Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cosmos Conundrum

What is in a black hole? Some could say everything, since it apparently sucks in everything that gets too close. However, others could argue there’s nothing in it, as scientists speculate that they eventually disappear, turning into nothing.

Steven Hawking has devoted his career to questions like this. He has come up with some theories that would undermine the very principles of quantum mechanics, upon which rests much of our understanding of the cosmos, matter, and, well, pretty much everything.

But regardless of how “out there” his theories may be, it might be worth mentioning that they are just that: theories.

Even Hawking mentions that there is probably a one percent chance any of his theories about black holes could be tested, let alone proven true. On this note, one almost has to ask “what’s the point?”

It seems a bit senseless to squabble over theories of things we obviously don’t understand, considering we may never be able to prove what is, or is not, true. I’ll be the first to admit I know absolutely nothing about black holes or quantum mechanics, but I also have never devoted my life to trying to understand something I will probably never be able to understand, hypothesizing things I can never test.

This, however, is the nature of science, the challenge to understand the unknown. Not to say that science is a waste of time, do not misunderstand my intentions. I believe science is a very admirable field of study, and much of the information we learn from science has helped to improve nearly every aspect of our lives.

But it almost seems that humans, as a species, need to know everything, even about things that will never affect us. We want to know what Pluto is made of, what a black hole is all about, if there is life out there somewhere… is it impossible to accept that we are here and let that be enough?

I have a feeling someday science will disprove the theories behind every religion and probably show that everything we feel, think, and act upon is part of some grand scheme that can be calculated. I’m afraid something like that would take away all the color in life, the mystery, the romance. We can’t just appreciate something simple like the changing of the leaves in the fall, or the way the waves of the ocean leap at our feet. Everything has to be defined, even things we can’t see.

Personally, I prefer my world to be colorful and mysterious. I like to ponder things great and small. I give all the power in the world to people like Hawking, I hope he proves once and for all what is and is not inside a black hole. Just don’t expect me to be the first one to read that article.

As for the Discover article, I believe I would give it a solid 87. I liked the lede, though the first sentence could have been more intriguing. The content was very informative, written coherently. The transitions were clear and affective. I believe there were a few things that could have been explained better, but all and all I think it was good.

Grade breakdown:
Lede: 17
Content: 18
Organization: 17
Quality: 18
Clarity: 17

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