Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Scientist by Bill Chance

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
It matters that you don’t just give up.”
― Stephen Hawking

Sign on storefront.


Craig walked down the hall past a room full of kids playing video games, one of them asked him, “Are you really a scientist?”
“Yes, I suppose I am.”
“See, I told you,” said Tom, Craig’s son.
“What kind?” asked his friend.
“Well, I’m a chemist… do you know what that means?”
“Well, I study what happens when you mix things and heat them in certain ways, sort of.”

That’s not a very good answer, he knew. There isn’t a very good way to explain what chemistry is to a kid that doesn’t know what a chemical is. Thinking about it later, Craig should have explained what kind of chemist he was and what his job entailed. He sat down in the TV room to chill for a minute and think about science and what it meant to him.

On the tube was a little documentary. They showed some stuff about Stephen Hawking. Hawking was talking about understanding black holes, the Big Bang, the moment of creation. He talked about grasping the way the universe came into being and said, “and then we will know the mind of God.”

Then, after a commercial break, the documentary changed to a story about a guy that made robots, little six legged guys that imitated life in strange ways. The robot guy said something about robot making maybe being a man thing – men can’t make life, so robots are as close as they get. He discounts that, though, because there are more women than men in his lab.

Craig thought about the creating life thing. Then he thought about Frankenstein. Then about science and knowledge and curiosity.

Creating life isn’t the thing. Any moron can create life. The folks in the trailer park seem to be creating plenty. Or think about a pumpkin seed. Is it alive? Two pumpkin seeds, one live, one not – can you tell the difference?

The important quest isn’t to create life, but to understand it. To somehow know more about the miracle, how it works, where it is going.

That is to know the mind of God.

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