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NOW 2008

In praise of darkness

The Role of the Night in the Development of Humanity


The night, a setting for dreams and fears, has been a determining factor in the mental evolution of humanity. The stars have guided us in journeys over land and sea, have shown us how to count the passing of time and, with their regular movements, have demonstrated how nature’s behaviour can be predictable.


Using these basic tools, mankind has built its scientific and cultural evolution and has learned how to dramatically alter the planet with long-term effects. Ironically, one of the first changes has been the fact that the excessive quantity of light we waste to combat our ancestral fear of the dark is keeping us from seeing the stars. Saving this vision may seem frivolous but it is a determining factor in our development

Jordi José is a member of the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC-CSIC, Space Studies Institute of Catalonia), director of the Dpt. of Nuclear Physics et the UPC (Politecnical University of Catalonia) and co-author of Física y ciencia ficción, entre otros. Jordi Torra is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the UB and member of the IEEC-CSIC. Lawrence Krauss is director of the Dpt. of Physics at Case Western Reserve University (USA) and author, among others, of Atom: A Single Oxigen Atom's Journey From The Big Bang To Life On Earth... And Beyond. Jordi Isern is director of the Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (Space Sciences Institute - ICE-CSIC) and of the IEEC.


Moderators: Jordi Isern

Participants: Jordi José, Lawrence Krauss, Jordi Torra

This activity is part of NOW. April 2008, NOW 2008

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