Come sit down, kids. You know what we’re going to learn about today? That’s right! Science! Now, can anybody tell me what science is?
Yup, makes sense.
Sorry, but you’re all plain wrong. Science is none of those things. You know what science really is? It’s the study of things! That’s right, kids! Science means looking at things and puzzling out just what they’re there for. You might think that there’s more to it than that, but you’d be wrong. Just plain wrong.
Let me tell you a bit about the history of science. It all started when the king of Ancient Egypt sat down on his throne on top of one of those big pyramids you see in films and said to one of his advisers, “I wish for you to find out why things happen,” and his adviser did so. At least, he tried. He figured the best way to do it was to go through all the things he knew alphabetically and work out why they happened or why they existed. He started with Oranges and went from there, because, as we all know, O is the first letter of the Egyptian alphabet. You know how we know that? Science!
Anyway, I’m getting off topic. That was the beginning of science and it was from there that science got its name. Why do you think that is, kids?
That’s simply plain ignorant, son.
No, none of your answers were right. Science got its name because that first adviser to the king was called Sciencio.
Unfortunately, when Egypt was destroyed, the records of all this science were lost, but it wasn’t long until the Ancient Greeks came along and wondered why all these skeletons were lying about the place. They started digging and unearthed the pyramids, inside of which they found lots of those funny little pictures telling them what science was.
Now, the Ancient Greeks realised that they could use science to learn about why things happened and then make things happen that they wanted to happen, which is how they developed the first bomb and destroyed Alexander the Great and his invading army of Prussians.
Unfortunately, whilst they were building the bomb, the Romans snuck up on them and managed to kill most of them, enslaving those that were left alive and forcing them to act as experiments so that the Roman doctors (who had also heard about science) could cut them up and learn the best way to kill people with bombs and guns and other such things.
Now, from all that you might think that science was a terrible thing that only allowed us to kill people over and over again, but you’d be wrong! Whilst the Romans and Ancient Greeks were using their science to make horrific weapons of war, the Ancient Chinese dynasties over in Asia had come up with a much nicer use for science: fireworks!
The Chinese rulers had found that if you shot fireworks into the air and made them explode with pretty colours and a nice crack, people would stand around looking at them and be real impressed and tell you afterwards what pretty fireworks you had made. This meant that they all got along much better and stopped the horrific fighting that had happened between the ruling families before then (Quick Science Fact: the reason they were called dynasties is because they would often die nasty deaths).
Unfortunately for everybody, that was when the Big Bang happened and destroyed the Ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese civilisations. Their time ruling the face of the Earth was over, and over millions of years mammals evolved in their place, slowly turning into monkeys and then into humans as they grew up and reached puberty. Luckily for everybody at the time, those humans didn’t know anything about science and they lived a blessed life, free of bombs and guns, but also without fireworks. Many humans felt there was something missing which they couldn’t identify, but they knew that they really liked the lightning which occasionally danced across the sky in this post-fall, Big Banged world. Occasionally, it would hit a tree and great flames would leap towards the sky, but that scared them and when that happened they felt that things had got a bit out of hand and would run home.
People went along in this manner for decades, until finally, late one night, a young nurse called Florence Nightingale was serving in the Crimean War (Quick Science Fact: it was called the Crimean War because before science was rediscovered, wars were a pleasant affair with only light bruising occurring. The name ‘Crimean’ comes from ‘Cry Me a River’ because everybody now knows the participants of that war were complaining about nothing) when she discovered an ancient science book propping up the head of a patient. She immediately took it and started reading, and the works jumped into her skull, allowing her to discover the secrets of electricity, monorail and splitting the atom. At first the knowledge scared her and she spent a good number of years touring around and building statues of herself, but finally she settled down and got started on making something useful of her life.
Three years later, the world was a very different place. Two World Wars had broken up the Pangaea and we had cured most diseases, but also invented new ones like malaria and the clap. Luckily, many of the problems caused by science could also be solved by science, creating a never-ending patchwork of solutions that became bigger and bigger the more we learnt about the world around us.
Of course, some people don’t think we’re any better off than we were during the Crimean War, but they get strapped to fireworks, and who doesn’t like a good fireworks display?
That’s all for today, kids. Come back tomorrow and I’ll teach you how to make your own fireworks with nothing but a tin can, a lighter and some of the black powder you empty out of daddy’s gun shells.