You Are Here

Uploaded by wasabimilkshake on 09.03.2011

You are here.
George Washington is here.
Jesus of Nazareth is here.
Back here, the first humans migrated out of Africa.
And here, the first anatomically modern humans emerged.
For as long as we've been around, we've been trying to get a grasp on where we are.
At first, we were concerned with survival. Our world centered on us, and consisted only
of where we went, where food might be, and where threats could come from.
Eventually, we settled down. We began to send explorers farther than ever before, and we
wondered how far into the distance they could go.
As we continued to explore and to think, we discovered something astonishing: that the
world is a sphere — that the flat ground we stand on eventually wraps around on itself.
Soon we settled on the seemingly common-sense notion that our world is at the center of
all things, with the sun, moon, stars, and planets revolving around us.
In the next 1700 years, we gained a new perspective without ever changing our vantage point. The
realization that the earth orbits the sun was arrived at solely through thought; through
the application of the scientific method.
Suddenly, we were no longer at the center of the universe.
We later discovered that our star is one of billions in a collection of stars we call
the Milky Way.
We clung to the idea that we were somehow special, assuming that our star lay at the
center of the galaxy. But this idea was soon proven false. We were one of a few hundred
billion ordinary stars in one of a few hundred billion galaxies in the known universe.
When Edwin Hubble observed that every other galaxy appeared to be rushing away from us,
it seemed for a moment that we were once again at the center. But it quickly became apparent
that space itself was expanding — that, essentially, there is no center of the universe.
The universe is a very big place.
We've only really begun to understand these things in the past hundred years. This time
is the blink of an eye in our 200,000-year history as a species, and we're continuing
to learn about our surroundings as time goes by.
That 200,000 years, by the way, is one thousandth of one percent (0.001%) of the time since
the big bang.
The universe is a very big place.