Human World

Alan Alda on seeing beauty through science

Alan Alda: When I was a kid, I read the romantic poets. I loved them. And they loved daffodils. You know, “my heart leaps up when I behold a host of lovely daffodils.”

Actor and writer Alan Alda, star of the television program M*A*S*H and Scientific American Frontiers, talked to EarthSky about seeing the beauty of daffodils, and the world, through science.

Alan Alda: When I began to read what scientists had to say about nature, I saw that they were going into the flower. They were looking at the cell structure of it. They then went down almost into that nearly infinite universe of the particles in the nucleus of the atom.

Alda said that scientists interpret the world with a sense of wonder that comes with discovery.

Alan Alda: The wonder of it is that there’s no end to it. The more people seem to understand about the universe, the more questions it raised.

Alda talked about one of the biggest questions people can ask, which is, “just what is our universe?” Astronomers think that 96 percent of the entire universe is completely invisible, what they call “dark matter” and “dark energy.”

Alan Alda: And when we figure out some way to observe it, we’ll find out that that has raised other questions. New doors are open, and there’s a whole new landscape to explore. How can you not be filled with wonder at that?

Alan Alda spoke with us in advance of his appearance at the World Science Festival, connecting science and art in New York City.

May 26, 2008
Human World

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