My favorite moment was a very simple quote from Professor Aveni that came up during one of our office hours discussions. He said, " I believe there are truths in this world that can not be empirically proven." At the time, this is something I wanted to believe in so badly, but as a physics major, felt almost embarrassed by it. I was surrounded by people living in the hard evidence based scientific community and hearing such a renowned professor admit that he also believes in truths that can't be proven changed my entire academic perspective. Furthermore, I think it says something about Professor Aveni that he has the respect of the whole physics and astronomy department even though many would probably disagree with that belief. His profound ability as an astronomer to make students question whether science rules over knowledge is something that makes him an incredibly unique professor.
Professor Aveni has influenced me in countless ways throughout my time as a student. He sparked my interest in the immense beauty of the night sky. He initiated my curiosity of how the people who came before us viewed everything in the natural world. He made me wonder how detrimental our western "progress" was when one considers how much ancient wisdom was sacrificed along the way. He reinforced the belief that the best way to develop a study is to look at it from many different angles. His wisdom, unlike most other college professors, is interdisciplinary, which allowed him to captivate a class with not only astronomy and anthropology but also etymology, biology, history, poetry, agriculture, and religion. Lastly, he is one of the main reasons I want to enter the field of education and hopefully bring a similar interdisciplinary approach to teaching.
Congrats on your retirement Prof A! You inspired many as a professor who admittedly has never retired from being a student. I hope you continue to learn and share your wisdom with the world!
Let me know when the eclipse book comes out! I will be one of the first to see the total eclipse August 21st on the shores of western Oregon!