Friday, April 3, 2015

[Yasmin_discussions] light topics

Dear Yasminers,

I've participated in previous Yasmin discussions,
but let me briefly re-introduce myself as a kinetic
sculptor and writer on techno-art who resides in
that most art-centric city of New Orleans.

I've followed this discussion with some interest,
but I'm surprised not to have seen two topics
pop up -- or maybe I have missed them.

First, it's not been pointed out that Roger was
the principal investigator for NASA's Extreme
Ultraviolet Explorer satellite, and so I would love
to get from him not so much a factual intro to
the ultraviolet part of the spectrum but rather a
more impressionistic "then and now" view of
the status of ultraviolet science within the
scientific community -- this, I suppose, similar
to asking what it is like to be a practitioner of
one jazz style as opposed to another.

The second topic is photosynthesis. How
fascinating that nature has learned to capture
light energy, and this by creating a molecular
web -- porphyrin -- from the typical lightweight
organic CHON elements which is nonetheless
able to retain within itself a relatively much
heavier magnesium atom. And of course
photosynthesis is an analogue for any process
in which simpler elements join forces to
accomplish a sophisticated acquisitive or
perceptual task; i.e., we are reminded of
Teilhard de Chardin's statement -- which we
non-theists can understand in our own way
-- that it is not the individual who will see
God, but rather the entire body of the

G. W. (Glenn) Smith

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