Arthur C. Clark
As kids, we marveled at Dad’s hobby of magic tricks and “sleights of hand.” We even attended a live magic show with him. Magicians had showmanship and wonders beyond belief but were still phony. As entertainment, it was a respite from boring everyday events that played out as expected. In time, pulling rabbits out of hats became a ho-hum walk in the park compared to science. Scientific wonders could make you feel more alive.
Sixty years ago, everyone knew we stood on firm land. We were not moving or floating about on magic carpets. Scientists told us the dry land part was correct, but our continents moved like barges through the water. We collided with other “barges” that caused pile-up eruptions forming mountain ranges. The crash created Mt. Everest and other geologic features. It seemed hocus pocus then, but the tectonic plate scientists were right.
A lifetime later, I see impossible-to-believe science stories more fantastic than any card trick or mountain building. No Superman flight is more hocus pocus than the real-life Monarch migration. These butterflies emerge from caterpillars outside Mexico City and fly across the continent to New England. Then their children and grandchildren insects make their way home, mysteriously”, to grandpa’s Mexico birthplace. How does a butterfly fly against prevailing winds, and how do they find the same group of trees in the same forest that only grandpa knew? The navigation machinery and locating the exact trees only grandpa knew is big-time magic. How could Grandpa transmit a geographic address to successive generations?
Pull a rabbit from a hat; easy peasy. But imprinting navigation paraphernalia and destinations into a mini bug’s brain is mystical.
How about the Hubble and Webb telescopes. They take us 97% of the way back to the beginning of time when the Big Bang blew. Webb telescope gives us a time stamp on an astronomical smudge on a film plate. But think about that smudge and the 13.4-billion-year-old universe it depicts. Historians are always looking into the past, the horrors of World Wars 80 and 110 years ago, or bio historians look back 200 million to monster dinosaurs.
What about our universe as it looked in the year 13.4 billion B.C.? That’s not just a quantum step further back in time; it is looking to the time when time began. This is not slapstick showmanship or fake, but unearthly and wonderous. It is more mystical than magic. What else was happening in the embryo universe when the smudge was created?
Science has so much magic coming; you can’t digest it in a single day. However, below are listed discoveries that blow your mind.
*”Quantitative entanglement” with impossible speeds faster than light!
*Teleportation via quantum computers. “Google labs- beam me up.”
*CRISPR gene encoding that saves your life!
^Plants and mushrooms communicate via underground networks. So what do they talk about?
*Lab-grown brain cells playing Pong games
CO2 found on exoplanets. Sign of life or deadly greenhouse gas?
*Higgs Bosson “God particles” What’s the composition of atoms?
One could feel more alive just by encountering such breakthroughs.
There isn’t a write for seniors out there who more magically hits on what’s important.