The Human Side of Particle Physics
Historical trends certainly had an effect on how physics as a discipline progressed. These trends affected the lives of many people.
Ray Jayawardhana is an astrophysicist at the University of Toronto. Hailed as "the new dean of popular science," Jayawardhana's discoveries have made headlines worldwide and led to accolades such as the Steacie Prize, the McLean Award, and a Radcliffe Fellowship.
You might think of particle physics as a pursuit but it’s being done by human beings. So we do have interactions and connections with the rest of the world in our lives and make choices that have to do with our environment and people in our lives and historical events and trends.
So it’s not that surprising that physicists would get caught up in something as domineering as a world war. And, in fact, the Second World War was in some ways "The Physicists' War." Physicists really did play a major role, especially with the Manhattan Project in developing the weapons that ended up having a decisive effect on the progression of the war.
Given what was happening in the world it’s no surprise that physicists, just like anyone else, would get caught up. Enrico Fermi is a key player in fundamental physics and also in neutrinos. He’s the one who gave the name neutrino – Italian for little neutral one. Many physicists like Fermi left Europe because of anti-Semitism. So historical trends certainly had an effect on how physics as a discipline progressed. These trends affected the lives of many people.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.
- Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
- The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
- Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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