Andrew Baum (02/11/04)
We started our seminar with Professor Putnam, whom I found to be very interesting. I think that hearing information from a firsthand source that I have only read about was very exciting. My favorite fact that he told us was how they named Pluto after Percival Lowell. Next, we began our discussion on how ancient civilizations had such an interest in what all those bright dots were in the sky, and later on why one of them was noticeably red. I have never been to a place out in the middle of nowhere to experience seeing the entire cosmos without outside light interference. I think the process in which humans came to develop technology and learn more about the cosmos up to what we know today is incredible. I would actually like to discuss more, and I think we are in future weeks, the huge difference in technological advances in the time periods when we first learned to fly and when we flew to the moon. We next spoke of societies perception of life on another planet. We talked about how science fiction plays a large role in making people believe things, realistic and unrealistic, and I agree with that. I think sci-fi writers and filmmakers, more so in the past, have triggered fear, curiosity, and excitement in society. Maybe because of these writers' imaginations, some people have been inspired to pursue space exploration, life on other planets, and other explorations. I bet there are some people in our seminar that wanted to take the course because of an interest they had in Science fiction. Another topic we hit on was whether finding life on another planet would make us feel in insignificant, and I think it would. I think that if society found out that we, as humans, were not the most powerful, highest-up species, there would be many problems. Lastly, we touched on science in religion, and I won't talk much about my feelings on that because we are going to discuss it next class. I also really enjoyed seeing the up-to-date photos and discoveries of Mars that we watched at the end of class. I look forward to next week.