astronomy paper - Brian O'Connell Student ID: 2451575...

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Brian O’Connell Student ID: 2451575 Astronomy’s Darwin Challenged Professor David West awoke startled, to his full blast cell phone alarm at exactly 7:00 AM, quickly snatching the phone to silence the screeching. Such a miserable wake- up call reminded him of those Tuesday and Friday mornings of his first years at Northwestern so long ago. Recently, however, the throbbing headaches and pained eyes before a cup of coffee came up more and more often. This particular morning, he lifted himself off his cot just a few feet from his closest companion, the Dearborn telescope, and opened up his second closest companion, his laptop. The lone light in the pitch-black observatory, it took West’s struggling eyes a solid half a minute to distinguish the letters of his newly received e-mails. With so much hard work in the past months, it had become a custom for West to ignore most of communication he received from his peers and associated institutions. Upon looking over his inbox, however, the two most recent messages caught his eye. The first was marked as an urgent reminder from the National Science Foundation. Addressed to the top minds of astronomy of the world, it served to tell these greats to take note of the foundation’s deadline for West’s coveted Draper Grant. The grant, given once every decade, promised the top mind in the field $30 million over the next ten years and would secure the winner’s place in astronomy history. West’s palms sweated and throat tensed up as he contemplated the massive effort he had put in over the last decade for this one prize that drew so near. The next e-mail brought a similar state of apprehension to the normally stoic West. It had been forwarded from an old friend currently working for NASA. The e- mail was a copy of a NASA article written that morning. After a quick read, all West
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could think was that he knew it was coming. The article detailed West’s former pupil but long-time rival Chris Martin’s recent discoveries and conclusions based on his work with NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer. His top competitor for the grant, Cal Tech’s Martin would be sure to come up with an eye catching and school of thought-altering conclusion. Martin used a portfolio of tens of thousands of galaxies to study the life cycles of the universe’s galaxies. Using ultraviolet light and billions of years’ worth of evidence, he saw what he concluded to be galaxies which were in the middle of a transition from spiral to elliptical. He labels these galaxies “teenage” and stated that they were undergoing the
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astronomy paper - Brian O'Connell Student ID: 2451575...

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