenge conventional wisdom and claim that Pluto is not a planet?

~Vivian Tran~


Week 2 – Core Friday Lecture – “Harmony of the Spheres”

The first key of the piano was struck. Its crystal clear note is followed by a wave of symphonic melody. Soon after, the first breath into the trumpet was blown. Its deep, vibrating sound waves transcends its physical gleaming beauty in the light. The tone sends sensations of emotions that overwhelm the audience. As I listen to the live music, the sound and quality is much more defined and clearer compared to listening to it through my speakers. The pitch and depth of the tune creates a powerful impact and succeeds in drawing out one’s emotions in response to the tone of the music.

Within this lecture, it has come to my attention that some people today, including myself at times, do not appreciate the beauty of live performances. We do not think about the talent one must hold to achieve such instrumental mastery. Some are too interested in auto tuned house music that is broadcasted on mainstream. Henrik Jul Hansen, the main lecturer of this Core Friday session, explained that music was associated with logic and that it was mostly improvised in contrast to today’s scripted musical arts and performances.

A thought has struck me while working on this assignment. By not improvising and utilizing one’s creativity to their fullest potential, the creation of new master pieces lacks spontaneity. By following a script a majority of the time, our inner drive to push forward and walk a different path slowly deteriorates. “Why work more than I have to?” one might state.

Now back on topic, music and other intangible traditions contribute to the drive that people have in finding out the origins of mankind. I think music stimulates the conscious and subconscious mind. A better way of viewing this is by comparing music to a catalyst in a chemical reaction. It enhances one’s imagination and perception also with syncing with their emotions.

My question: Without music, how do you think the world would be like today? Do you think imagination is equivalent to knowledge or more or less significant to knowledge? Comparing classical music to today’s hip-hop hits, what emotions or thoughts do you encounter when listening to music in each category?

~Vivian Tran~