What's Your Favorite Science Theory?
Bangalore: John Brockman, the literary agent who presides over the online salon Edge.org every January puts forward a question and asks his circle of scientists and scholars to tackle the question. In the past few years questions like ‘What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?’ ‘How is the internet changing the way you think?’ ‘What have you changed your mind about? Why?’, have been asked.
This year a very interesting question was posed by Brockman. "What is your favorite deep, elegant or beautiful explanation?" was the question asked. The responses to this question were related to scientific theories and were out of the box as well.
Several of the 191 scholars nominated what are arguably the two most powerful scientific theories ever developed. Dawkins, emeritus professor at Oxford University says "Darwin's natural selection wins hands down," as reported by Reuters. He added that "Never in the field of human comprehension were so many facts explained by assuming so few," pointing at the theory that encompasses everything about life, based on the idea of natural selection operating on random genetic evolution.
Einstein's theory of relativity, which explains gravity as the curvature of space, also gets a few acknowledgements. "This central idea has shaped our ideas of modern cosmology and given us the image of the expanding universe," said theoretical physicist Steve Giddings of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He explains general relativity - black holes, bending of light and "even offers a possible explanation of the origin of our Universe - as quantum tunneling from 'nothing’.”