On Friday night I realised I'm possibly a bit of a freak. I attended an astrophysics lecture at Swinburne University on gravitational lensing. Now, this in itself isn't particularly freaky, depending on how you like to spend your Friday nights. (After the lecture I proceeded to a bar, met with beings called "friends" and swilled a sparkly clear substance. I hear this is considered normal behaviour for 25-year-old girls. I'm still looking in to this.)
The lecture was given by a professor from Caltech, a rather serious-looking gentleman who, upon rising and opening his mouth, gave one of the most enrapturing lectures I have ever heard. I'm not well versed in astrophysics at all. My research so far has consisted of looking at pictures like this and saying, "Ooh, galaxies. Pretty" and having very little idea about what was going on in them:
Can you see those lines of light in the image, and the way some things look stretched? Gravitational lensing explains why that is, and if you're looking for an explanation you can find one here. I won't attempt to explain it myself. I got the gist of it, but the gist hardly does something like this justice.
About halfway through the lecture I was dimly aware of a warm sensation in my chest. The tingly sensation persisted when I left the lecture theatre and boarded a train. I wasn't paying it much attention as I was busy pondering this RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME phenomena that was TOTALLY NEW TO ME and wondering how I could incorporate it into an idea I have for a sci-fi novel.
I drifted around inside my head for a while longer and then became aware of what my body was doing. Hello, what is this? Why the warm and fuzzies? There was something familiar about this sensation, but I couldn't put my finger on it at first. It was a little like excitement, a little like the apprehension you get when you're stand on the edge of a very high place, and a lot like the sensation you get from drinking the aforesaid sparkly clear substance.
Then I realised what it was.
It's the same sensation I get when I'm FALLING IN LOVE.
There. I told you I'm a freak. I've always loved learning, but really, what the frack?! The psych major in me wants to give myself an fMRI scan and see which bits light up when I read something cool about, I don't know, quarks or something, and the bits that light up when I think about...OK, I don't have a boyfriend right now, but if I did and thought about him I bet the areas would be THE SAME.
I'm reading The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow right now and if things continue as they are I'll probably end up proposing to my paperback copy by page 176.*
What about you? Have you ever had an extreme emotional response to something unexpected?
*Note: I have since finished said book. I do NOT feel the urge to marry it. I very much feel the need to splutter at it wildly saying things like "For laypeople my ARSE." Review shortly.