Today I was watching a lesser known film titled ‘Einstein and Eddington’. For those who have not yet had the chance of watching it, the film is the tale of two scientists, one German and the other English, set in the backdrop of the First World War and meaning to show how science, which was at that time, the right hand of the military, transcended national identities to give a clearer picture of the universe as we know it today.
This blog post is not a review of the film but rather an amalgamation of thoughts that it evoked at its outset.
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The correspondence of scientists from two countries at war on a planet that is so miniscule that it fades into insignificance at the magnitude of the theory that one of them developed and the other attempted to prove says something about human endeavour and its burning passion for knowledge even in the most brutal of times.
The 1900s were probably not the best of times for free scientific research because of the pressures of continuous conflicts and the race to be at the forefront of technological innovation that was spurred on by warring factions in Europe.
Today, the times are different and collaboration has reached a level where it’s difficult to pinpoint which country developed what because scientific approach today is one where the entire race is benefited from work towards a common goal by shared research and development.
It is almost magical (and that’s an ironical adjective to use) to see how correspondence between two great and open minds helped to establish the new laws of gravity and its behaviour in the universe. What’s more is that an English scientist helped a German scientist prove Sir Isaac Newton wrong.
This uncommon, possibly dangerous and mildly traitorous collaboration at that time brought about future discoveries that would have otherwise been delayed by decades of war. And all it took was one moment of courage and determination by one scientist to pose a question to another who was looking to answer that very question but didn’t know how to.
This goes a long way in showing how much good humanity is capable of; it speaks of a glimmer of hope amidst the devastation of war and the continuous search for the truth in the bleakest times of barbarity that can be conjured up. The same mind that can unravel whole civilizations can also unravel the threads of the universe.
Humanity has two faces and even though it might feel like the good side is faded beyond recognition, it shines more brilliantly at the worst of times to give hope and satisfaction to those with faith.