Cornell University's accreditation should be called into question for having offered a course called “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos. I cannot begin to put into works how vacuous this is. One would compare it to the region inside the Schwarzschild radius of a Black Hole except that contains a lot of mass and energy. The only conceivable excuse for this would be if woke students somehow got the idea that astronomy was “colonial” or based on White supremacy.
Just for starters, I would point to the high likelihood that it is called a Black hole due to the last name of the scientist who first solved Einstein’s Field equations to obtain an exact solution to them. Karl Schwarzschild’s last name means “Black Shield”. They are probably just named after the person who did the mathematics to figure out that they were a thing. Only by being a big university can you get away with something as absurd as this.
“Theorists use astronomy concepts like “black holes” & “event horizons” to interpret history of race in creative ways.” - Cornell— Eric (@EricsElectrons) June 22, 2021
In other words, ideologically corrupted social theorists are hijacking astrophysics to misinterpret history by using unfalsifiable social theories. pic.twitter.com/QMogu2nmuJ
Schwarzschild solved Einstein’s equations a set of 16 coupled hyperbolic-elliptic partial differential equations. He did so by making the simplifying assumption that the source of the gravitational field was a stationary nonrotating spherical object. In so doing he was able to simplify the equations greatly and obtain the first exact solution. He did this during world war I while being a soldier on the Russian front in that war. He died due to an autoimmune disease. While he had that disease and was suffering, while fighting a war he did that. The man is a hero of all humanity.
Yes, Laplace and Michell had derived the Schwarzschild radius formula earlier, but they did it based on Newtonian physics, and it was thought to be a curiosity. Only he realized the significance. At the time it caused Einstein to say it cannot be right. As Einstein put it “Nature cannot be as strange as my theory”
A point by point response.
Conventional wisdom would have it that the "black" in black holes has nothing to do with race. Surely there can be no connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness. Can there?
There is not see above the terms Black Hole, or Dark Matter have nothing to do with race and everything to do with how things interact with light (broadly meaning any EM radiation). A Black Hole would not even be “black if you got close to it. They tend to bend all the light around them in such a way that they have a glow from that light that did not get close enough to fall in.
Contemporary Black Studies theorists, artists, fiction writers implicitly and explicitly posit just such a connection. Theorists use astronomy concepts like "black holes" and "event horizons" to interpret the history of race in creative ways, while artists and musicians conjure blackness through cosmological themes and images.
This sounds like a perfectly legitimate description for a performance art class in which Black people who are not astronomers or astrophysicist would draw inspiration from the use of our word in a positive way. Black holes big and powerful. Dark matter and Dark energy 95% of everything shaping everything. I would not find that too objectionable if it were not billed as being an astronomy class.
Co-taught by professors in Comparative Literature and Astronomy, this course will introduce students to the fundamentals of astronomy concepts through readings in Black Studies.
Texts may include works by theorists like Michelle Wright and Denise Ferreira da Silva, authors like Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson, music by Sun Ra, Outkast and Janelle Monáe.
Theorist an English professor, an art professor, a science fiction writer, and another artist and a jazz musician. . Taught by a performing and media arts professor and finally one astronomer. Nothing inherently wrong with learning the works of all the above people. Without words we cannot speak, with out art we cannot express. Indeed, words and symbols evolved from the artistic expression of ideas with pictograms which eventually became the western alphabet and to this day are still ideograms in much of Asia. Music can speak to the soul.
Much respect to all the above.
None of that is astronomy though.
Outkast…. A band which culturally appropriated plains American Indian culture, a mimicry thereof, for one of their most popular songs? Really?
The right way to promote Black scientist would be to hire me.
There is a much MUCH simpler way to promote woke “communist” pro black and transgender ideology at your school. Give me a tenure tracked position where I will teach a rigorous observational and appropriately mathematical intro astronomy class, as well as any area of theoretical physics/ astrophysics that you see fit. My “pronouns” with students are prof/professor/professor and with faculty they are hey/you/coffee. This way you would not have to engage with anything like this, you would get someone already working on a major science project (LISA) and demonstrate some real diversity. Like for starters I would have been there to really tell you how awful and somewhat offensive of an idea this is before you did it.
My point is not to look for job but to state that the way to promote Black scientist is to just hire Black scientist, then evaluate their work on its merit.
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