It’s strange to think that anyone would doubt that the universe exists or that it matters, but people do both, prompting Fr. Stanley Jaki to write a whole book called, Is There a Universe? Of course there is!
For starters, the purpose of this blog is to support my science students who will, for the (locally abbreviated) semester starting in September 2009, be studying the weather, otherwise known as the science of meteorology. (Meteorology is not about meteors, unless you consider raindrops meteors.)
Some of the resources we will be using are as follows:
First and foremost, get outside your own self and just look. If you look around, you will see something. Don’t begin by calling the weatherman, listening to the radio or TV, or even reading the weather report in the paper. I’ll be having more to say about what kinds of things you might see and what they might mean, as time goes on. I’ll even give you sheets to record your observations, schoolmarm that I am. But if you don’t look, then it’s no fun; everything is going to be second-hand. This is about the weather you live in. Go take a look.
Second, Eric Sloane is just wonderful. He was a great landscape painter and then a skyscape and cloudscape painter. He has several books on weather and on drawing clouds and all of his work is rich with the freshness of personal and insightful observation. I have collected his Weather Book, Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather, Skies and the Artist, How to Draw Clouds, and some others. Our local art teacher has promised to teach cloud and landscape drawing this semester, bless her heart!
Third, John A. Day has a book called The Book of Clouds and a website at www.cloudman.com . For photographs of clouds, he is perhaps the best, at any rate the most comprehensive and longstanding. He has certainly put his life and his travels into cloud photography, though you’ll find plenty of other photographs out there, of course. Be sure to share what you find most engaging.
Fourth, I have Jack Williams’ The Weather Book, which is fairly systematic, comprehensive, and up-to-date. Williams is the weather columnist for USA Today, and he covers the topic of weather from the perspective of that responsibility – lots of graphics and diagrams that are fairly clear and usually helpful, though none so graceful as Sloane’s work. Williams also includes a fair amount of politically correct stuff about women in meteorology and how delicate the ecosystem really is. These considerations are not our topic, but of course they come up.
As we go through the semester, however, I will be critiquing Williams’ book, chapter by chapter, because that gives the class a sense of direction and a guarantee that I will cover all the fundamental topics over the next 12 weeks.
I will mention other resources as they come up. I recommend that the older students get Williams’ book, and that everyone get something by Sloane. Ana plans to have several of Sloane’s art books on hand for your study.
Begin today. Go outside and look up.