Scientific awe

I experienced my first ever moment of scientific awe.


I realize that sounds a little ridiculous.  What is scientific awe?  Well, here’s an example.


I was reading Dawkins on the train to work this morning, and he was explaining the factors that make this universe friendly to life, and how this planet in particular is situated quite nicely so that life can develop here.  He wrote, “The massive gravitational vacuum cleaner of Jupiter is well placed to intercept asteroids that might otherwise threaten us with lethal collision.”  And I had a little moment where I felt aware, on some physical level, of how all these little things are doing something completely innocent (by innocent I mean that Jupiter isn’t out there blocking asteroids on purpose) and perhaps because of it, here I am.


Just now I wonder … will anything I ever do measure up to Jupiter, just spinning around the sun, taking asteroid hits so that life could develop on Earth over few billion years?



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