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Restarting Civilisation Episode 1


Richard Feynman once said, “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms-little particles that that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount  of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.”

So we asked the people featured in this app, what scientific idea would they like in their back pocket in the event we had to restart civilisation.

The idea that there are these seemingly fundamental physical laws

Almost, I’d say, just take away the fact that it is possible to learn and understand more about the world by experimenting and finding out the laws that underpin it.  Because there are so many different branches of science and even now we’re still going, ‘What happens if we take this branch and apply some of the knowledge we’ve got from there in another branch?’  And that just tends to illuminate both branches together, so I think if you can just take that, the idea that there are these seemingly fundamental physical laws, and even on a bigger scale that you can write laws that, they’re not fundamental but they describe so many situations.

I think if you know that’s there that’ll at least help people to drive towards it and recover what had been lost in the apocalypse.