GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

June 30, 2013

Rockport Ramblings: Scientist's book takes on the Milky Way

Rockport Ramblings
James Niedzinski

---- — Local resident William H. Waller has released a general interest book intended for anyone who is curious about our galactic home, and the many marvels that it has spawned over its 12 billion years.

Though not a textbook, “The Milky Way — An Insider’s Guide,” can be used in high-school and college classrooms as a narrative resource on galactic astronomy and the scientific quest, Waller said.

Waller also is editing the new e-journal The Galactic Inquirer at galacticinquirer.net.

This e-journal is intended to engage readers interested in galactic astronomy, the search for life beyond Earth, and prospects for interstellar communications.

He and the site coordinators are actively seeking well-written non-technical articles, commentaries, profiles, book reviews, and photo essays.

If you or somebody you know would be interested in contributing, please email info@glacticinquirer.net.

NASA robotics champ

Nathaniel Tuck of Rockport, who majors in computer science, was a member of the University of Massachusetts Lowell team that won a NASA-sponsored exploration “robo-ops” competition, beating out university teams from across the country.

The win by the school’s Rover Hawks team — a play on the name of the university’s sports teams, the River Hawks — comes in just the first year UMass-Lowell was selected to participate by NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace, the contest’s organizers.

For the win, the team’s rover successfully negotiated hills and wide expanses and picked up objects for one hour in a simulated planetary surface at NASA’s Houston training headquarters while being remotely controlled by team members at the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation Center at UMass Lowell.

The team was awarded $10,000 by the contest’s organizers to build its rover based on plans submitted last December, and took home $6,000 with the win.

Guitarist’s recital

Classical guitarist Brendan Evans, who grew up in Rockport and studied music in Ohio, San Francisco and Spain, has returned to Cape Ann for the summer.

Zans will be playing at the Rockport Community House, 58 Broadway, Monday at 7. Donations will be accepted.

The solo recital will be mostly Spanish-influenced work; the music he’s playing will be a part of an album being released later this year.

Book signing today

Author Cassandra Krivy Hirsch will read from and sign her historical novel, “Under the Linden Tree,” today at 5 p.m. at, appropriately, the Linden Tree Inn, 26 King St.

Emerging from a trunk in an old house in Rockport, the yellowed pages of a journal and a clutch of letters tell the story of Marianne Parsons, a young mother and the wife of a sea captain, who made her first entry in that journal on a spring evening in 1855. Now she must struggle against the propriety that once held her in a comfortable embrace. Now she must ask herself questions that her family — and her own past — have not equipped her to answer.

The event is free to the public.

Navy concert tickets

The Northeast Navy Pops Ensemble will perform a free concert at Rockport High School at 1:30 p.m. on July 14, and free tickets will be available today at the Rockport police station from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The concert is part of the Rockport Navy Weekend, which runs July 12 to 14 and is organized by the Rockport Navy Committee. For more information go to www.rocnavcom.org.

Rotary in Zimbabwe

The Rockport Rotary Club, in partnership with the Victoria Falls Rotary Club of Zimbabwe, has provided a well, or borehole, for the students and teachers at Mpindo Primary School in the Tsholotsho District of Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe.

The project was made possible by the matching funds of a District 7930 managed grant. The Mpindo Primary School serves 180 students and has eight teachers.

Rockport Rotarian Nikki Marin was a part of the grant writing committee. The collaboration between the Rockport and Victoria Falls clubs exemplifies the clever design of the Rotary system which connects local people from two different countries to oversee and implement a project.

“Thanks to all members of Rotary Club of Rockport. We enjoyed working with you all and your efforts have transformed many lives of the children at Mpindo,” wrote Joshua Magaba, the president of the Victoria Falls Rotary Club, in an email.

Rockport Ramblings is compiled by James Niedzinski. If you have a news tip or an item for Rockport Ramblings, please contact him at 978-283-7000 x3455, or jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com