The famous bath-tub's Eureka (The elegance of science)


THERE WAS NO FEELING of global warming then, but just say he was finding comfort in immersing his body in water anyhow. But when the idea came to Archimedes how to test the gold crown of the king for fraudulent admixture of silver, he is said to have leaped out of his bath-tub and run naked down the streets of Syracuse (Sicily), shouting “Eureka”, which means “I have found it!”

The water, being displaced by his body, overflowed when the famed Greek inventor immersed himself in the bath-tub. He thus realized that silver mixed with the gold of a crown of a given weight would increase its bulk and so cause the crown to displace more water than that one of pure gold.

Of course, running naked on the street, except during ‘oblation run,’ is scandalous, if not necessarily illegal. But it’s understandable that people get delighted when they find out through science the basis of some natural phenomenon. Who would not be, especially nowadays that various awesome technical advances have been consequently brought about by science. Paulinus F. Forsthoefel, in his bookReligious Faith Meets Modern Science (Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 1995, pp. 4-5) vibrantly illustrates what science has achieved so far:

“… the discovery of materials with semiconductor properties led to the preparation of micro-chips and these in turn to the invention of computers. Computers made possible round-trips to the moon and a host of applications in all aspects of modern life. Imagine the amazement and wonder of one of our ancestors brought back to life as he or she surveys all the tools provided for man’s well-being by modern technology. Night is banished by electric lights, distant events are brought into home by TV via satellites, food is preserved fresh in an electric refrigerator and quickly prepared in a microwave oven, travel to Paris for a shopping tour is made possible by supersonic jet, and so forth and so on.”

Does it mean however, as some science practitioners contend, that science is the only valid road to knowledge? Does science have the monopoly in explaining all man needs to understand? But isn’t claiming that equivalent to saying that “eureka” can only be uttered inside the bath-tub?

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I learned many things that I did not know about Dr. Jose Rizal's life.

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