Portland State University
Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship
My name is Scott Sacharczyk, and I am a Math major and Astronomy minor, formerly of Portland Community College, but most recently at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. I’ve always been interested in astronomy, and very fond of math, but I didn’t start college until I was 45. I have my wife to thank for that; she’s been an incredible inspiration. Many of our friends are college educated, and it’s a nice change for me. I find it refreshing to be able to talk about subjects that are interesting to me without alienating people. My parents sat me down in front of Star Trek when I was little, and got me books about the stars and outer space, so I would always wow their friends as this toddler who talked like an adult and knew all the planets in their proper order. Today, I have a 3D star-map, that I created myself, on my website, with videos: including all the local stars within about a 40-light-year radius. The program I used, Bryce 3D, allows me to set up animation timelines, and my goal is to run the clock backwards and forwards in time, perhaps millions of years, tracking the proper motions of those stars, to model their positions perhaps millions of years ago, and from now, of course accounting for the gravity of all neighboring stars. I think it will be interesting to see how far back, and forward, I can go.