Order and Chaos

2003, Science  -  50 min Leave a Comment
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Our world rotates in a constant state of chaos. The role of science, in many respects, is to organize common patterns in such a way that allows us to recognize the order within this chaos. The documentary Order and Chaos, produced by New Atlantis, explores some of the most enlightening scientific discoveries throughout our history which have sought to make sense of chaotic phenomenon in our universe.

"Many features of our world are consequences of this peculiar process where chaotic events come together to produce order," says interview subject John Barrow, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge in London. Examples of this can be found all around us in our weather, the flow of heavy traffic on our roadways, or in the formation of our universe. Through mathematical equations and experimental observation, this dynamic of finding order from chaos also formed the basis for the Big Bang Theory, the universally accepted scientific model that explains the origins of our galaxy through the expansion of matter in space.

In addition to pinpointing the earliest origins of our universe over 13.7 billion years ago, the film shows that science has also led the way in foretelling trends which may endanger the future sustainability of our planet and species. This, in turn, has led to many proactive approaches designed to reverse these trends. In 1973, a hypothesis was first presented that man-made gases were rising into the stratosphere and eroding our planet's protective ozone layer. While this theory was brushed aside as too far-reaching when first published, subsequent discoveries have successfully substantiated its validity. As a result, the Montreal Protocol was born, an international treaty devoted to decreasing occurrences of these destructive gas emissions.

As our understanding of the universe continues to evolve, so does our capacity for exploring the subatomic matter that serves as the foundation of all life. This exploration has led to the discovery of the genetic makeup of all living things, DNA, and a series of practical applications which were once thought impossible.

Our desire to seek order from the chaos of our galaxy and our species is ongoing, and there are still many mysteries we have yet to unravel. Order and Chaos gives voice to these ambitious pursuits, and leaves one excited for the possibilities of who we are, where we come from and where we're going.