The Journey of Science and Reason

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The Journey of Science and Reason
Prof. H.R. Ahmad*

The Library of Alexandria and a Museum was once the lighthouse of research on this planet. It was the first genuine institution of research based learning in the history of mankind. The scholars of this centre of learning studied the cosmos. It is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is in a way the opposite of chaos. Cosmos implies the deep interconnectedness of all things through both oral and written means of communication. Here was a community of scholars exploring multidisciplinary fields yet being connected to each other in the order of the following: mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, literature, arts, astronomy, geography, biology, engineering and medicine. Science and scholarship had come of age. The Alexandria Library is where humans first collected systematically, the knowledge of the world to draw new road maps of life to live with the enlightenment of science and reason.


PROF. H.R. AHMED

Let me introduce to you scholars of those days and times and their gifts to the world:

  1. Eratosthenes showed us that the earth was not flat using imagination and experimentation.
  2. Euclid taught us the science of geometry.
  3. Hipparchus studied the brightness and constellation of stars.
  4. Dionysius showed us the brain instead of heart to be the seat of intelligence.
  5. Heron modelled steam engines.
  6. Apollonius showed us how to derive ellipse, parabola and hyperbola from the conic sections.
  7. Archimedes was a mechanical genius.
  8. Ptolemy misled the world for 1500 years with his earth-centered model.
  9. Hypatia was a mathematician and an astronomer and proposed the sun-centered model.
  10. Berossus was a Babylonian priest being credited for a 3-Volume History of the World.
  11. Since at beginning of the universe, there were no galaxies, stars and planets, no life, no civilsations. However, we modelled how from the chaos of the big-bang, the orderliness of the universe could evolve finally leading to the transformation of matter into human consciousness of reason, evidence and logic. The journey of science and reason has enlightened the mankind with the following: 1. The age of the universe; 2. The age of the earth; 3. What we are made of; 4. Where we come from; 5. Why we all are so well adapted to the environments; 6. Why we have night and day; 7. Why we have winter and summer; 8. What is maximum speed at which anything can travel; 9. What the sun is; 10. What the Milky Way is; 11. Why the sun neither sets nor rises; 12. We know viral, protozoan and bacterial diseases; 13. We can cross the Arabian Sea in hours; 14. We can land on the moon; 15. How the astrology is replaced by the science of astronomy. 16. How the earth travels around the sun of a distance of 93 million miles per year [Carl Sagan 2013, Richard Dawkins 2017 and Alice Roberts 2013].1-3

The journey of science and reason should continue through the university research laboratories to test the validity of imagination by experimentation. The successful application of the triangle of reason, evidence and logic depends on the summation of faculty work energies and the curiosity of research inquiry, learning and public service to derive the generation cycles of mentors and mentees of institutions. Thus, education liberates mankind through the ability of creative thinking to let the ideas glow to the generation of light [Steven Pinker 2018, Ahmad and Hashmi 2017].4,5

This column is dedicated to the people’s historian of Pakistan Dr Mubarak Ali for inspiring the nation through his work to conceive a humanistic egalitarian civil society.

REFERENCES

  1. Carl Sagan. Cosmos. Ballantine Books, 2013.
  2. Richard Dawkins. Who would rally against reason? Science in the soul. Black Swan 2017.
  3. Alice Roberts. The incredible human journey: BBC Series. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013.
  4. Steven Pinker. Enlightenment Now: a case for science, reason, humanism and progress. Penguin 2018.
  5. HR Ahmad and Satwat Hashmi. Could a doctoral thesis be a research lighthouse? Scientific Writing. Eds Shaukat Ali Jawaid and Masood Jawaid. 2018.

The writer is a professor of physiology at SIUT and AKU.

*Prof. HR Ahmad,
MD PhD Bochum, FCPS.
Professor of Physiology and
HEC Supervisor,
Dept. of Biological and
Biomedical Sciences,
The Aga Khan University,
Karachi, Pakistan.
Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation,
Karachi, Pakistan.
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