Sunday, March 14, 2010

I love science



Only because I think Brian Cox is the coolest rock star physicist ever, and because he raves about it, I've been watching old episodes of Cosmos with Carl Sagan (on hulu.com). I am so enjoying it.

Cosmos is an icon of its time, (as is all art as well as all science). Though Sagan was the grooviest of groovies, seen through the lens of the decades that have passed since the series was made, his point of view is quaint to my modern sensibility. He speaks repeatedly of the "dominating intelligence" of human beings, and disparages the idiocy of nuclear weapons, for instance. I'm not clear that anyone I know actually sees nuclear war as a real possibility anymore. It was so of that time. Also, since the 1970's when Cosmos was made, we've stopped thinking of ourselves as a dominating intelligence, at least within the realm of popular science shows.

These days, in most science documentaries, we focus on global warming and the loss of so many species on earth. We endlessly blame ourselves for every damn thing. That's one reason I have come to dislike science museums. It's all about how bad we are these days, rather than about science. Such a gloomy way to look at the marvels of our reality, don't you think? (Not to excuse our wastefulness or mindlessness, should say.)

One thing we have now that we didn't have then are incredible special effects. In the 1970's there was no such thing as the Hubbel telescope either, so we didn't have all the stunning pictures of stars and planets, in HD, to work with.

I don't get BBC TV on the cable here in the house on Tennessee Avenue, so I'll have to wait until Brian Cox's The Seven Wonders of the Solar System finds its way onto the internet to see full episodes. I'm content in the meantime to walk down memory lane with Carl Sagan and his essentially psychedelic 1970's worldview of science.

I wonder how Brian Cox will look thirty years from now? Hmmm...

15 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

If you're in the mood to watch a clip of Carl Sagan, this one is pretty good.

ellen abbott said...

It's amazing, isn't it, how we always think we have it all figured out and then 30 years later we realize we didn't then but now we do?

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Great video. It is exhilarating to what Brian Cox. Good analogies. Great explanations.

Linda Sue said...

Yeah, I LOVE this shit! Makes the pile of laundry look insignificant.

Elizabeth said...

Science utterly bewilders me.
R. started out as a chemist.....!
I stagger along wonderfing t things but agree that scientists are amonst the most creative of people.

lakeviewer said...

Exhilarating! A great comment about the gloomy take in museums. Never thought about it before, but quite true; we ought to be saying things like, many forces impinge on...such as...including man's inventions and progress...forces we can't yet control or understand...

steven said...

reya i like that science makes the mysterious even more mysterious, almost magical! i like that it's about discovering this place that we live in. it's like getting a new house and finding it filled with treasures, new ones every day!!! steven

Ronda Laveen said...

I love this stuff! You know I do. Brian Cox is quite the litte cutester isn't he?

Reya Mellicker said...

Brian Cox is a doll. What I love best about him is how happy he is. Carl was not as jovial, but he was as in awe of the world as Brian.

Natalie said...

Enjoyed it very much, thanks, Reya. :)

Steve said...

I loved "Cosmos" when it was originally on television. I had no idea I could see it on Hulu! I know what I'm doing this week! :)

Joanna said...

I just love this guy's enthusiasm. Thanks for posting. Made my evening!

Barb Mann said...

Thanks, Reya! Thanks for the Saturn's rings clip, and thanks for the intro to Brian Cox. I still miss Carl Sagan and his elegant brain. Our local PBS station used to carry all those wonderful science programs, back when it had money; these days it's letting us vote which of the 20-to-30-year old Britcoms we'll get to watch, plus we get 3 quilting shows in a row on Saturday mornings. Whoopee.

Karen said...

I had such a student-crush on Carl Sagan when I was a kid watching that show! Despite its lack of special effects, I still like the "evolution in minutes" line drawing thing that shows the creature crawling out of the sea and developing into a mammal, then a humanoid... Pretty cool.

Reya Mellicker said...

Cosmos is fascinating! I am really enjoying dipping into it, but it really is such a product of the 1970's - wow.