10 May 2018

U.S. Citizenship

I become a U.S. citizen in May of 2018. Here are some of the reasons why.

Born in the U.K., Living in the U.S.

People forget the U.S. Constitution mandates that Congress “promote the progress of science”.

That mandate means that since 1787, we have supported some of the best scientific minds in the history of our species and achieved technological feats unimaginable to our ancestors. From Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk, through Einstein, Fermi, Oppenheimer, and Feynman, citizens of the United States have broken through scientific and technological boundaries, shown us the fabric of our universe, and given us a euphoric vision of our future. We made powerful, pocket-sized computers, walked on the moon, and decoded the very structure of our existence.

Despite these extraordinary achievements, many of our species seem unable to grasp some basic principles that science has shown us. Blinded to the follies of fossil fuels, ignorant to the impact of unregulated armaments, and oblivious to the need for an excellent education system, this lack of understanding has made it easy to destroy our dreams, trample on our delicate planet, and suffocate the rights of all but a privileged few.

We must do everything we can to restore scientific literacy to the majority. We must fight to restore the shine lost from that city on the hill, and revive our country to an example that resonates around the world.

The Place for Space

In April 2018, we witnessed the launch of the TESS mission on another of Musk’s Falcons. TESS is the latest of an ever-increasing lineage of space telescope that have shown us the incredible societal impact of space and science exploration. From Hipparcos to Newton, Spitzer and Kepler, space telescopes frequently bear the names of great scientists who have changed our cosmic perspective.

Proudly leading these orbiting observatories is the Hubble Space Telescope—an incredible example of the human spirit. For over a quarter century, it has witnessed catastrophic cosmic collisions, the paths of planets around other stars, and the pillars of chemical creation. It told us the very age of our universe itself. The jaw-dropping natural beauty of images returned by Hubble has inspired generations of engineers and scientists to become part of the path of human progress. It has shown us that we are desperately insignificant beings on a fragile planet existing but for a blink in cosmic history. So what will you do with your blink?

We must use the awe inspired by scientific marvels like Hubble to overhaul our species' appreciation for life. We must spread the word about the significance of science and how it impacts our lives: It extends us, saves us, and gives us the opportunity to make ourselves, and each other, comfortable, fulfilled, and happy.

As we march toward a more perfect union, we must demand that science drive policy. We must demand policies based on evidence and not the deep pockets of special interests; policies based on liberty and justice for all, and not forced from a bigoted oligarchy; policies that protect our future, our children’s future, and the future of our planet; policies not sold out to greedy corporations choking our environment and holding our health hostage.

Once we begin to turn the tide of anti-intellectualism, we must overhaul our education system to unashamedly include scientifically progressive curricula. Imagine a country filled with critical thinkers. Imagine a country filled with voters immune to logical fallacies. Imagine a country bursting with cosmic humility and numeracy. Imagine a country where science leads the way and ensures we can all live long and prosper.