Albert Einstein expressed his awe for the beauty of reality and humanity’s exploration of it in this manner:
“If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it”
“One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike – and yet it is the most precious thing we have.”
Many other scientists profess a similar passion. Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins are well known for their enthusiastic popularisation of science – for bringing the awe and understanding to the general public. Carolyn Porco is also a great populariser of science.
She is an imaging scientist involved in the exploration of the outer solar system using spacecraft. Porco made several discoveries in her work and has been honoured for these in the naming of an asteroid (7231 Porco). Her work with the Cassini Imaging experiment enables her to convey some of the beauty of the solar system to the public using images of Saturn and its moons.
Porco conveys her enthusiasm for this work in the video below. It describes important research on Saturn’s moons and includes many of the Cassini images. She presents images taken during the landing of the Huygens probe on the moon Titan.
One of Carolyn Porco’s messages is that the Cassini/Huygens mission was international (NASA & the European Space Agency). This is a great example of the internationalism of modern science, an example of the ability of humanity to overcome tribal, national and religious differences and work for the good of the whole species.
Placed alongside this religions, to me, just exhibit a poverty of imagination. Their bronze-age myths just can’t compare.
Carolyn Porco: Fly me to the moons of Saturn (19 min)
Science, art & pumpkins
Miracles and the supernatural?
Can science enrich faith?
Limits of science or religious “fog”?
Debating science and religion
Questions science cannot answer?
Richard Dawkins and the enemies of reason
Humility of science and the arrogance of religion
Limits of science, limits of religion
Science and the supernatural
Isaac Newton and intelligent design
Morals, values and the limits of science
Intelligent design/creationism I: What is scientific knowledge?