Canton and Dad ventured to JMU the other evening to hear Dr. Hammels, an astrophysicist, speak about Pluto and whether or not it should be classified as a planet. Although this was a science lecture and not really aimed at young kids, this was right up Canton’s alley! Canton had no problem answering questions in a several-hundred seat lecture hall and proclaimed “a planet needs a lot of mass to be a real planet”. Our less-than-bashful son also corrected another audience member’s claim that a planet needs to have a solid surface to be a real planet by responding “Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface and its a planet!”.
Toward the end of the lecture, there was a question and answer session. Canton really wanted to ask a question and had no problem walking up to the microphone set up for adults. He was several feet below the mic but yelled out his question anyways! He asked Dr. Hammels “what planet is bigger than Jupiter?”. She came down off stage and explained there are planets in other solar systems that are bigger than Jupiter which Canton replied “oh, you mean exoplanets”. Everyone seemed to appreciate his knowledge 🙂
After the lecture was over, the few kids in the audience helped make a scale model of the solar system. Canton got to be Mars and held his red ball for everyone to see. Once that was over, he got to see his buddy and JMU planetarium director Dr. Virani. Dr. Virani told his group of JMU students to watch out for this kid, because he already knows more than most of you. His students laughed at this but he then corrected them saying “no, I am serious. He knows more about space than most of you!”. Hopefully we can keep Canton’s head back on Earth 🙂 Dr. Virani even invited Canton to JMU space camp this summer as well. Its normally for 4th grade and up but Dr. Virani said he will do just fine! It sound be a fun upcoming summer!