I recently committed to reading a book on the life of Galileo. What a fascinating life!
In the 1500s, one of the significant controversies swirling about amongst those who spent time thinking about the world around them was the tides. What made them go back and forth? What forces were at work? The prevailing thoughts from the world of theoretical and experiential science, religion, common sense, and more all offered solutions. The dominant thinking, however, was captured with this idea.
If you floated a boat on the water with a bit of water in it, here’s is what could be observed. If no force acted upon the boat, the water rested in the middle. If the boat slowed, the water moved to the front of the boat. Therefore, there must be a force that moved the water. Galileo theorized the boat’s speed is affected by a change in the earth’s movements of speed or direction, which causes the water contained in the earth’s basins to slosh around. Galileo never did quite get why the tides worked the way they did. Newton did that around 1687, 50 years or so later.
This led me down the rabbit hole with this chain link ladder. Newton’s very basic concept, which we take for granted, took years to take hold in everyday thinking. Scientific books were still being hand-copied and, if widespread, were then printed on a press. The selling of these books was complex and often via word of mouth or by gifts within circles of interest.
Now I jump to the times I’m living in. My access to books is virtually unlimited and worldwide, and close to instantaneous. Scientific pursuit now has tools that were unknown just a decade ago. Folks are exploring molecules, atoms and invisible matter.
Some covid-19 vaccines were created in a laboratory from scratch. We see pictures of round balls with spikes sticking out that are images of the virus. Imagine how hard it would be to create vaccines if all you had was a theory of what they looked like.
I’m thankful for the times I live in.
So please give this a bit of a think. During this Thanksgiving season, set aside a few moments to think about what you are grateful for. To help you, pretend you had a small virtual suitcase with you. What is the one thing you are most thankful for that you would put into the suitcase? Now try sharing that one item with at least one other person.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m very grateful for all the readers of this Blog, their sharing of it with others, and honest feedback and comments.
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