Friday, July 27, 2007

Talking to the South Pole

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's good to think about ice in the middle of July. Nothing but ice, wind, the startling crunch of boots on snow in -60 degrees, and not one, but three south poles to contemplate, encircled by the flags of many nations - the only spots of color in a landscape of oblivion.

What I love most about being human is the connection I feel in the place where science, art, and religion all come together. Yesterday's program about Project Ice Cube brought me into that place of rare convergence and left me there to contemplate the sublime folly of such projects, both grandiose and preposterous. Will they succeed in capturing neutrinos, those ghostly particles more fictional than fact? Do neutrinos really hold the key to our understanding of dark energy, the Big Bang, and why our universe is expanding so rapidly? Nobody knows.
To do something for its own sake rather than to reach a goal strikes me as the highest form of human endeavor.

After the program was over, the physicists actually admitted that what they most hope to find is nothing at all. That would rule out all the current theories and force them to start all over again. As my husband is so found of saying, "The Messiah must never come."

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