I have always been fascinated by science. As a young lad, I took a liking to astronomy and even owned a telescope. Through the years, I have been a big fan of Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard), Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye (The Science Guy).
Unfortunately, my affinity for science and my aptitude are worlds apart. I’ll watch Cosmos and be absolutely intrigued. But ask me to articulate what I’ve just seen, and I develop a severe case of mashed potato mouth.
I fully appreciate that the greatest strides humanity has made, certainly in the past 500 years, are because of science. Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Curie, Salk, Edison. Try imagining a world without these great minds. It would not be an overstatement to say that every minute of every day has been extraordinarily enhanced by a great scientific mind. When we talk on our iPhones, drive our cars, turn on our televisions, drink a glass of pure water, or make a food purchase at the local supermarket, we should all thank science for giving us these (and numerous other) necessities and luxuries.
So when I heard several months ago that there was going to be a March for Science in Washington, I thought it would be the perfect time for me to say thank you to the scientists, past and present, who have made my life much more enjoyable than it would have been without them. An adventure like this is always more fun with someone you really like, so I called my buddy George Colombo and asked him to join me. George and his wife Sandy recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia (less than three hours away from Washington) after living in Winter Springs for 24 years. George is an enormously talented writer who contributed several stories to Lake Mary Life before he moved away 15 months ago.
For six hours, George and I withstood downpours of rain to be a part of something special. And we agreed afterward that we would do it again – even in the rain – if we had the opportunity.
The trip was worth it just to observe the myriad of inventive signs, many of which were painstakingly created specifically for the occasion. While I was able to understand most of them – “Got polio? Yeah, me neither. Thank a scientist.” – some were more on the brainy side – “Ignoring Science Is √2.” (If you can’t figure that one out either, the answer will be at the end of the blog.)
I am not so naïve as to think there weren’t political overtones surrounding the proceedings. But science and politics have always been connected one way or the other. I remember in the mid-1960s when I often heard the complaint: “Why are we spending so much money putting a man on the moon when we should be spending it here on earth?” Fair enough. But if we hadn’t had a space program, today we wouldn’t have solar panels, freeze-dried food, the ear thermometer, cell-phone cameras, UV-blocking sunglasses, MRI and CAT scans, and hundreds of other things that have dramatically changed our lives.
Just a thought.
The √2 is an irrational number, a number that cannot be written as a fraction, like pi. So the sign is saying: “Ignoring Science Is Irrational.”
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