#85, August/September 2019
Special feature : vast, complicated, (dis)orderly? : unlocking the secrets of the cosmos… Cartesian doubt: how EU science questions everything, from the origins of our Universe to capitalism… In the 17th Century, René Descartes came up with the concept of ‘Cartesian doubt’: the constant questioning of existing beliefs. Cartesian doubt applies to any field of research or intellectual reasoning. It has undoubtedly contributed to the dizzying growth of knowledge, innovation and well-being over recent centuries. A perfect example relates to the very origins of our Universe. Galileo Galilei,... a contemporary of Descartes, was incarcerated for theorizing that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and not the opposite. By sparking Cartesian doubt among his peers, he contributed to a vast domino effect that culminates with the likes of Georges Lemaître’s Big Bang Theory and suspicions around the existence of dark matter. Almost a hundred years later, research around the Universe’s constant expansion, the formation of celestial objects and dark matter is still buzzing. Some researchers are trying to fill the gaps related to the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters, or cosmic inflation. Others do not hesitate to question widely-supported theories such as Einstein’s general relativity to find out whether other, competing theories could explain the expansion of the Universe. This month’s special feature is, in a way, an ode to Cartesian doubt and science’s commitment not to leave any stones unturned.
- Corporate author(s): Publications Office Themes: Research policy and organisation
- Subject: applied research, astronomy, diffusion of innovations, EU research policy, innovation, physical sciences, research project, serial publication
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