Some wisdom from Richard Feynman

Manuel Bautista (West Michigan University)

Richard Feynman

Question: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?”

Answer: “The atom is the fundamental structure of matter: All things are made of atoms – little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.” (Footnote in R.P. Feynman, Lectures on Physics, Harperaudio Publishers, 2006.)

In my much more humble opinion,

Question: If, in some cataclysm, all of astronomical knowledge and data were to be destroyed and only one dataset passed on to the next generation of creatures, what astronomical data would be the most useful and contain the most information about the cosmos?

Answer: Atomic data.

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