Teen Speaker Julia on the Universe

Julia Stern presents her speech at the Speak and Tell Camp closing ceremony.

By Julia Stern, Teen Speaker 2017

Have you ever wondered, how did we all get here? For thousands of years, people have asked questions about our existence. What is our universe? How big is it? Are we living in a computer simulation? Are we the only living creatures out there? I have pondered these questions often while I sit under the stars. We can’t always answer these questions, but the universe holds many answers for us. Looking at the stars is one of the easiest and simplest things humans can do. There is beauty and wonder in the sky that could never be found on earth. We see places that have unimaginable differences, compared to the things we know. With only a commercial telescope (one a clear night) we can see enormous, colorful gas clouds that are thousands of light years away and planets 100 times the size of ours.

We, as humans, live in so many different environments. Our cultures differ greatly, as well as our languages, religions, and beliefs. But, at night, when we stargaze, we see the same constellations and the same stars. The universe brings us together, because it awakes the realization that we are all connected, as life, on this tiny, unimportant fraction of the universe.

Now, this all may sound a little far-fetched. It is not our earthly bonds that connect us, but the universe, which some of us give little thought to in our daily lives? Some people may believe that. But I believe that the stars, the moons, and the constellations we see relate us all.

So I ask you to sometimes look at the sky on a clear night. Think of it as a form of meditation. As I mentioned previously, I like to ponder our existence when I star gaze. The questions I have remain unanswered, yet, when I am finished, I feel completed. You will feel the magic touch of the universe as it clears your worries and resolves your problems. There is something wonderful and special about the access we have to some of the most beautiful parts of our universe. And while we must always wonder about the worlds we do not know of, sometimes the universe itself will answer our questions.