Ultimately, science is about origins – where the human race, the Earth and the Universe came from. When you put it in those terms, most people you find waiting for a bus are interested. It’s an incredible privilege to be alive today. For the first time in history, we have a realistic idea of the extent and content of the Universe – we can see to the “edge” with our biggest telescopes and we can count up the Universe’s constituents, 10 billion or so galaxies like our own Milky Way.
Not only do we know the extent and content of the Universe, but we also have a pretty good idea where it all came from. It burst into being in a titanic fireball called the big bang about 13.7 billion years ago and has been expanding and cooling ever since, with the galaxies congealing out of the glowing debris.
We know how and when the first humans came into being and how those naturally selected traits have been passed down, in just a simple helical molecule, through the generations from the origins of life some 3000 million years ago to all of the organisms we see today. Science has given us longer lives through disease control and medicine, provided us with materials to keep us dry, warm.