Skip to content

Rock Icon Finishing School (RIFS) – Astronomy

October 4, 2010

Excerpted from our book On the Meaning of Adam Lambert

Previously: Intro, Architecture, Art History


Astronomy (Prof. J. Underwood and special guest). Why astronomy kicks astrology’s butt. This cosmic survey begins with questions about our own planetary system (“Is there life on Mars?)”, Milky Way galaxy and the space-time singularity in which we currently find ourselves. The second half of the course will probe the harmonics of Supermassive Black Holes, the ultraviolet frequencies of Starlight and whether Stardust glitters. We will visit ancient astrological sites (Stonehenge, Teotihuacan, Machu Picchu, Vezelay) and ascend to high elevations (Mauna Kea, Andes, Himalayas) to obtain crystal-clear, varied perspectives on the night sky. Air mattresses and down-filled silk quilts will be provided for optimal prone viewing positions, but participants must supply their own heat. During our stop in England, Prof. Brian May will lecture on interplanetary dust and astronomical themes in British rock music. Travel will be coordinated with Architecture and Art History.

Headmistress and Founder of RIFS Juneau Underwood is a writer, biomedical entrepreneur, Web innovator, globe-trotting adventuress, Zen/Torah mistress, garden designer, gastronome and former gay club diva. Professor Underwood infuses her instructing with the three S’s – Science, Sensuality and Spirituality. Prof. Underwood was reared in upstate New York and schooled in Switzerland, Tokyo, and Harvard, where she concentrated in physics and disco dancing. She has authored a renowned guidebook to Japan, written for national magazines and documentary films, and is a member of the Boston Brain Trust. Favorite pastimes include sword-play, the Japanese tea ceremony, jamming with her band and riding stallions. Prof. Underwood regularly commutes to a Parallel Universe as suburban wife and mother.

Guest professor Brian May is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen. As a guitarist he uses his home-built guitar, “Red Special“, and has composed hits such as “Keep Yourself Alive“, “Now I’m Here“, “Tie Your Mother Down“, “We Will Rock You“, “Who Wants to Live Forever“, “Hammer to Fall“, “Save Me“, “Fat Bottomed Girls“, “I Want It All” and “Too Much Love Will Kill You“. May earned a PhD in astrophysics in 2007 and is currently the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. (From Wikipedia)

Next: Biology

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Peggy Dixon permalink
    October 4, 2010 9:03 pm

    That beautiful Hubble Space Telescope picture is from the Eagle Nebula – they are called the Pillars of Creation and are where stars are being formed. Mind-blowing beauty. Just like Adam….

    • October 6, 2010 8:15 am

      Congratulations Peggy. You are correct! I am impressed by how knowledgeable our Salon readers are on a variety of topics! I’m going to have to raise the bar!! – J

      • Peggy permalink
        October 6, 2010 1:58 pm

        Ahh Juneau – so happy to have won. I love that picture. Astronomy is a hobby of mine and I actually did a year of it at University. If people don’t know about the images from the Hubble Telescope, I’d google it and have a look – very beautiful and very humbling. Like Adam…

  2. Annehedonia permalink
    October 4, 2010 11:11 pm

    Drat! I was just coming here to say “Pillars of Creation” from the Eagle Nebula courtesy of Hubble. (thnx to Google Image Search ;)) Otherwise, I would have said giant phallic clouds – and maybe that was also influenced just a tad by current thoughts of Adam. But it was worth it to see more images from the Hubble. Such wondrous inspiration! Oh, and these curricula descriptions are priceless! Loved them in the book. Love to read again!

  3. Peggy Dixon permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:16 am

    Hey Annehedonia…..giant phallic clouds…hmmm, that is an apt description no doubt. Aren’t they beautiful though? So amazing – I wish we were more advanced technologically and could really find out about the universe. I have this picture on my office wall – it came from a calendar filled with images from the Hubble. Every picture would blow your mind, but this one is a favourite. Maybe we should attend this school……..would be nice to meet you!

  4. Doris permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:14 am

    Is the astronomical image that of the Horsehead Galaxy? Hope so.


  5. annehedonia permalink
    October 5, 2010 3:11 pm

    Peggy ~ Yeah, I’d sign on for the Rock Icon Finishing School in a second. It would be a great place to meet! Hummm… I think I’m off to look at some more Hubble imagery. Slow day @ work. I’d forgotten how incredible that stuff is.

  6. Robin Cranston permalink
    October 11, 2010 1:27 pm

    The picture is of the Eagle Nebula – The Pillars of Creation.

  7. July 29, 2013 2:27 pm

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site
    is wonderful, as well as the content!


  1. Adam Lambert Daily Update – July 25, 2013 | On the Meaning of Adam Lambert

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: