Sunday, December 5

Nuclear Energy: Souls and Atoms | The stone ax



Science tends to be coherent, that is, to shed contradictions. But it is paradoxical that the human being, active subject and creator of the scientific method, is full of inconsistencies. A clear example is the one that concerns us today. But let’s go in parts, or better, in moments.

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At first there are the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs. It must be remembered that the poetry of destruction had been launched on July 16, 1945, to be exact, when the Nuclear Age began with the first atomic test in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico. In this first test, the artifact contained plutonium as its fission material. This material was not named so by chance, but by following the series of planets that had served to name the first transuranic element. In this way, after Neptune, Pluto would go, which, in turn, would correspond to element 94 of the series.

The macabre nuclear test was dubbed Trinity, and this was not by chance either, but rather because of the fondness that the physicist Robert Oppenheimer had for poetry, especially that of the English metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631), whose poem Holy Poem XIV alludes in its first two stanzas to the religious dogma that presents God as the union of three persons:

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend

On one occasion, his former teacher, Paul Dirac, amazed by Oppenheimer’s love of poetry, asked him how a scientist could like poetry; to which Oppenheimer replied that poetry and science are the same thing turned upside down, because, while the scientist has to handle enigmatic concepts with words, ideas that nobody understands in order to get everyone to understand them, the poet has to handle concepts that everyone understands with enigmatic words.

Horror and violent destruction are concepts that any human being understands, the difficult thing is to find the words that solve their enigma. For this reason, the best poets are those who manage to decipher the depths of the mystery that hides in the human soul when it suffers.

To speak of the soul in a scientific sense, we can well define it as the immaterial information that human beings have, that is, the only thing that does not change in our body when its molecules are no longer those of our childhood.

Oppenheimer said that poetry and science are the same thing turned upside down, because, while the scientist has to handle enigmatic concepts with words, ideas that nobody understands in order to get everyone to understand them, the poet has to handle concepts that everyone else understands. world understands with enigmatic words

An example of a good poet was undoubtedly Tôge Sankichi, a survivor of the Hiroshima explosion, a young man who, with all his lyrical content, offered to the world his poems about the atomic bomb known as Genbaku shishu. In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park there is a monument dedicated to his figure, where the verses explode with denunciation: “Give me back my father, give me back my mother; Give me back my grandfather, give me back my grandmother; Give me back my sons and daughters … “

From what is known, Robert Oppenheimer regretted his job for the rest of his life. “We physicists have known sin,” he said, after realizing that the destruction caused by the atomic bombs was an unpoetic act. The remorse would accompany him to the grave. He lived with the drama that rang in his head for the remains, and which he identified with a fragment of the holy book of the Hindus, the Bhagavad-Gita, which reads like this: “The Almighty opened the gates of heaven and the light of a thousand suns he sang in chorus: I am Death, the end of all times.

From then on, Robert Oppenheimer stripped himself of contradictions and became an activist for nuclear disarmament, raising suspicions at the time, which led him to testify in 1954 before the Committee on Un-American Activities within the so-called witch hunt launched by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

His case is a clear example of contradiction from the moment he was part of a network that defended peace by applying violence against the civilian population. It can be said that Robert Oppenheimer recovered his soul when he divested himself of contradictions, when he became a coherent man, a true scientist. It was then that he began to use enigmatic words to show concepts that everyone understands.

The stone ax is a section where Montero Glez, with the will of prose, exercises his particular siege to scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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