When asked about which scientist he’d like to meet, Neil deGrasse Tyson said, Isaac Newton. No question about it. The smartest person ever to walk the face of this earth. The man was connected to the universe in spooky ways. He discovered the laws of motion, the laws of gravity, the laws of optics. Then he turned 26.
Learning starts outside the classroom.
Slightly takes the shine off Valentine’s Day, doesn’t it? No it isn’t.
Scientists are human. We have our blind spots and prejudices. Science is a mechanism designed to ferret them out. Problem is we aren’t always faithful to the core values of science.
Science reveals that all life on Earth is one.
Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes … The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms.
Every person you’ve ever heard of lies right in there. All those kings and battles, migrations and inventions, wars and loves, everything in the history books happened here in the last 14 seconds of the cosmic calendar.
Artificial selection turned the wolf into the shepherd, and the wild grasses into wheat and corn. In fact, almost every plant and animal that we eat today was bred from a wild, less edible ancestor. If artificial selection can work such profound changes in only ten or fifteen thousand years, what can natural selection do operating over billions of years? The answer is all the beauty and diversity of life.
This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adherent to a simple set of rules. Test ideas by experiments and observations. Build on those ideas that pass the test. Reject the ones that fail. Follow the evidence wherever it leads, and question everything. Accept these terms, and the cosmos is yours.
The tenacity of life is mind-boggling. We keep finding it where no one thought it could be.
Also, Fat Turtle is a great band name.
To make this journey, we’ll need imagination, but imagination alone is not enough, because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine.
The Earth took one hell of a beating in its first billion years, fragments of orbiting debris collided and coalesced, until they snowballed to form our Moon.
Every breed of dog you’ve ever seen was sculpted by human hands.
The past is another planet.
Our entire universe emerged from a point smaller than a single atom. Space itself exploded in a cosmic fire, launching the expansion of the universe and giving birth to all the energy and all the matter we know today. I know that sounds crazy, but there’s strong observational evidence to support the Big Bang theory. And it includes the amount of helium in the cosmos and the glow of radio waves left over from the explosion.
The Moon is a souvenir of that violent epoch. If you stood on the surface of that long ago Earth, the Moon would have looked a hundred times brighter. It was ten times closer back then, locked in a much more intimate gravitational embrace.
It’s the great tragedy – people employed in ways that don’t fully tap everything they do best in life.
Beyond that horizon lie parts of the universe that are too far away. There hasn’t been enough time in the 13.8 billion year history of the universe for their light to have reached us.
We’re an elective democracy where science and technology will define where the economically strong countries in the world will be. And science and technological literacy is important for security, as well.