Thursday, 5 February 2009

romantic science

I once read or watched an interview with Sir David Attenborough. There was some mention made of him being a romantic and the interviewer commented that it seemed odd for a scientist to be a romantic. Sir David picked up a stone which contained a fossil and talked about the way that holding the stone connected him to a plant or animal that was alive many thousands of years ago. "Isn't that the most romantic thing in the world?" he asked.

He had articulated perfectly the reason why I love biology. I might be a little more restricted than Sir David because fossils hold little interest for me but I could go weak at the knees over the design of a diatom.

I am forever amazed at the balance in an ecological system, by the way that there is always an organism to remove the rubbish, there are microbes to keep us healthy and birds to pick lice from cattle......
I love the grandeur of an elephant or a mountain and I am intrigued with the irridescent colour on a beetle.
Sir David's series "Life on Earth" started my appreciaton of science and the man himself inspired a whole generation of scientists. It would seem that romance and science are almost two sides of one coin and I am pleased to recognise that the romantic in me inspires the scientist in me.


  1. 'Life on Earth' was absolutely brilliant- I loved that series! It was David Attenborough's enthusiasm which made it so compelling- he was (still is) in love with his subject and that really came across. Being in love is romance isn't it?

    Art and Science have to go hand-in-hand- its the yin-yang thing i think:)

  2. When I read the title Romantic Science I figured it was about Viagra. I guess I was wrong.

  3. Hi Kylie,

    That was very good television! I'm glad they produce programs like that becuase it really is the best of what is on and I think this work did exactly what you said - changed peoples lives.

    Best wishes,


  4. Sir David Attenborough has a brother Richard Attenborough,(is he a knight too?) who is a film producer I think. Do film producers possess a certain romantic set of properties? Is Richard, a sibling of Sir David's, the other side of the science/romance coin?

  5. Kia ora Kylie,
    Wonderful thoughts and I am the same way. There is such a deep connection inside of us to Nature, to its patterns, to its evolvement, to its wonder. Time to go for a walk! Have a great day! Happy Waitangi Day from New Zealand.

  6. cinnamon,
    funnily enough my liam came in and told me that david attenborough is boring!

    have great weekend

  7. bob,
    do viagra and romance fit in the same sentence?

    have fun babe

  8. skeeter,
    no arguments from me!

    all the best

  9. dad,
    film making is also a science as well as an art, eh?
    i dont know if richard is sir dick :)

  10. robb,
    happy whaitangi day to you too!
    does that mean a day off?

    have a good weekend

  11. Sir David Attenborough is a genius.

    Thank you for the great comment on my post about the bushfire sun - and your good wishes for today.

    I actually drove through the bushfire-hit area yesterday and the smoky smell still lingers.

    As you said so succinctly in your comment - they can come from any direction.


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