Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Beauty of Science

To me, science can be summed up as thus: a tool that may allow us to appreciate the supreme beauty of the universe.

The natural world has fascinated me as long as I can remember. From observing various creatures I would stumble across, both in their natural setting and in captivity, to laying outside for hours just gazing at the beauty of night sky. I grew to love knowledge as a key to wonderment that no novel could hope to match.

In the years since, I have never lost that spark. It has driven me and consumed me. Every time I learn something new about the universe, I cannot help but be struck by the beauty of it all. This feeling is always coupled with a fervent desire to explore the idea more. Knowledge is addictive. I always need to have more, for each piece unveils a new shade and texture to an already breathtaking image.

Take the idea of evolution. All life, no matter how familiar or strange, simple or complex, rare or populous, is all connected. Bacteria activity converting the sulfides belched out by the Earth itself into energy and myself, a complex and awkward primate subsisting on the labours of other life forms are, in a very real way, one and the same. That if you look back far enough into time, you shall find a moment when our last common ancestors thrived and took its first tentative steps in the different directions that would lead to two vastly different organisms.

Or the idea of Dark Matter. That there are mind boggling amounts of a substance that is invisible to light, but whose gravitational affects can shape the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets, and in turn, the rise of life itself.

Our understanding of the universe around us has changed drastically with each piece of the puzzle. Each part builds upon the natural tapestry that would, without the tool of science, be forever invisible to us. No matter how strange or unfamiliar a new idea may be, if it stands up to the rigors of the scientific method, it will shape all that it touches. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything is a part of something else, and those other somethings are, in turn, a part of an even larger world. Something as simple as an annoyingly persistent radio interference can lead to an understanding of the formation of the universe itself

In a world filled with hate, bigotry and horrendous suffering for countless peoples, the idea that we can overcome all our tribulations to uncover the inner workings of the existence around us proves to me that, perhaps, we as a species can correct the errors of our past. That we can become more if only we set aside our petty hatreds and work together to find our place in a universe more vast and diverse then we can ever hope to fully comprehend. We shall never be the center of the universe, but we do have the potential to be the center of its comprehension. To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, “We are not simply in the universe, we are part of it. We are born from it. One might even say we have been empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.”
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