“I think the moment we stop wondering and stop asking questions about our surroundings, about where we live and our part in it, I think we all start to die off.” –Ken Tapping, astronomer, Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.
A glowing orange doughnut, surrounded by black. The first-ever image of a black hole.
Big for scientists maybe, but is it going to change everyday life? No. At least not now, though there’s no telling what might come from this discovery in the future.
But that’s not the point. Aside from the sheer triumph of it and confirming that Albert Einstein was right when he was putting together his thoughts on relativity a century ago, this somewhat blurry looking image represents the collaboration of scientists in coming together from around the world.
In today’s world, where we are dealing with war, extremism, hatred, oppression, isolationism and more negativity, it’s wonderful to see people can set all that aside and work to a single goal.
It’s a pity politicians don’t seem able to work together the same way.
There are countless examples of where pure research has led to practical applications that have changed our lives and societies for the better. But there is a more basic reason it’s important.
Curiosity. That black hole also represents mankind’s need to strive, to know more, to see what’s beyond that next mountain range, to keep pushing forward.
Curiosity is what made the human race what it is. Without that long history of people saying “I wonder…” we would not be where we are.