Science Gives Me Hope

Did you know that you can stop light? This concept has been around since Einstein’s days when he proposed that at absolute zero all motion stops and all matter blurs (this was based on previous work by Satyendra Nath Bose). It was only a matter of time before a few scientists actually figured out how to capture light in this state and move it somewhere else. What does this mean for normal folks? Well, not much … yet. The practical applications are pretty sci-fi. It means that information can be stored as light and then moved (at the speed of light) somewhere else – aka “Beam Me Up”. I doubt I will see the real applications of this sort of technology in my lifetime, but it’s a major step forward in particle physics.

This concept has always fascinated me – I mention it here. Physicists have known for a long time that the speed of light is variable (though used as a constant in most equations including light). However, this fundamental constant of nature is now no longer just variable – it can be stopped. I wish Bose and Einstein were alive today to see this. The one human endeavor that continues to leap forward is science. Politics, culture, war, religion, and disease are still the same as they were 2,000 years ago and not very inspiring. However, nature has given us this wonderful way of looking curiously at the world and asking why, how, when? That our little minds could glimpse something true about the universe is profound. I cherish these moments because science gives me hope.

Nature has put together a cool interactive section about this on their website. Take a look.

2 comments On Science Gives Me Hope

  • You say “that the one human endeavor that continues to leap forward is science, while politics, culture, war, religion, and disease are still the same as they were 2,000 years ago.
    I have to say that I feel the opposite and quit frankly I have come to fear our science. You see it is our science that has weaponed the chaos we have allowed ourselves to become, our science positions our wars and the rot of industrial capatalism, and feeds our empty materialism which is destroying our earth, our home.
    Our medicines have allowed us a sham righteousnous to claim supremed intelligence… I could go on and on.
    Our science has promulgated just how irrational and illogical we really are as a species, that we are destroying that which provides us with all of life, our host in life. It reminds me of the dynamics upon which the parasite lives.

  • Well, I guess I understand your point of view and there is a potential for much abuse. Indeed, much abuse has already occurred. However, I imagine that even the most vocal opponents of science and medicine would not deny the benefits. I also doubt if you were dying on an operating table you would decry the abuses of science and medicine. I’m pretty sure you would expect the very best treatment – which would include all of the latest developments in medicine, science, and pharmaceuticals. Of course, you would also be free to reject these treatments on philosophical or moral grounds … but I doubt you would.

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