In November of 2007, Jerry Seinfeld lent his multitude of talents to Bee Movie, in which he played a young bee, wanting more in his life than the dull drone of the hive. Striking out on his own, his spunky character had a series of misadventures including an unlikely relationship with Renee Zellweger. As it turns out, in the real world, worker bees are leaving their homesteads in America at an alarming rate.
I was interviewed the other day by a journalist who asked me the following questions: Why is science outreach important? What does it matter whether people know anything about what is going on at the forefront of esoteric areas like cosmology? My response was colored by a recent experience giving a lecture to inaugurate the International Year of Astronomy at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
I was lecturing on “The Impact of Modern Cosmology on Culture.” And the point that really hit home as I prepared my lecture is the fact that the existence of the Big Bang really deeply permeates the modern Zeitgeist. The discovery in 1929 that the Universe was expanding, combined with Le Maitre’s realization that Einstein’s General Relativity required a Big Bang (a fact that Einstein ridiculed until he realized it was correct), meant the Universe has a beginning.
Pixar's new movie, UP, raked in a healthy $68 million in ticket sales over the weekend, and seems poised to be another hit for the Oscar-winning animation studio. It's the tale of an elderly curmudgeon named Carl Frederikson (voiced by Ed Asner) who decides to get away from it all via a unique mechanism: he strings an enormous bunch of helium-filled balloons to his house, lifting it high into the air.