Home Today's Reason to Drink November 20: Edwin Hubble’s Birthday

November 20: Edwin Hubble’s Birthday

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It’s Edwin Powell Hubble’s birthday. The guy the Big Eye in the Sky is named after. Born on this day in 1889, Edwin utterly shook up a lot of the “settled” astronomical science of his day, making a lot of senior astronomers look like cheap hacks and fools. Now, when you think of astronomers, it’s difficult to picture them as hard-drinking bon vivants, but you’d be wrong. Well, partly wrong. According to certain tell-all biographies, about a quarter of the mid-century astronomer set were self-described “dark ones,” those who drank hard and tore things up, while another quarter were cheerless teetotalers. The rest fell somewhere in the middle. Hubble was a typical middle-of-the-roader, he worked the cocktail party circuit, liked his martinis and beer, but swore that he’d been blackout drunk only once in his life. It happened while he was a youngish man in France after World War One, and while he couldn’t recall the events of the evening, his friends informed him that he’d given an impromptu but reasonably sensible speech about the origins of the war. He then had to be restrained after raising a dozen or so consecutive toasts. We’ve all been there, right? Don’t act like you’ve never done that before. Sometimes, when you get that toast engine revved up, it’s hard to shut it down. It just wants to go on forever and ever. To paraphrase Edwin, “The toasts of the past are finite, but the toasts of the future are infinite.”

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