The problem with today's world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it. The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!
Light is the only connection we have with the Universe beyond our solar system, and the only connection our ancestors had with anything beyond Earth. Follow the light and we can journey from the confines of our planet to other worlds that orbit the Sun without ever dreaming of spacecraft. To look up is to look back in time, because the ancient beams of light are messengers from the Universe's distant past.
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I'm comfortable with the unknown - that's the point of science. There are places out there, billions of places out there, that we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about them excites me, and I want to go out and find out about them. And that's what science is. So I think if you're not comfortable with the unknown, then it's difficult to be a scientist... I don't need an answer. I don't need answers to everything. I want to have answers to find.
The scientific creation story has majesty, power and beauty. and is infused with a powerful message capable of lifting our spirits in a way that its multitudinous supernatural counterparts are incapable of matching. It teaches us that we are the products of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution and the mechanism by which meaning entered the universe, if only for a fleeting moment in time. Because the universe means something to me, and the fact that we are all agglomerations of quarks and electrons in a complex and fragile pattern that can perceive the beauty of the universe with visceral wonder, is, I think, a thought worth raising a glass to this Christmas.
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Life, just like the stars, the planets and the galaxies, is just a temporary structure on the long road from order to disorder. But that doesn't make us insignificant, because we are the Cosmos made conscious. Life is the means by which the universe understands itself. And for me, our true significance lies in our ability to understand and explore this beautiful universe.
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(On the energy radiated by the Sun) It's four hundred million million million million watts. That is a million times the power consumption of the United States every year, radiated in one second, and we worked that out by using some water, a thermometer, a tin, and an umbrella. And that's why I love physics.
The story of the universe finally comes to an end. For the first time in its life, the universe will be permanent and unchanging. Entropy finally stops increasing because the cosmos cannot get any more disordered. Nothing happens, and it keeps not happening, forever. It's what's known as the heat-death of the universe. An era when the cosmos will remain vast and cold and desolate for the rest of time the arrow of time has simply ceased to exist. It's an inescapable fact of the universe written into the fundamental laws of physics, the entire cosmos will die.
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One might say science is the sum total of our knowledge of the universe, the great library of the known, but the practice of science happens at the border between the known and the unknown. Standing on the shoulders of giants, we peer into the darkness with eyes opened not in fear but in wonder.
There are characters that have made me uncomfortable. I did a film called 'Rob Roy,' and I played Killearn, who was this sort of greasy fallen-angel character who was voyeuristic and sleazy and really unpleasant. It was a great role, but I didn't especially enjoy living with this awful man for the length of time it took to make the movie.
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I was living in London and I thought, 'There's nothing here for me anymore.' I don't want to become this actor who's going to be doing this occasional good work in the theater and then ever diminishing bad television. I thought I'd rather do bad movies than bad television because you get more money for it.
Feudal societies don't create great cinema; we have great theatre. The egalitarian societies create great cinema. The Americans, the French. Because equality is sort of what the cinema deals with. It deals with stories which don't fall into 'Everybody in their place and who's who,' and all that. But the theatre's full of that.
The hardest thing to do in movies is be a day-part player. You have to go in, make your mark, and get out. There's a lot of leading actors who are not good for a lot of a movie, and then suddenly they have good moments, and they're like stepping-stones across a particularly feisty stream. They build careers out of that.
I actually went to see 'Rushmore,' and I came late, and I missed myself. It was great, that scene. I caught that scene the other day on TV, funny enough, the first scene that you see with Jason Schwartzman and myself, where we talk about his grades. That's a brilliant scene, and I have to say, we play it brilliantly.