Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Keep Lawyers Out of Science

I have mentioned the great Carl Sagan here before. Today I received from Amazon the new DVD set of his marvellous and seminal television series Cosmos. Of course, I have seen the series before, just as I have read the book, but you can't get enough of a (very) good thing...

I have just watched the first episode of the series, Shores of the Cosmic Ocean (yes, you can see it on YouTube, but the quality hardly does it justice). In this episode Sagan takes us on a journey from half way to the edge of the universe, past distant galaxies to an insignificant corner of the universe where we find an insignificant galaxy. In an insignificant corner of that galaxy we find an insignificant star, and orbiting that insignificant star is an insignificant planet, the Earth. It has been my lot in life to spend my time dealing with the laws of an insignificant corner of that insignificant planet. For a foolish moment it occurred to me that the great minds wastefully devoted to such an insignificant pastime as the law could have achieved great things had they devoted those minds to the pursuit of science. Then I came to my senses: perhaps it is better after all that we keep lawyers out of science...


  1. Cosmos is truly seminal stuff, dispatching science to the masses on an eminently understandable and truly attractive level. Until I watched it I had no idea of what a google was ( or even a googleplex)or even much notion of the speed of light. Needless to say, I consumed the book within days of recieving it as a christmas present - and now that the series is out on DVD, I shall rush off to buy it.
    Sagan always did make completely compelling viewing...


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