Patricia de Hilster – Patron of Science
On February 18 at 11:14 am, my mom passed away after a long bought with cancer. She was a huge supporter of my father and I’s scientific work and she stared in my documentary, “Einstein Wrong – The Miracle Year“. She became friends with many scientist in the CNPS and helped at two of our conferences in the past.
She, like many in our lives in the CNPS (formally the NPA), have been there supporting us, even though they don’t necessarily understand what or even why we are doing what we do. But they know one thing: we are passionate about our science and what we do.
My passion for science started early when I was young making a pipe organ from a vacuum cleaner, a time-lapse photography machine from a record player, and a water balloon launcher that launched balloons over 500 feet. And all along, my mom supported my crazy projects along with my dad.
After my parents retired, my mother’s involvement with science got more intense when in 2004, I called her on mother’s day to ask her if she would go on a scientific journey around the country to meet dissident scientists. Eight years later, the result was the feature-length documentary “Einstein Wrong”. It not only was a scientific journey, but an intimate journey of a family confronting their own happy and difficult moments. From my mom’s joy in finding out she was to have a granddaughter to my father’s severe heart attack. She opened both her mind and heart to the world in film form.
My mom traveled to Strorrs Connecticut, the Stanford Linear Accelerator, and at a San Diego convention – all in the name of science. She willing jumped in feet first and made many friends during her 8 years of journey, but it did not stop there.
During the last ten years, she has put up with her husband working countless hours on the computer doing calculations that ran 3 days at a time and listening to my father explain what he was doing. He was working on gravity. More recently, she had to put up with her son (me) and husband writing a book together “Universe Hack 3.0“.
Now she is gone and she will be missed not only by family and friends, but by many of the scientists who came to know her natural smile, boundless energy, and innate curiosity for science.
My favorite scene in the movie is something I didn’t even shoot myself. I found it in the editing room. Mom had approached a scientist with a poster board at an NPA meeting in Storrs Connecticut when she surprised one of the scientists there with this:
“Do you think gravity is a push, or a pull? I always thought of that when I was a kid..”
The scientist was stumped and didn’t have an answer.
That was my mom…
To All Who Support US
This is also dedicated to all our wives, husbands, children, friends, and relatives that willingly support our passion of unlocking the secrets of the universe against all odds. For without them, we could not go on and advance science given that many times, they are our ONLY moral support when we feel the world is against us.
And that is invaluable.
Goodbye mom. I and many of us in the scientific community love you and will miss you dearly. Rest in peace. And thank you for your unfailing support of my work, your husband’s work, and the work of so many other scientists.
You can read my goodbye letter to my mom on my personal blog at:
You can read more about Patricia Ann de Hilster at:
See Her in the Documentary
Here is the trailer to the film with my mom. This really captures my mom’s fun and loving spirit with the world of science and the universe around her. Never afraid to admit she didn’t understand something – something mainstream science could learn from HER!
If you are a CNPS member, drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a link and password to see the full documentary film. You will see a lot of intimate details of our family in it. It is a very touching story.