The Ache for Order


Nowhere do we crave order, and the powerful results reaped from that order, more than in nature. The mapping of the seasons permitted the development of agriculture. The ability to predict the swing of pendulums led to the creation of pendulum clocks. The repeatable production of T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, when exposed to the vaccinia virus allowed the eradication of smallpox. Indeed, the great project of science throughout history might be viewed as the imposition of order onto this strange and seething cosmos we find ourselves in.

Alan Lightman on the search for order in MIT’s new publication, The Undark.

Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →