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Reflections on Ernest Boyer's
Space/Time Commonality
by Robert Erlandson

The theme for this submission is Ernest Boyer’s fourth Human Commonality, Time and Space. As a retired Professor of Engineering I wanted to read in more detail how Ernest Boyer described time and space, since space-time is a powerful term in astronomy. In his paper “The Educated Person” (1995), Boyer notes that while we are all unique, we are all representatives of a specific time and place and that we have the “capacity to place ourselves in time and space.” He further says; “We explore our place through geography and astronomy. (italics added) We explore our sense of time through history.” 

From these quotes, particularly use of the word astronomy, I assume Boyer carefully choose his words to convey a very broad space-time spectrum from our place in the cosmos to folks here on Earth. The term space-time (also spacetime) was first proposed by the mathematician Hermann Minkowski in 1908 as a way to describe and think about Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the relationship between space and time as influenced by gravity. Images created to help visualize these relationships involved a tight bedspread whereon a ball had been dropped and the flat sheet has a depression caused by the ball. This visualization lead to the terms, fabric of space-time and the warping of space-time. Back to Boyer’s Time and Space, we could then say we need to explore our place in this cosmos, fabric of space-time, as well as Earth’s specific geography. 

History too, then can mean something different. String theory has subsequently developed as an attempt to unify the physics of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics—that is, a unified physics theory of really big stuff and really small stuff. Or, as it has been called, the Theory of Everything (TOE). One result of this work is the prediction of multiple parallel universes, called the multiverse. This is really mind bending and no one really knows what to make of it; however, given this, its fun to speculate that Boyer could have added, “We explore our alternative existence, possibly numerous parallel histories, in the multiverse through meditation, math and maybe haiga.” 

It is within this broader, yet I believe consistent with the spirit of Boyer’s, Time and Space theme I am submitting the attached three haiga: 

03

Author's Bio:
Robert Erlandson is a Professor Emeritus in the College of Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. He has published his haiku, tanka and haiga in Haigaonline, Daily Haiga, Cattails, Ribbons, and Prune Juice. Many of his haiga images are digitally created fractal patterns. He has also published AWE, a chapbook of poetry and images speaking to the incredible relationships between nature, art, mathematics and science. More information of his fractal art and writings can be found on his website, Circle Publications.

Editor's Note:
Boyer's "The Educated Person" was published in the 1995 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. It may be downloaded through the website of the Mid-Atlantic Association of IB (International Baccalaureate) World Schools.