Friday, March 2, 2018

Darius God and Ice Cream

Darius, God and Ice Cream
A sea of adults milled around at a late summer party. Sitting apart from the fray, a small form
with jet black curls bent over a tablet. He ignored the adults, tapping away on his computer. From the moment I saw him, I sensed he was unusual. When the party migrated outside I decided to sit with him. With one or two questions I learned his story. 

He told me he was named Darius "after the great Persian King Darius" asking if I heard of King Darius. Though I had heard of King Darius, young Darius filled in arcane information. I noticed the image of the Milky Way on his tablet. I thought, that's an unusual image for an 8 year old child. But I would soon learn this was normal for Darius. Especially when he showed me the general location of our solar system in what he called "the Interstellar Cloud." I was hooked.

Every day when he comes home from school he watches the Science Channel. It's his favorite thing on TV. His vocabulary is off the charts. Precocious barely begins to describe his self awareness. I learned MIT is already recruiting him and as he told me, he's visited their campus and is taking online astrophysics classes. CNN was on in the background with weather staff talking about the 2017 hurricane season and what was in store for 2018. Listening, Darius corrected the meteorologists' descriptions of the storm, explaining to me the "coefficient of
wave energy in shallow and deep water." Not satisfied with that explanation, he then tied it to Einstein's theory of relativity.

At that point, my interest in this kid went super-nova. I decided if Darius could talk about science the way he was, I'd ask this evolving genius his thoughts on other subjects, like Quantum Physics, the birth of the Universe, matter and non-matter. And so our afternoon conversation began.

"Darius, how did the Universe come into being?" He swatted the answer quickly. "If you're asking me if God created the universe I don't believe in a God. There's absolutely no proof for such a concept. My mom says I should have Faith but that also proves nothing." I returned to the question. "Ok, so how did it originate?" He went into a lengthy explanation about the density of the largest Black Hole in existence which was at the center of all the known galaxies. Making sure I was following him, he asked, "You do know nothing exists inside a Black Hole, right?" I assured him I did but wondered if he would define a Black Hole as a void? 
He answered, "No! It's simply density." He would return to that word "density" often during our conversation.

I persisted in a reasoned line of questioning as I didn't want him to veer off into astrophysics leaving me in the dust. "Look out the window, Darius. Is that tree real?" He looked at it thoughtfully for a while, then said "It's a dense energy field." I agreed, then suggested he peel back the bark and examine it at it's cellular level. "Yes, different levels of density," he replied.

Then I asked him to take it to its quantum level, that of a wave or a particle. "Very cool" he replied, asking how I knew about Quantum Physics.  My stock was rising I imagined.  "Is the tree real?" I asked. "To a degree. It's got density." he said. We continued the discussion at the Quantum level. I asked him, "What if we dissolved everything we could see out the window to the smallest sub-atomic level, like a quark, how did that come into existence?" As his extraordinary brain grappled with that question, he sat quietly for a while. After several minutes staring out the window he said in a most authoritative manner, "There was no beginning!"

Satisfied with that answer the little boy in him asked, "You want to get some ice-cream?" I on the other hand, continue to be enthralled with the answer "There was no beginning!"
                                                                                           Jo Mooy - March 2018