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My premise is simple: If Einstein hadn't unearthed the Theories of Relativity (there are two), someone else would have - it might have been a hundred years later, but it would have happened. But without Chopin, there are no Ballades - ever. Plus, artists don't kill people (with obvious exceptions, the most obvious of which to remain unnamed). Still, the art itself doesn't kill people unless there's some type of freak accident; well-meaning scientists may be indirectly responsible for the end of humanity, although without them, we'd all be huddled around a fire, shivering inside a cave. Pay close attention here, because this is important: the previous sentence is exactly why I'm not claiming that "Art" is more important than "Science" as a discipline; it isn't. I'm claiming that *individual artists* are more important than *individual scientists,* because science involves discoveries that would be made, regardless of whether or not any particular individual existed, and these discoveries usually stand on the shoulders of giants who lived before them, often being "the final increment" in a multi-century process involving millions of people - it's very rare when breakthrough discoveries are made by one individual that wouldn't have been made by someone else, and in fact, I can't think of a single example. Maybe one day, some crazy loon living on a mountaintop with a telescope will detect a meteor that will destroy the Earth, and give us time to develop a deflector beam, but I don't think anything even resembling this has ever happened. It's possible that people like these make my hypothesis false - I haven't given much thought to any particular person, so I could be proven completely wrong by a simple example. --- This all made me think of a related topic: Which one work of art, or collection of artworks, would devastate you the most if it was suddenly gone? This is not asking what you think "the greatest" work of art is (i.e., Shakespeare plays, Beethoven sonatas, Michelangelo sculptures); it's a very personal question that could involve something as simple as "The Twilight Zone," "Richard Pryor's stand-up comedy," or "Brooks Robinson's defense" - there are no right or wrong answers. As part of the question, let's say that you are doomed to retain all the knowledge about the work, or collection, of art that you currently have, but nobody else knows it ever existed (i.e., Schoeder doesn't play any Beethoven Sonatas). And you can't cheat by re-writing something you've memorized. Because there are no right or wrong answers, I've left this question deliberately ambiguous (with the exception of History and Science, I consider all of these forums to be representative of "art" - others may disagree, certainly when it comes to Sports, and are free to do so: There's no right or wrong discussion point (or at least there shouldn't be), and the conversation itself is of far more value than uncovering any sort of "correct answer.")
"Particle Fever" is perfect for people who have heard of the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson Particle, but don't know why they're important, or have any idea about the mathematics behind them. Its target audience is "intelligent laymen," and the documentary is not condescending (well, maybe in parts, but in general, no). You will walk away from this 100-minute film with a conversational understanding of both the collider and the boson, and will get to live through the same thrill the scientists lived through while "confirming its existence." It really is quite an exciting ride. Along the way, you'll meet people who seem like you and me, but are, in reality, some of the top scientists in their fields - the type of people who get nominated for Nobel Prizes, and at no time will you be bored. It is said that hiring Walter Murch to be the film's editor really made it stand apart from generic documentaries - he brought just enough of Hollywood into it that it's suspenseful. This should be shown in every high school in the country, so students can have a basic understanding of these important concepts. You won't regret investing the time watching it. SPOILER ALERT One of the most poignant moments of the film is seing Peter Higgs (of the Higgs Boson) tearing up as it looks like his particle - which he theorized in 1964 (fifty years ago!) being all-but confirmed in a second, independent measurement. Higgs won the Nobel Prize for Science later in 2013 for this confirmation. It should be mentioned, however, that there are criticisms of the Standard Model, and here is one particularly hostile put-down of the model by gadfly-crank, Alexander Unzicker. I do not know enough theoretical physics to voice an opinion on whether this man is just an angry quack, or if he makes some valid points (I suspect it's a little of both - the Standard Model and some of its offshoots is ridiculous in its complexity, and it *does* seem like physicists these days are designing experiments around theories, instead of vice-versa).
What's a food nerd to do for entertainment after a satisfying meal? How about watching some webinars on food chemistry, and the science behind cooking, brewing, and taste perception, brought to you by the friendly lab-coated folks at the American Chemical Society? http://acswebinars.org/food-chemistry http://acswebinars.org/category/joy-of-science/food-chemistry http://acswebinars.org/category/joy-of-science/culinary-chemistry