Friday, November 27, 2009

Science as candle in the dark

40 years from now a wisdom man said: “This is a small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.  The human beings watched with proud and hope how one of us landed and step on moon, the 20th of July of 1969. It doesn’t matter if the voyage to the moon was the result of the Cold War, this incredible journey is only comparable with the discover of America or the exhaustive expeditions to discover all the places of this beautiful planet. This milestone changed our lives and the way we see the Universe, since then everything seems to be possible and reachable. Before, the sky was the limit, now, the stars seems to be next reachable limit.

This post is dedicated to the Science, to the greatest inventions and discovers of the human mind, and the role that it has had in all the human history. For me Science is my life maybe because my formation or because the fact that I’m always reading and learning different things and trying to understand how universe works. Since I remember I was always disarming my toys in order to know what makes them move, until I received the best gift of my life, an encyclopedia. I read each one of the pages of the 16 volumes of the Children world’s Encyclopedia, I enjoyed each one of the stories, the tales and the experiences of the  human activity and their understanding of the universe, of their home. The Universe ceased to be that unknown place to become an incredible source of knowledge, to become my home…. then I tried to create things from scratch… I mixed so many things in the toilet in order to create something, to see how different substances react and then wait for something extraordinary… as you might think I never got anything… many years after that I realized that I would never create anything because, as Carl Sagan said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

I’m glad to live in this year, because this is the science year, actually it is the astronomy year. We are celebrating so many scientific things this year that we cannot forget them. In a short description those are:

  • 400 years ago Galileo Galilei invented the telescope, maybe the first revolutionary invention to approach us to our origins, because you must remember that we are made of star stuff… With this he discovered the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, he draw the first high resolution picture of the moon. At the same time Johannes Kepler was describing the elliptical movement of the planets around the sun. And 60 years after, Sir Isaac Newton defined the bases of the infinitesimal calculus and after that him wrote maybe one of the most important works in history the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica , where he described the universal gravitation law and the principles of the mechanics.
  • 200 years ago Charles Darwin was born and 150 years ago he wrote the most exciting and revealing book of his era: On the origin of species. Since him we know that we are the product of thousands and thousands of generations and mutations. We were not product of some magic powders, we are the last descendants of the extraordinary Natural Selection.
  • Four years ago we were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Annus Marabilis of 1905 when Albert Einstein presented his 4 incredible articles that changed the way that people saw the world in that moment. For me the most incredible article was, and I think that for you also, the "Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper" ("On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies") most known as the special relativity theory.
  • 40 years ago man landed on moon. The farthest journey of man, but not the most expensive, took place in July of 1969. For the first time in history we leave our home to explore different places. The sky was the limit but now it seems that there is no limit, like the slogan of this year: “The Universe Yours to Discover” 
  • 40 years ago there was the first link between computers, between the universities of UCLA and Stanford. This is considered the birth of the Internet, that is so far the best invention of the last century. Decades before we tried to reduce distances using the radio, phone and television to transmit information among us. But it was only with this invention, the Internet, that we clearly are able to share and transmit information in real time; Internet is the real core of the information society, it is the synergy that better describes the world where we live now.
  • In the last 10 years we have been reading the code of life. DNA has the clues of life, of how to solve the major problems that we have in our bodies, it has the clues that God left to us.
  • And to show how science doesn’t keep quiet some days ago NASA discover that there is water in the moon.

So far I described the biggest milestones of science in the last centuries (that are deeply related this year), of course that I left behind another ones, like the Maxwell laws, the invention of the radio, the nuclear power, the Schrödinger's cat. I just wanted to show you the importance of science in our life, now we live in an era where science has a direct impact in the way that we live and see the world. 2009 is a year of joy, a human kind celebration, a pure scientific year (as memorable as 2005 that was the physics year in honor to the 4 Einstein’s postulates presented in 1905) that remember us how we evolve from other animals and environment and how we have to respect them (as our natives did). This year, that is finishing, is the proof of the human imagination, of what we can do, about the limits that we don’t have.

And this year, at least for me, is the meaning that there is a world of possibilities that we have to explore to improve our quality of life, projects like Smart Planet or like 10 to the 100 are the proof that this is when our change for a better life starts. Science did an incredible journey of hundreds of years, in our hands is the responsibility to keep this legacy and use it to change and save this planet.  In a quite short conclusion, Science is the tool that our ancestors gave to us to protect our home from everything and also from ourselves.

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