On this day in 1996 one of the greatest communicators of science passed away. Not only was he a great communicator of science but he refused to allow the subjects he talked about to be divorced from the social context in which science ‘happens’. This is extremely clear in his book The Pale Blue Dot in which he talks about capturing an image of the planet Earth, our home, from millions of miles away and what that image means.
A pertinent message and one so needed now as it was when he wrote that book. Nationalism, racism sexism and all things that seek to separate and weaken us are absurd when seen on the real, cosmic scale. After all what matter where you were born, why is being born in the UK, or anywhere else for that matter, something special? What is truly special is that the atoms that make up your body were fused in the heart of a star that then exploded seeding the building blocks of life into the universe. And the same is true for every single being on this planet, for the planet itself, and for all matter in the universe. Now that’s special and it unites us all.