Science and technology have touched all of our lives and changed us in
ways that we ourselves cannot yet comprehend. Lifesaving medical miracles
have become so commonplace that we are impatient about them. We don't
want to wait. We want cures for AIDS and cancer and other diseases, and we
want them now! Perhaps we have come to expect too much from science. We
look to it for the answers when it is still busy with the questions. Yet we distrust and fear science and technology too, and it is not unreasonable that we should. For all it's benefits, we have seen its destructive side as well. We understand that it can be a wonderful servant but a terrible master.
All of which is by way of an introduction to an introduction to A Science
Odyssey, this book and the PBS television series on which it is based. It is
about a century of physics and astronomy, and what we've learned in the last
hundred years about the origins of earth and life, medicine, and the exploration of the human mind and personality. My good friend and longtime CBS News colleague Charles Kuralt was to have been the host and guide for these
broadcasts. Sad to say Charles died on the Fourth of July, 1997, and there was
nothing medical science could do to save him. We are going ahead with the trip
even so, and I will do my best to show you what Charles wanted to show you,
and tell you the stories he wanted you to hear. First, though, his own
introduction in his own words.
-- Charles Osgood
Introduction by Charles Kuralt
Excerpt from Chapter One, "Mysteries of the Universe"