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The official crew portrait of the Apollo 11 astronauts taken at the Kennedy Space Center on March 30, 1969, of, left, Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, lunar module pilot.HO/AFP/Getty Images

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July 20, 1969: Path to the moon

One of my old school friends was a senior member of the Physics Department at Trinity College Dublin. In late career, he took up poetry and published several collections, one of which, A Mystic Dream of 4, was based on the life of William Rowan Hamilton, who was the foremost mathematician of the mid-nineteenth century.

Hamilton, as the Chair of Astronomy at the University of Dublin, predicted conical refraction and discovered quaternions. As it happens, these mathematical discoveries were central to NASA’s ability to calculate a return path to the moon more than a century later.

So my friend was delighted a few years ago when he was asked to help show a distinguished visitor around Trinity.

Trinity’s tourist highlights include the Book of Kells, and also the Long Room Library, which contains busts of famous philosophers and writers, many with links to Trinity.

But Buzz Aldrin, the famous guest, showed little interest in Burke, Swift, Goldsmith, or Bacon. He strode past the lot of them until he came to the one he wanted to meet. Pointing to the bust of William Rowan Hamilton, he exclaimed: “There’s the man who got us home!”

Mike McCelland, Barrie, Ont.


My father not only reached for the stars, he literally brought me the moon. I will never forget the day in 1969 that he brought moon rocks to my Grade 2 class and passed them around. I still recall how he eagerly took questions from the children; that day, I was – and I remain – intensely proud of him.

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is upon us today, and my memories of my father, a principal investigator in NASA’s Lunar Program, are abundant, including one of late-night visitors.

After my father brought the lunar rocks to Canada in 1969 to perform experiments on them at his University of Toronto laboratory, a customs representative rang our doorbell late at night. Evidently, customs had no experience in selecting which forms to fill out for importing matter that is not of our Earth, so they unprecedentedly appeared at our home at all hours with what they determined were the correct declaration forms.

My father, professor David Strangway, left this world a much better place than he found it, by igniting an immense passion for Arts and Science that will endure for generations. I am honoured to be his daughter.

Susan Strangway, White Rock, B.C.

Path to a family

Re Don’t Forget The Children (July 18): My daughter was born in 2018 and is donor-conceived. There was no clinic involved, and the donor is known to me.

She does have biological half-siblings, and will be able to meet them and her biological father if she and they wish when she is older. Her genetic and medical history are known.

In pursuing this arrangement outside of the fertility industry, I had no doubt as to my daughter’s eventual legal parentage, thanks to the 2016 Ontario All Families Are Equal Act, which I read prior to her conception. It gave me the clear legal pathway to do this, which I would not have had in many states in the U.S., where I grew up.

In regulating the fertility industry, we should not lose sight of the fact that people have always planned their families in alternate ways, and will continue to do so: I am queer, and arrangements such as mine have long existed in the LGBTQ2S community.

(The donor is not queer, though I would have loved it if he were – we can’t have everything we would wish for, I suppose.)

Sarah Owocki, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Casino casualties

Re Police Allege Mafia Laundered $70-Million In Ontario Casinos (July 19): When is a provincial government or politician going to advocate for the elimination of casinos?

It is bad enough that these facilities disproportionately target those who can least afford to lose money. Now there is growing evidence of their use in large-scale criminal activity.

If programs financed by casino revenues are so important, governments should should have the guts to levy the taxes needed to pay for those programs.

Ivan McMorris, Winnipeg

Stuff. More stuff

Benjamin Leszcz’s essay last Saturday, The Life-Changing Magic Of Making Do, made some very interesting points about how to help save our planet from overconsumption.

One issue he didn’t address was that we are deliberately creating appliances with planned near-term obsolescence. We need to push back on manufacturers to allow for repairs and longer device life.

Beverley Styba, Markham, Ont.


Toronto’s Rogers Centre remains an engineering “marvel.” Only 30 years after the facility opened, Marcus Gee wants to replace it with a purpose-built venue that would no doubt end up costing taxpayers several hundred million more dollars on top of what they spent on it in the first place. (It’s Time To Think About Tearing Down The Rogers Centre, July 13).

Maybe Mr. Gee should take heed of Benjamin Leszcz’s advice in the Opinion Section and experience the Life-Changing Magic of Making Do.

Neil Nawaz, Toronto


Benjamin Leszcz’s article was spot on.

That said, not all stuff is equal: Sometimes that connection we crave so dearly comes to us through stuff, stuff that has been passed down to us and comes with stories and memories, or stuff given to us by special friends that reminds us of them when they are far away or gone.

The Shorter Oxford Dictionary that stays on my bookshelf was my grandfather’s gift on our wedding day; I don’t use it much, but it brings to life the man who used to read me Sir Walter Scott at bedtime, who loved to read himself, who took me on historical adventures when I was a child.

The ridiculous Japanese pink plastic “Face-Up Roller” which really has no practical use reminds me of my oldest friend, and her wacky sense of humour, which has always made me laugh.

The chronometer (working) liberated from a Second World War fighter plane by my father reminds me of him and his time in the Mediterranean.

I love these visible reminders of love and connections.

Then again, I do own too many wallets …

Hope Smith, Calgary

Unstressing MPs …

Re Memo To Stressed MPs: Heal Thyselves (editorial, July 18): Very simply, MPs should be able to work from home.

There is no reason, given the world of global communication, that members of Parliament could not conference, vote and even schmooze from riding offices without travelling to Ottawa.

It would save on transportation costs (the environment) … and the cost of embarrassment in Question Period.

Douglas L. Martin, Hamilton

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