Introduction

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How scientists view the universe, and you should too

NASA's Blue Marble, western hemisphere

NASA’s Blue Marble, western hemisphere, NASA via Wikimedia Commons

In order to understand the what and the where, we start with the wherefrom and work our way up to the “Pale Blue Dot”1)A photograph of Earth taken by Voyager I from a record distance of about 6 billion km inspired Carl Sagan to use this term. See it on Youtube. we call Earth. We will go through ideas from the following subjects:

  • cosmology and astronomy – the formation of matter; the birth, life and death of stars, and the subsequent formation of other stars and of solar systems and planets;
  • geology – the evolution of the Earth itself, its surface and atmosphere, what is below the surface and beyond the atmosphere, climate and the evolution of fauna and flora;
  • biology and molecular biology, paleontology – the study of life and its development, to learn about the evolution of living organisms, including man;
  • physiology – the study of cells and organs and organisms;
  • neuroscience – the nervous system and the body’s control center, the brain.

Our path will go by way of certain landmarks, theories without which we would never find our way to the understanding which we have today: quantum mechanics, relativity, plate tectonics and evolution through natural selection. And we will follow the thread of energy and how it is transformed and used.

There will be few, if any, explanations of how we came to “know” it, nor detailed analysis of the gaps in our knowledge, although some of these will be mentioned in order to keep things “fair and balanced”. Names of scientists will be avoided. We will just look at the prevalent current world-view of science as understood by this writer. As such, it is certain to be somewhat out-of-date and subject to change – and maybe soon.

Obviously, all errors or oversights are the complete responsibility of the author.

But now you are tired of promises of what we will do. So let’s get about it! Don’t be afraid, go on to read about basic theories of modern science.

Notes   [ + ]

1. A photograph of Earth taken by Voyager I from a record distance of about 6 billion km inspired Carl Sagan to use this term. See it on Youtube.

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