- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) - The universe got a little bit bigger, not necessarily because of him, but his discoveries helped scientists realize that space is always expanding.

At least for a while, he taught at New Albany High School.

In November, school administrators, teachers, historians and an artist commemorated the year that Edwin Hubble taught at New Albany High School with a sculpture. During the 1913-1914 school year, the man who challenged Albert Einstein on the idea of a static universe taught physics and Spanish at the school and took the basketball team undefeated to the state final four, where they eventually lost.

David Ross Stevens, the sculptor who made the memorial that hangs just outside of the school’s gym, said he thinks it’s an honor that someone like Hubble was a part of the school’s community.

“It’s amazing that someone of that stature was anywhere close to being around here,” Stevens said. “A lot of people just don’t know his stature, he ranks so high among all scientists. it’s said he’s brought science into our living rooms and that’s true. The universe was expanded by him, his discovery expanded our knowledge of it.”

Hubble discovered that the bounds of the universe don’t end at the Milky Way galaxy - where our solar system is found - and he also challenged the prevailing notion that the universe was static. His findings from telescope observations showed that the universe actually expands constantly.

On top of that, the Hubble Space Telescope has shown scientists more stars and galaxies they couldn’t have observed on the ground since its launch in 1990.

Those revelations came after his short stint at New Albany High School. Years later, in March of 1998, the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp.’s board of trustees voted to honor Hubble with a memorial, but it temporarily ended there.

Stevens said he and Vic Megenity, a local historian, went back to the board with his proposal for a memorial, but it fell flat with them. In 2014, he said they tried again with deputy superintendent Brad Snyder, who liked what they presented.

Snyder said he thought it was time to honor the board’s direction from 1998 and move forward with a memorial.

“The resolution was very clear that the board resolved to honor the man,” Snyder said. “I felt that the board needed to stand by their resolution. Secondly, Dr. Hubble is a famous historical figure and he’s worthy of mention. He’s a significant piece of history and if we had a brush of greatness with him, we should honor him.”

Snyder said Hubble’s willingness to challenge conventional knowledge at the time is a quality about him that he admires, as well as something others could learn from.

“The thing about him that I really liked was that he was a contrarian,” Snyder said. “So many people play it safe and there he was in the 20s and 30s saying we’re not the only galaxy out here. Further, our universe is still growing. That was not what the conventional thinking of the scientists were. Even Einstein ran to him and said he needed to curtail that crazy thinking a little bit. But he proved him wrong. It’s not just anybody who can stand with that kind of scrutiny and prevail.”

He said he hopes students and teachers are inspired by the fact that Hubble was in the community and that they can go on to do anything.

Stevens said he thought the memorial, which features an image of the telescope, a galaxy and an observatory with a portrait of Edwin Hubble, has the potential to show anyone who sees it what’s possible with dedication.

“A lot of sculptors go through the process of making models and entering contests, but so many fall flat,” Stevens said. “This one came to fruition and it’s satisfying not only because it means a lot to me, but I hope it means a lot to a lot of other people. I see it as an educational tool.”

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Source: News and Tribune, http://bit.ly/1ODMydI

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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., http://www.newsandtribune.com

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