Cosmic experimentation


Image source: CERN

Just got an interesting events notice via the CERN newsletter. The good news: the event will be podcast. The bad news is: it’s in French. But: you have till 16 September to grab yourself a French speaker or, like me, brush up your vocabulary!

Anyway, here is the announcement:

Lecture in French
Date : Thursday, 16 September, 2010 at 8:30 p.m.

Hubert Reeves & François Bon
The astrophysicist delivers a lecture and holds a conversation with the writer on the subjects of
Astronomy, Ecology and Poetry

“Human presence is conditional on a range of phenomena that involve the entire cosmos. Humans are not a foreign body in the universe: recent discoveries in contemporary astronomy provide indications of how we are interrelated with the objects that shine in the sky. When we observe the stars, we do so with eyes which are made of atoms that were forged inside the stars. However, we are also conducting an enormous, planet-wide experiment in two spheres: climate change and the erosion of biodiversity. Our observations are already revealing the first effects of that experiment, and the forecast for more long-term effects should be a source of anxiety and even trepidation. Unlike a scientist working in a laboratory, if we find that our experiment has gone wrong, we can’t simply stop it. For that matter, we don’t even have the option of leaving the laboratory and going home. We live in our own test tube. The stakes are high. We are talking about nothing less than the future of the Earth’s biosphere. What we know is that life is extraordinarily robust, and it is not in our power to obliterate it. Life will continue to adapt and proliferate as it has been doing for the past four billion years, taking on a bewildering variety of forms. What we don’t know is whether we humans will continue to have a place in this world. In the words of the French poet Saint John Perse: “As far as the frontiers of science are pushed back, over the extended arc of these frontiers one will hear the poet’s hounds on the chase.”

(Hubert Reeves)

Here is a link to the official website.

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