Amy Li on The Universe

1. Why did you suggest we interview you about the universe?

Because everything else is boring.

2. If you could go anywhere in our solar system, or beyond, where would you go?

If technology advances to the point of us learning the secretsof the universe then I would drop everything on Earth and become a time-space traveler (like Rick and Morty). I would travel to different dimensions on different timelines and get into all sorts of trouble. I might even take some pictures.

3. What initially piqued your interest in it? Have you always been interested in it?

One of my earliest childhood memories is looking up the night sky in rural China. Because I was in a remote area, there wasn't any light pollution so the sky was covered in stars. I was in complete awe. I had never seen anything like it before. I've lived in urban metropolitan cities all my life so seeing nature in its full glory absolutely amazes me. I still think about that memory and it makes me really, really, really, really happy. At the end of the day, I'm a romantic.

4. The universe is sort of scary to me - it's so vast, so unknowable - crushing in its scope and our total irrelevance. Do you ever feel that way? Do you have different feelings about the universe?

When I think about the universe, I don't feel scared at all. I nerd out, I cry, I laugh, I get really excited. Why? Because everything is absurd. I don't mean that in a nihilistic way.

5. Do you like Sci Fi or works of fiction made explicitly about the universe? How about non-fiction? Or do the two overlap when you contemplate something unknowable?

I prefer David Bowie and odd documentaries. Just the other week I watched an entire documentary about mushrooms. Ordinary mushrooms makes me think about the universe and there aren't any aliens, space exploration or philosophies involved.

But I love Space Jam so.. there's that.

6. Why does it capture humanity's imagination to such an extent?

Curiosity is what propels our species to advance further. Without it, we would wither away. It's also fun to think about. It makes the day go by quicker.

7. Do you think it's worthwhile to try and explore and inhabit space, or does that technological study undercut our humility?

I think exploration of any sort is worth the effort. As for inhabiting space? I'm not sure. It's like moving into a new house, in a new place. I've never met a soul who enjoyed moving. You have to start all over again and figure everything out on this new planet in some other solar system. There's going to be a lot of mistakes made. It sounds stressful. I rather just live my life and die quietly on Earth.

8. If given the chance would you want to become an astronaut? Even considering the extreme preparation?

Doing anything in the name of science sounds pretty fucking cool. But I know myself very well.

9. What do you think we can learn from the Universe that we haven't yet?

Humility. A lot of humility. Boatloads of it. It's very easy to get too wrapped up and lost in everyday mundane life situations. Nothing matters and everything matters. Because life goes on and on and on and on.

We know nothing and that's okay.

10. What question haven’t we asked that you think has an interesting answer?