Illustration: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE
Location: Somewhere Through Space & Time
Wally is not just a super dog, he’s also a super inventor. He invented a time machine. It’s called the Wally 4000. We used our tools and brainpower to help him build it.
Now we can travel back in time to meet our absolutely awesome historical friends!
Our first stop is Egypt, 1357 BCE. This is where we meet Queen Nefertiti for absolutely delicious milk and dates. Nefertiti is married to Pharaoh Amenhotep IV. Together, they rule Ancient Egypt! They are super powerful and love each other lots. Archeologists in our time even found a stela, that is a monument that marks the city’s boundaries, with a poem on it, written by Amenhotep, telling the whole world how much he loved Nefertiti. Nefertiti means “the beautiful one has come”. We think Queen Nefertiti is as smart and beautiful as Keltie, our Glitter Girl.
Let’s move on to 9th Century Baghdad! Because we absolutely need some help with our Astublok puzzle, and Persian mathematician and scientist Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī is the perfect person to ask. Our Manny George said, “Can you imagine trying to multiply or divide two numbers on paper if they were written in Roman numerals? It’s thanks to Mr. al-Khwārizmī that we don’t have to.” George was right because Mr. al-Khwarizmi showed us the Arabic number system with one symbol being one digit. The Arabic number system also has the number 0 and negative numbers like minus 1 and minus 2. The word ‘algorithm’ is even based on the name, al-Khwārizmī! Mr. al-Khwārizmī didn’t stop here. He is also called the father of algebra. In fact, the word algebra comes from the word al-jabr. It’s part of the Arabic title of his absolutely most important book: Al-Kitab al-mukhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wa’l-muqabala, or in English, The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing. For many centuries, it was the main mathematics textbook at European universities. Mr. al-Khwārizmī worked in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, and he also wrote 116 tables filled with lots of astronomical, calendrical, and astrological data. He made catalogues about the movements of the sun, the moon, and the five planets that were known at the time. He wrote tables for sine and cosine concepts, and he wrote books about Jewish calendar systems and geography. Here’s the truth. Mr. al-Khwārizmī is one smart cookie.
We set the time machine to the year 1328, and we travel all the way to eastern Java. Here, we join the celebrations for Queen Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi who becomes the third ruler of the Majapahit empire! Eastern Java is in today’s Indonesia, but the Majapahit empire is made of lots of islands, and it has parts of present-day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, East Timor, and the southwestern Philippines. Yes, it’s pretty bigly. Tribhuwana is not only a queen, she is also a warrior who leads her army on the battlefield and on sea. Isn’t she terribly brave? There is so much water here. It’s a good thing that we brought our pirate ship. Queen Tribhuwana thinks it’s the most splendid pirate ship she has ever seen. Here’s what we think. Queen Tribhuwana is the most splendid warrior-queen we have ever seen.
It’s time for a snack, so we meet Albert Einstein for afternoon tea and lots of cookies in 1905. Before we can take a bite from our cookies, he tells us that our cookies are made of matter. Matter is the tiny particles that make up everything in the world! Then all of sudden, he shouts out that matter can be turned into energy! He writes down E=mc2 where E = energy, m = mass, c = speed of light. It’s his theory of relativity! This is a super scientific explanation about how space relates to time. The theory of relativity can sound very strange. But if you’re a scientist studying outer space, then the theory of relativity is very important. It helps us understand why things fall down instead of up. And it explains why there are things like black holes or light, or how stars die! It also shows us that we can travel through time! Albert explains that as we move faster and closer to the speed of light, time slows down for the person moving, but not for the person watching. The person moving could travel through space very quickly and not age muchly, but return to Earth where others have aged decades more!
It’s time to visit our last historical friend before heading back home. We are off to September 12, 1992. We meet Dr. Mae C. Jemison and six other astronauts aboard NASA’s Endeavour on mission STS47. Mae is the first African American woman in space! We all spent more than 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on September 20, 1992. Just like Albert Einstein, and Mr. al-Khwārizmī, Mae was super curious about lots of things. She read lots of books about science, especially astronomy, took dance classes – ballet, jazz, and modern, she designed and made clothes for dolls, took art classes, acted in school plays, and was elected to her school government. Just like Albert Einstein, she believed in the power of her own imagination! Already as a child she dreamed of traveling to outer space, and she believed that she could. It is absolutely very important to believe in yourself. It’s a superpower!
When we’re back home, we must keep wondering. There are so many places, people, and things to wonder about. Here’s an absolutely awesome place to start: https://www.wonderopolis.org
We must say goodbye to all our historical friends and set our time machine to HOME. Let’s see what adventures are waiting for us there! We’re on our way!
Frederick & Sophie