Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Haley Reading Group: “The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth”

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2017)]

Chris Jones's article “The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth” walks readers through the journey of a scientist, Sara Seager, who might discover another world habitable for humans. The article follows the scientist as she overcomes a tragic loss and rediscovers her zest for her academic work and personal life.

Jones writes that Seager contemplated abandoning her job and work after the loss of her husband but persisted with the help of her colleagues (249). Because of that, she went on to further her work and discover several planets.

What were you most interested in concerning the article -- Seager's perseverance or astrophysics? Why?

56 comments:

Youssef Hassan said...

After reading this article, i really admired Sara's perseverance. But i was very interested in the astrophysics. I really enjoyed reading about how scientists can use certain telescopes to determine if there are any exoplanets. I also enjoyed how the article mentioned aliens and how they talked about one possible reason why they wont be seen.

Crystal Rice said...

I was most interested in Seager's perseverance. One thing she said was, "If I want the starshade to succeed, I have to help mastermind it," (246). That statement was so strong to me because it's true; if you want something to happen, you have to be the main force behind it and put in the work for it to happen. Then in the article it said after her husband's death she thought about leaving her work. She was very remorseful for pushing aside the years she had with her husband being so tied up with work. But she eventually realized she "always found comfort and even solace in her work...In her mourning, each discovery represented one more avenue of escape," (250). She redirected her mourning to doing something that made her happy which helped her clear her mind and pursue her goal.

Crystal Rice

Crystal Rice said...

I was most interested in Seager's perseverance. One thing she said was, "If I want the starshade to succeed, I have to help mastermind it," (246). That statement was so strong to me because it's true; if you want something to happen, you have to be the main force behind it and put in the work for it to happen. Then in the article it said after her husband's death she thought about leaving her work. She was very remorseful for pushing aside the years she had with her husband being so tied up with work. But she eventually realized she "always found comfort and even solace in her work...In her mourning, each discovery represented one more avenue of escape," (250). She redirected her mourning to doing something that made her happy which helped her clear her mind and pursue her goal.

Crystal Rice

Natasha said...

One quote that stuck out to me was the following: “I had all the years I called the lost years with Mike when I ignored him. We had little tiny kids. I was working all the time, exhausted all the time. But I was like: We’ll have money some day. We’ll have time some day" (p. 250).

I think this quote is very important and really highlights the great aspect of this article: Seager's perseverance. I like this quote because I think to some extent or another, we all go through these "lost years" and we need to accept this and realize it is simply part of life. Even the most successful people have had bad days or days where they feel hopeless. However, what makes them successful is looking beyond these bad times and have the determination and energy to surge forward and continue.

Natasha H.

Asher said...

Seager's perseverance to me is the most interesting and inspiring topic of the article. Women in STEM is always something that is needed and I think that Seager's drive to continue her research and realizing that maybe she didn't have it cut out for "home life" and just being "a mother" was something I'm sure a lot of women face. I think this quote from her article is truly inspiration and an epiphany for her, of some sorts, "She sat down at her kitchen table with her empty mug and began talking about hundreds of billions of galaxies and their hundreds of billions of stars" (251).


- Asher Denkyirah

DESMOND Armond CRUMER said...

Seager's perseverance interested me the most because the example of her spirit can be applied to all aspects of life. When talking about her husbands death and how it impacted her, instead of quitting she dove headfirst into her work and found comfort in it.(250) This is a great example for when life turns bad, we have to take time to mourn, then embrace the future and become successful from it.

Nia Piggott said...


I truly admired the perseverance Seager showed throughout her life. She continued to strive at anything she did. I found her story to be inspiring because she not only overcame her awkward stage of feeling alone and out of place, but she also continued to live her dreams after losing her first husband. Throughout the article, she showed her passion for astrophysics and finding herself. I enjoyed learning about her life and her journey to overcome the struggles she faced.

Kaelyn Blunt said...

After reading this, it did make me more interested in astrophysics. I have always been a little but interested in it. But to me the best part of this was her perseverance. It is so easy to give up on something as difficult as it is and still be honored for even trying. However, to push through that and have as much grit as she did is "out of this world" as they say. it's just amazing to see someone pursue their passion after hardships like that.

Ivyanne B. said...

After reading this article it made me a lot more interested in the astrophysics side. I loved her perseverance and that she continued to do what she loved but I find the astrophysics and the work she is doing to try and find another earth is fascinating. "The star shade is a way to block the light from our theoretical twin's sun....."(pg.245). I think that being able to help design and come up with something to find life on another plant is so surreal. That there are people out there that look up into the sky and wonder what else is out there and actually try and find out.
-Ivyanne B.

Brandy Collier said...

After reading the article I was more interested in Seager's perseverance. I thought it was very brave of her to continue on with her work and not completely shut down after her husband died. It is hard, after losing someone, to want to continue to do anything especially things you love but she found the strength to do so and I think that is incredibly inspiring. It is also very interesting that she was into astrophysics because there aren't many women talked about in science related fields and it is very important that they are.

-Brandy Collier

Mackebnzie Cohoon said...

What I found most interesting was Seager's perseverance. What stuck out to me in particular was the part where it states that Seager tried to make coffee but "she left out part of the machine, and after some terrible noises the pot was bone-dry" (251). This stuck out to me because this was a woman who had done extraordinary things, yet she still struggled to do things that would be no problem to the average person, but in no way did this bother her or keep her from moving forward in life.

-Mackenzie Cohoon

Jada Baker said...

Although, I do admire Sara Seager's perseverance while reading the article i found myself being interested in the astrophysics discussed! On page 243, the article talks about how far away everything in space is. I find this to be interesting because as we look up at the sky every night we see stars that are 50 millions years away! This is crazy to me because normally if we see something its usually close enough for us to travel to.

Adejoke Adanri said...

The thing that stuck out to me the most was Seager’s self-acceptance from when she was young. On page 246 where she states “ever since I was a child, there was just something different about me that wasn’t quite like the others,”. I think her self-actualization early on is what lead her to discover her passion for astrophysics and to overcome the hardships she faced.

Aleeya Barrolle said...

What was the most interesting concerning Seager's perseverance was all of the responsibilities she had. " She has been leading proponent of the starshade project, and outside her teaching, it is one of her principal professional concerns" (245).

-Aleeya B.

Devin Ellis-Martin said...

The entirety of the article was very interesting, however, I found the astrophysics portion more interesting. I have always been very interested in Science, so it is nice to hear about certain feats or different and new technology. The telescopes used peaked my attention the most.

-Devin Ellis-Martin

Kalonji Rumph said...

Although I found Seager's perseverance inspiring, I've heard many inspiring stories of perseverance. Part of the reason why I've always enjoyed science is that its universal purpose is to find objective truths of our reality. Something about the prospect of making the unknown known really does intrigue me. Astrophysics applies the laws of physics as well as chemistry to discover how the universe works, explain how it began and evolved, and discover new life on new planets and other stars. Seager's work in analyzing these "exoplanets" to finally answer the question, "are we alone?", is what most interested me.

Anonymous said...

What I liked the most was Seager's perseverance because it talks about how if you want something you have to actually work for it one quote that stuck out to me on page 246 said,"If I want the starshade to succeed, I have to help mastermind it." That is so true to me, nobody is going to help you do what needs to be done you have to take it and do it yourself.


Tara Thompson

Alliyah M. said...

After reading the article, I was more interested in Seager's astrophysics. On page 244, Jones stated "Extrapolating the math, NASA scientists now believe that there are tens of billions of potentially life-sustaining planets in the Milky Way alone."

I have always find the possibilities of other life existing in the universe very interesting. There are many doubts about the existence of other life since we don't have any proof but in my opinion, the odds of other species existing on other planets is likely and technology, such as what Seager is creating, will only help discover more unknowns about the universe.

Kyla Tinsley said...

I found Seager's perseverance more interesting than astrophysics. She kept researching after her husband died, and found that working kept the pain away."In her mourning, each discovery represented one more avenue of escape. (250)" She did not give up and fall into despair - she instead strived for bigger and better things, which led her to her second husband and closer to discovering another Earth.

Kyla T.

Aliyah Johnson said...

One of the most interesting things about Seager's perseverance is that she has it although her tasks can seem almost impossible. The writer mentions the experience of finding a search for life outside of earth and says "the search for life is now where the search for exoplanets was 20 years ago...common sense suggests a presence that we can't confirm.(244 Jones). Seager responds "Everything brave has to start somewhere"(245).These two excerpts prove that although the search for life seemed nearly impossible, Seager chose to take on the task.

Jayla Pierce said...

The quote that stuck out to me was, “but maybe more than anything else, Seager understands in ways few of us do that sometimes you need darkness to see.” It made think of when people may ask, how can you know happiness without sadness? All the struggles and pain she went through made her who she is today. It go to show that even though life may seem unfair at the times of your darkest hours, there’s a brighter side afterwards. All that pain and the challenges you go through prepare you for other things in life.

Chidera Onyeizeh said...

I was interested in Seager’s abiltiy to continue on after her husband’s death. I relate on her she used what she loved doing as a way to cope with her pain. Which is something I take part in doing. I agree with her on when she talked about in order to have something done, lead it yourself.

Jeremiah Terrell said...

What were you most interested in concerning the article -- Seager's perseverance or astrophysics? Why?
I was very interested in Seager's perseverance because it would have been understandable for her to give up after her husband's death, being that he had saw something in her that nobody other than her father saw, he managed everything so that she could give all her focus to her job, and she had been friendless for most of her life so she didn't have anyone to grieve with.

J'kolbe Kelly said...

I found the Astrophysics part of this article the most interesting. I've always been interested in these types of topics and thought it was interesting to get into the head of an Astrophysicist. On page 241 the author states, "Astrophysicist are forever toggling between feelings of bigness and smallness, of hubris and humility, depending on whether they're looking out or within."

Kelsey McNeil said...

I was more interested in Seager's perseverance rather than the astrophysicist part. I found her story to be very interesting and her personal life is what made me like reading this article. Something that stood out to me was the quote "I wanted to make it up to him, and I never did" (250). This part stood out to me because it was when she was talking about quitting her job and leaving but she didn't. She kept going and doing what she loved even though the person she loved passed away. But since she kept going, she met a new love and continued her passion.

-Kelsey McNeil

Trevon Bosley said...

This story really interested me because I've always had a huge interest in space.Understanding the vastness of space had always sparked my curiosity so to read this story about Sara Seager has only sparked my interest even more. Even reading ,"there are people on Earth. There has to be other life somewhere out there."(252) spark my interest even more. With the galaxy being so immense there is a very likely chance of more life on other planets which is something I love learning about.

Anonymous said...

I am most interested in her perseverance. It is amazing to be that even after someone she loved died, she was still able to keep focus on her work. I admire her being able to deal with the hardship of losing her husband and continuing to do work that not everyone would praise her for immediately, but was work that will be meaningful in the long run.
-Marcus U

Kenisha Townsend said...

I found Seager's perseverance most interesting, because to lose someone you love is hard to go through. It would have been easy for her to give up, mourn, and throw away all she worked for. However, she pushed on. She did mourn, but in a different way. As mentioned in the text, "In her mourning, each discovery represented one more avenue of escape" (p.250). I found this quite intriguing as she found comfort in her work, and it helped her push through a tough time in her life.

Sierra Taylor said...

I've always been interested in astrophysics. In the beginning paragraph the text says, "Believing that you alone might answer the question 'Are we alone?' requires considerable ego. Astrophysicists are forever toggling between feelings of bigness and smallness, of hubris and humility, depending on whether they're looking out or within." I've always liked learning about stars and galaxies. It would be epic if we discovered that we are not alone.

Brandon Nichols said...

Astrophysics is a new word for me, but a familiar concept. I love everything about space. Planets, stars, black holes, dwarfs, exoplanets, you name it. The possibility that we can find another planet to live on excites me. We could start over and not repeat the mistakes we made on earth. In the book, NASA students reported that over 1,284 exoplanets were discovered. The possibility of a new home planet isn't so much of a stretch anymore.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting quote to me was "Kepler was searching, somewhat blindly, an impossibly small sliver of space, and it found a potentially habitable world more quickly than anyone might have guessed." (From online.. idk the page) The science behind it all is pretty great. The thought of Twin-Earth has always been a fantasy or thought experiment. While travel seems fo be our biggest issue (unless we want to good old cryogenic stasis or just send off a few generations, then it's a power issue), location. Of one of these planets seemed farfetched. We dont know for sure, but the fact that we are making a list of potentials because of our technology is pretty great in itself. This brings the philosophical question of "What do we owe to our planet?" even closer. We struggle to sustain it even now. If we had a way to get to another, "fresher" Earth, what becomes of this one?

Ash

Jasmin Smoot said...

Although remarkable, Seager's perseverance didn't stand out as much compared to the topic of astrophysics. I knew there was so much that goes into the research, but I've never really thought about everything that went into the subject. The author mentioned how many astrophysicists did not acknowledge the existence of exoplanets and now processes like radical velocity prove that these bodies exist by gravitational aftermath. It's amazing to think that some human or group came together to formulate such a process.

Stella N said...

I was more interested in the astrophysics in the article. I have barely heard about it so it was very interesting. I think about the possibility of other life and another earth sometimes so it was interesting to hear from someone who in that field. Her perseverance was also interesting though because it showed how you truly never have an excuse. Her husband died and she faced struggles but was able to continue her work.

Jazsmine Towner said...

I admired Seager's perseverance, because it took a lot of courage and determination for her to continue her career in astrophysics after her husband's passing. To explain, in order for her to continue pursue her research she had to have a lot of grit, she was dealing with a devastating loss and to overcome that, and still commit to your research is remarkable. One statement that stood out to me was, when she said “we’ll have some money some day, we’ll have some time some day”, that shows that she was never going to give up even after the passing of her husband which was a major setback. Her perseverance and resilience is what I admired the most.
-Jazsmine Towner

Tomika Collins said...

I was inspired by Seager's perseverance. After her husband died she continued on with her study of astrophysics. Until now I was unclear about what the subject actually contained. After reading the passage "there is life on Earth. There has to be other life somewhere out there." (pg 252). This definitely something I agree with. We can't possibly be the only lifeforms that exist.

gabby said...


Throughout this section of the novel, I think that Seager’s keen perseverance was very inspiring. Women in the field of STEM are very important and in high demand. I found a quote that in many ways highlights her great strength and push to always move forward. It says, “I had all the years I called the lost years with Mike when I ignored him. We had little tiny kids. I was working all the time, exhausted all the time. But I was like: We’ll have money some day. We’ll have time some day”. While this quote does not commend Seager’s great work in the field of STEM, it shows her effort to truly push and thrive through the hard and difficult times in her life. I think it is very important because we all have struggles that we need to learn, grow, and get through. Seager is a great inspiration and is someone who we can relate too.

Dayejah Coates said...

Seagar's perseverance was the most interesting to me because I know that it's very hard to overcome obstacles while simultaneously trying to further her career. Also, how she put her all into her job so much so that she became even better. Most people don't go as hard after taking a loss like that, but she did it.

Mike Dade said...

Although her perseverance was very impressive, I still found that the actual work she contributed and the astrophysics side of the things interested me more. There's something about space and everything that has to do with it that has fascinated me since I was young; that idea that there could be someone or something out there besides us is just so eerie and intriguing to me, so whenever I read articles related to that I eat it up.

Raillane Kamdem said...

What really stuck out to me during this article was Seager’s perseverance, the fact that she never gave up in order to achieve what she wanted to in life. Something that really resonated in the article with me is when she stated that she “had all the years called the lost years” with her husband mike in which she told herself that they’d “have money someday” they’d “be rich someday” (250). That really resonated with me because that’s the state of mind I’ve been in for a while in which I wouldn’t enjoy life because I was looking at the somedays and not someone’s looking at the present. That’s something I’m looking to change.

Ronnie Akpan said...

Overall, the concept of astrophysics interested me more than her perseverance. While her perseverance is abundant in this excerpt, this perseverance derives directly from her willingness to make breakthroughs in astrophysics, which is the main topic. This interest is also opinionated since science does interest me so the astrophysics part had me more excited than hearing about Seager.

Jordan R. said...

What felt to be the most interesting to me was Seager's perseverance, not necessarily for science, but as a mother. She worked hard to do things she wasn't familiar with after the death of her husband, and she did them to the best of her ability along with being an extraordinary astrophysicist.

Anonymous said...

What I found most interesting about the the “The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth” was that on page 243 the Swiss found a what the believe to be a planet based on a mathematical method which told that their must be a planet there based on the gravitational pull. Another thing I found interesting was on page 248 the section discusses widowhood. The woman in the section actually got together because their husbands were deceased to celebrate different times and occasions. At first glance it seems depressing but it makes since to surround yourself with people going through similar times as you to help you cope and get through it.

Tatyana C

Anonymous said...

The astrophysics in the piece were interesting, however what stuck out the most to me was Seager's will to succeed. (p.250) She was diligent in following her destiny regardless of life's trials. I can only imagine having children, losing a husband, and pursuing a career would be. It makes me realize that anything really is possible as long as you have the will to succeed. Shelby W.

Jada James said...

I don't know anything about astrophysics, but I'm a believer in perseverance and how it can not only change one persons life, but the lives of countless others. This is an exact perfect example of this. By not giving up, Seager continued her work even when she felt like she couldn't and wanted to quit. And I think it's even more powerful that it was her friends and coworkers that inspired her to keep going, as the people close to you are always your most powerful motivators. Ultimately Seager's perseverance is what may find us a second earth, god forbid we ever need it. I thought a quote that accurately summed up the article was "Seager understands in ways few of us do that sometimes you need darkness to see." In the end, she needed to go through her hardest times to come out on the other side and do some good for the world.

Sydney Oats said...

"In her mourning, each discovery represented one more avenue of escape," (250).It is very important physically, emotionally, and especially mentally to be able to cope in a healthy manner after a tragedy occurs. Some people need help finding what helps them, and others figure it out on their on own. No matter what way they figure it out it is okay, as long as it is healthy.

Sydney Oats

Shaina Falkner said...

A quote from Chris Jones's "The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth" that stuck with me the most was this: “I had all the years I called the lost years with Mike when I ignored him. We had little tiny kids. I was working all the time, exhausted all the time. But I was like: We’ll have money some day. We’ll have time some day" (p. 250). I have many teenage parents who still live with their parents and who aren't in college and are struggling because they have to work three jobs to take care of their kid. Most of them wish they had more time to make money and go to school before they had kids because it would have eliminated some of the struggle. And, being a teenage college student, I believe that it is important to put some things on hold so that I can focus on what is more important, like my grades, future career, and being able to pay for college versus my highest score in bowling or a vacation. Those are things that I have all of my life to do.

Erica King said...

I really admired her perseverance, she wrote "If I want the starshade to succeed, I have to help mastermind it," (246) which is so true, if you want something to be done and to be done correctly you have to give your all into making it happen no matter what may hold you back from doing it.

Zuriah Harkins said...

I was more interested in Seager's perseverance. No matter what their passion is, I feel like no woman, or man for that matter should be afraid to follow their dreams. One thing that stuck out to me is how Seager had a hard time trying to balance her family life with her work life. I feel like that's a common issue with women who have a really demanding job. She felt guilty for not being there for her late husband, but again, she demonstrated the value of perseverance. She was able to learn from her mistakes, continue to excel at her job, and find a new husband as well. Seager really showed us the power of perseverance, and how important it is to remember to continue to move forward.

Zuriah Harkins

Joshua Jones said...

I was more interested in the astrophysics because I do not know much about the topic. At the end of page 243 and beginning of 244, the author generally explained the process by which scientists determine positions of exoplanets. It was stated that in 1995, on page 243, scientists used radial velocity, which work by starlight passing "through a planet's atmosphere," where chemicals like "oxygen, will block particular wavelengths of light." However, scientists use a more efficient method called transit technique, which "detects exoplanets when they orbit between their stars and the telescope's mirrors, making tiny but measurable partial eclipses." I believe that these concepts are extremely interesting and they are very simple, but complex.

Joshua J.

JaLeah M . said...

Seager’s perseverance interested me the most. Her drive and determination to continue her difficult work after significant loss shows a lot about her character and commitment. When the text stated she said “we’ll have time someday” (250), I think there is also an important message there. That message being, tomorrow is not promised. It’s good to be determined and ambitious but you also have to remember to cherish your loved ones.

Daeja Daniels said...

Throughout the entire experience her perseverance was very impressive. Even through the passing of her husband she continued. Being a STEM major I found that her work and contribution to astrophysics was impeccable. The idea of space and time really interest. Knowing that there is so much other there that we have yet to even touch. There is so much work that goes into research and here it really puts it into perspective.


James Beverly said...

I was most interested in Seager's perseverance. She had showed that no matter what interest you most, you have to have passion in it and show perseverance within it. One thing that I admired from Seager was how she tried so hard to balance family and the workplace. This is a common struggle amongst females in the workplace and kudos to them for balancing that struggle. On top of a demanding job, Seager was able to handle her issues with her husband efficiently while still being able to work.


-James Beverly III

Maya Searcy said...

I found Seager's perseverance the most interesting. She had been through a lot with being the odd kid and wanting to achieve her dreams but being faced with many obstacles, and when her husband passed. It was very brave of her and determining that she was able to keep going forward with her dreams no matter what.

Donovan Washington said...

I commend Seager's ability to deal with the passing of her husband in the midst of doing something she is so passionate about. It is important to have a place to go or "escape" as the text would say when having to deal with the harsh realities of death. I believe that because Seager was able to find comfort through her work because this way she could still do what she loved even while going through the pain of becoming a widow.

Anonymous said...

I was more interested in Serger’s perseverance. Trying to understand the astrophysics was very hard. While finding another earth is very important to find life on other planets, she was able to move on after her husband died. Even after she felt like “...the world came out from under her feet” (247). When you lose someone you care so deeply about life on other planets don’t matter anymore, and yet she was able to preserve. Tyla L.

Samontriona Perkins said...

What interested me the most about this article, I found it very motivational. For her to lose someone and still stay strong without letting that stop her must have been extremely difficult. Instead of throwing in the towel, she kept doing what she loved to do. This article just goes to show that women are phenomenal.