Friday, October 10, 2008


I remember a speaker last year say that there are something like a dozen emotions that humans experience, and the one least experienced is awe. Awe. I don't quite know where I'm going with this post because it's hard to describe, but I think 'Awe' sums it up. This past week, I've been overwhelmed by a sense of awe, mainly through my classes as we study nature.

Unlike previous semesters where we just took notes and regurgitated formulas, we're delving into topics that don't have known solutions; they still fluster scientists and engineers. I look back in history at how scientists encountered and solved problems that today seem trivial, yet here we are with a plethora of our own questions, the answers somehow all linked together beautifully to describe the universe. I am in awe at how amazingly intricate, complex, and yet simple nature is. I am in awe by the depth of nature.

By my senior year, we've practically run out of variables to use. We've called upon the English and Greek alphabet, using capital and lower case letters, subscripts and superscripts, and still we joke in class that we'll need to switch to the Hebrew alphabet soon. This is especially true in my Flight Dynamics class. Every day he introduces new variables, new quantities that detail a requirement that must be met for flight. I paused yesterday after class and realized what a miracle it is that an airplane can even fly. Moreover, nature goes about its course - birds fly, gravity keeps us planted, we breath in and out - without ever knowing all the details.

Naturally, more questions come to mind. How trustworthy are our instincts? Is the pursuit of knowledge the only way to understand truth? I'll leave the philosophy open to discussion :-P