Monday, May 28

The Amazing Talent of Bob Evans

Bob Evans - Supernovae finder extraordinaire
By Grant Davies


Some people have amazing talents that most of us could never image. Bob Evans is one of those people.

I love sausage. And lots of sausage lovers have heard of Bob Evans in regard to making tasty breakfast sausage. But that's not the same Bob as the Bob in today's story.

Our Bob is a retired Minister. He is semi-famous in some circles in Australia for doing serious research and writing books about the history of evangelical revivals.

Even though this is a history blog (kinda), we don't usually write about historical stuff quite that exciting here. Bob's talent for that endeavor is not the one I'm about to amaze you with.

Bob's hobby is finding Supernovae, and he's really, really good at it. Better than anyone else who has ever tried it, so they say. He finds them by looking through backyard telescopes from the small deck of his house in a town not far outside of Sydney, Australia. Other than his telescope his only other tool seems to be his amazing talent for remembering where all those dots in the sky are and noticing when a new dot appears where there wasn't one before. Just in case you aren't as amazed as I am about Bob's amazing memory of where the dots were,  I'll explain.

According to Bill Bryson in his book "A Short History of Nearly Everything" it's explained this way:

(Paraphrased) "imagine a standard dining room table covered with a black tablecloth and someone throwing a handful of salt across it. Think of the salt grains as a galaxy. Now, imagine 1500 more tables like that, each table with random salt tosses, enough to fill the parking lot at Walmart. Now add one grain of salt to any table and let Bob walk among them. At a glance he will spot it."

Now that is amazing! I betcha you can't do that. I can't even remember if I had Bob Evans sausage for breakfast.

To celebrate Bob's amazing talent, drop down to the Star Gazers Lounge and have the Super-duper Supernova Martini. But if you see Bob there and you introduce yourself, don't expect him to remember your name if you meet him again. He says he's not very good at remembering names and his wife says he can't remember where he's put things.

Amazing.

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