What would happen if history could be rewritten as casually as erasing a blackboard? Our past would be like the shifting sands at the seashore, constantly blown this way or that by the slightest breeze. History would be constantly changing every time someone spun the dial of a time machine and blundered his or her way into the past. History, as we know it, would be impossible. It would cease to exist.
As Heinz Pagels has said, The challenge to our civilization which has come from our knowledge of the cosmic energies that fuels the stars, the movement of light and electrons through matter, the intricate molecular order which is the biological basis of life, must be met by the creation of a moral and political order which will accommodate these forces or we shall be destroyed. It will try our deepest resources of reason and compassion.
I used to watch the old 'Flash Gordon' series on TV, and it was thrilling to rocket to the planet Mongo every week. But after a while, I figured out that although Flash got the girl and all the accolades, it was really Dr. Zarkov who made the series work. Without Dr. Zarkov, there could be no Flash Gordon.
Some advice: keep the flame of curiosity and wonderment alive, even when studying for boring exams. That is the well from which we scientists draw our nourishment and energy. And also, learn the math. Math is the language of nature, so we have to learn this language.
There are many examples of old, incorrect theories that stubbornly persisted, sustained only by the prestige of foolish but well-connected scientists. . . . Many of these theories have been killed off only when some decisive experiment exposed their incorrectness. .. Thus the yeoman work in any science, and especially physics, is done by the experimentalist, who must keep the theoreticians honest.
A hundred years ago, Auguste Compte, ... a great philosopher, said that humans will never be able to visit the stars, that we will never know what stars are made out of, that that's the one thing that science will never ever understand, because they're so far away. And then, just a few years later, scientists took starlight, ran it through a prism, looked at the rainbow coming from the starlight, and said: "Hydrogen!" Just a few years after this very rational, very reasonable, very scientific prediction was made, that we'll never know what stars are made of.
It would be great if we had our own personal force fields. Just imagine creating your own architecture in your room. Buildings. You wouldn't have to spend all that time saving your money for that second house. You'd simply push a button and have as many houses as you want.
We're headed for what is called Type 1 Civilization, planetary civilization. Type 2 would be stellar civilization, like Star Trek. Type 3 Civilization would be galactic, like Star Wars. We are Type 0. We get our energy from dead plants, oil and coal. But the question is: Will we make it? Will we make the transition from Type 0 to Type 1? It's not clear.