When holding a newborn in your arms an avalanche of impressions and thoughts wells forth in your mind. The thought of holding a brand new human being is incredible. The baby seems fragile and helpless, yet the thought of the arduous birth that it has just gone through bears witness to an immense strength. Sometimes, people who have just become parents say that it feels as if their lives are split into two parts when they first see their child. Until that moment it has been difficult to imagine themselves as parents, however much they tried. But when the child lies in their arms, peering at the daylight, it is difficult to imagine that they ever lived without it.
They say that the great chemist and physicist Michael Faraday was once asked what the use of science was. He replied: what is the use of a newborn child? Of all questions that cross the minds of new parents, this is certainly one of the less common ones. On the one hand, it is true that every human born is useful. Just think of everything that a new pair of hands will be able to accomplish. Still, the question is absurd, since we do not bring children into the world for the sake of usefulness. There is more to life than productivity and, above all, we hope that our children will be happy.
Just like a child, science carries with it a promise for the future. During the relatively short part of our history that we have occupied ourselves with science our lives have changed entirely. Learning to understand the world ...