Public Star Night – 21 Sept 2018 – John Ensworth – “The Library of Babel and the VERY Large Numbers of Science”

The scientist and the layperson alike try to grapple with infinity.  It shows up at the edges of science and math every day. We have to deal with it.  But can humans really visualize the infinite? Can we get a gut feeling for even just the very, very large?  John Ensworth will take you to the fictional Library of Babel, based on the short story by Jorge Luis Borges of the same name, and use it as a tool to expand your perception of the very large.  He will compare the size of the (finite but large) Library with physical and mathematical values science has found exist in reality.  How far can your mind go… grasping the vastness of what is…?

John Ensworth is currently the Principal Investigator of the NASA SMD Independent Education Product Review at the IGES, which is a non-profit organization formed, in part, to conduct independent reviews on all Earth and space science education products produced by or created for NASA ( His position is the one responsible for conducting these reviews and helping with NASA education and outreach efforts through the Web ( and at large education conferences (i.e. NSTA, NCTM, and the ASP) that introduce the products that are scientifically accurate and appropriate for the educational audience they are intended for. In the 90’s Mr. Ensworth was a masters’ student and a PhD candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He teaches physics and mathematics at a number of online universities. He earned undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy, and geography and meteorology with an emphasis in math and computer science. You can view a Webcam of his backyard observatory (Cherrywood Observatory) in Longmont at

Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through our large telescope at various celestial objects. Public star nights are held the third Friday of each month, except July, when we are closed for annual maintenance.

If you have any questions, please call the observatory information line at 970-613-7793
or check the LTO web site at

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