Jim Al-Khalili, theoretical physicist, author, and broadcaster, writes:
In 2009 we celebrate fifty years since C.P. Snow’s famous Cambridge lecture on the Two Cultures. He was referring in 1959 to the rift and irreconcilable differences, as he saw them, between the sciences and the arts. Are we any closer today to bridging this divide? I see science from two perspectives. On the one hand, I feel it has yet to be accepted comfortably within popular culture along with any other intellectual pursuit of an enlightened society, such as literature, music or history. After all, what can be more fascinating and noble a cause than attempting to answer questions about the Universe and our place in it?
On the other hand, science for me also means the ‘scientific method’. We simply do not have any other rational way of finding out about how and why our world works the way it does and how to use that knowledge when we have it. And of course the next time you get in a car, use your mobile phone, switch on your tv or get inoculated against a disease, remember it is science that has enabled us to develop technologies that have made our lives so much better.
Science is more than just the hard subject at school that preoccupied the smart kids. It is a way of thinking about our world that can lead to changing it for the better.
Find out more about Jim Al-Khalili and his work at his website.