2004 : WHAT'S YOUR LAW?

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Freelance print and radio writer; editor of the Pathways of Discovery essay series for Science Magazine
Amato's Law of Awe

Amato's First Law of Awe

Awe begins in the eye of the beholder.

Limited as it is, biology's homegrown sensory physiology is sufficient in our case to ignite wonder and curiosity about just where it is we find ourselves thrown, how we got there, and how we can even know anything at all. Therein lies the beginning of science.

Amato's Second Law of Awe

Transcending our own sensory limitations with technological tools of observation, a relentless theme of the history of science, enhances the experience of awe itself because it expands the variety of attributes of the universe that we can know about. Therein lies one of the most underrated values of science.

(For example, we used to see the world in only a rainbow of colors. Our tools have shown us that the rainbow is a mere sliver of electromagnetic wavelengths sandwiched between an infinitude of previously invisible ones.)