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  • Writer's pictureImma Oliveras

The little prince

Hola! Benvinguts! Welcome!

This blog became reality with the help of Luke Malhi J. Thanks Luke!

I hope this space allows me to communicate science in a less rigid way than a scientific paper. Publications are ultimately the final product of scientific projects, often released several years after the experiments and field activities of the research have come to an end. I wanted a space where to share these activities, and where to create, hopefully, a more holistic space with which to share experiences, thoughts and ideas. I invite you to comment on them as I am interested on hearing your thoughts.

I would like to start my blog with a post dedicated to my favourite book, The Little Prince, by Antoine Saint-Exupery. It was first published in 1943, a year before St-Exupery was shot down over the Mediterranean by German reconnaissance planes (he was an aviator, as well as writer and poet). Soon after the II World War started.

One of the first magnificent sentences in the book is “grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again”. I often see the same frustration in many children when trying to explain something to an adult. When we become adults we lose the imagination, perception, intuition and curiosity that we are all born with. In the early years of life, we observe, experiment, discover new feelings, mechanisms, processes or the world around us. As children, we are all scientists. This is how we learn to speak with animals, with flying objects, with the imaginary world. But then we are thrown on a society that establishes rules and obligations to the point that we lose the ability to understand the real things.

The Little Prince lived on a remote planet hardly any bigger than he was, and he was feeling very lonely. One day, a seed arrived and established there. It grew until it opened a flower. He protected it daily from the baobabs and from the wind, sun and drought. But the flower had a lot of vanity and was constantly tormenting him, to the point that one day the Little Prince decided to leave, leaving the planet and the flower at their own mercy. He was very upset with the vanity of the flower. He visited six planets before arriving to the seventh planet, the Earth. There, he first met a snake in the desert. “This is lonely, where are the people?” asked the Little Prince. “It is also lonely with people” replied the snake. But he kept looking for people and company. As days went by though, he would increasingly miss his flower and his planet. He wondered why. After a few days, he came across a fox, and they spent a few days together. The fox eventually told the Little Prince a big secret: “all that is essential is invisible to the eyes”. “It’s the time you spent with your rose that makes her so special”.

Our rose is our life, our interaction with others, our work, ourselves, our actions. Our planet is this Blue Marble we live in called the Earth. The Little Prince tells us in plain language how important it is to nurture our flowers and our planet. And understanding is about deciphering complexity. Nature is so delicate and vulnerable, but yet so fascinatingly complex. It needs lot of time observing and listening before we can eventually get to know and understand it. If we achieve this, we will be in a much better position to protect it. And in a very summarised way, this is I why I became a scientist. In future posts, I will tell you about many of my observations and experiences I have had while trying to understand nature a little bit better. I will also often tell you about many challenges and frustrations that, like the Little Prince, one comes across when interacting with others.

Welcome to my blog.

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