(I’m sure I know Brian Cox, but I’m damned if I can remember how or why…)
The talk itself isn’t particularly convincing, but! The three quotes he uses! I’ve dug them up:
When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic.
Alexander Fleming (inventor of penicillin)
Cox uses this quote to combat the idea that we ‘know enough’ about the universe. The same thing has been said throughout history. It’s bullshit.
Nothing is so dangerous to the progress of the human mind than to assume our views of science are ultimate, that there no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete and that there are no new worlds to conquer.
Sir Humphry Davy (Michael Faraday was famously his protege)
Aaaand… an excerpt of the epic Carl Sagan quote (I can’t believe I’ve never heard this one before, considering he’s a hero of mine):
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan, on the Pale Blue Dot (Full quote here)
Now that’s what we call ‘putting it into perspective’.