Sunday, July 2, 2017

What a Glorious Time to be Free

An overlooked item of July First-ness: Sixty years ago, scientists from 67 countries began an 18-month cooperative venture called the International Geophysical Year. The idea was to share data and team up for experiments by allowing scientists from other countries to bring their expertise to other nations' observational sites.

I mostly remember it as the source for much of the data I read in the children's science book "All About" series. In his first solo album in 1982, former Steely Dan songwriter, pianist and singer recorded a semi-wistful remembering of what the future was supposed to look like during the years of his childhood. He titled the song "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)." It is perhaps the only Billboard Hot 100-charting song written about scientific research, and the post title is taken from a line in the refrain. Both the idea and the song remain pretty cool today, sixty and thirty-five years later, respectively.

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