Know Why: The Publisher's Message
Why are we curious? What made Homo sapiens move out of Africa 70,000 years ago to spread across Australia, Asia and Europe? More recently, why did we expand the limits of our technology to drive the auspiciously named Curiosity rover across the dry sands of Mars? Why did civilization develop so rapidly between those two disparate events?
The reasons include the survival of the species, economic gain, personal prestige, the spread of religion, and the advance of science among others— but at the core of all of this is the fact that humans are insatiably curious.
We instinctively want to learn the why of something. It’s that pull of the unknown that compels us. We ask questions of ourselves. It’s what makes us human. Aristotle perhaps said it best when he noted “People by nature desire to know.”
So why an online journal dedicated to the joy of learning?
We have seen in our own lives that given freedom, the proper education, access, space, and encouragement, our species is capable of wondrous things. Kids become gloriously creative, teens become masters of subjects that amaze, adults build technologies that seem like magic, and seniors keep reinventing themselves.
Know is a quarterly online journal that offers a compelling mix of reporting, commentary, and interviews related to lifelong learning. Know doesn’t indoctrinate readers with the value of literacy in its varied forms. Instead, it demonstrates the lasting significance of knowledge acquisition with content that is equally engaging and illuminating, promoting learning as the ultimate tool for self-advocacy.
For this first issue, Pulitzer Prize winning author Jane Smiley talks about strategies for filling the blank page; Steve Bryson, lead mathematician of the NASA AMES Kepler mission, switches discipline to muse on why the Higgs Particle is important; Stanford University Professor of History Ian Morris asks what happens when societies stop asking questions, author Frances French pays tribute to his old boss Sally Ride, and Jill Tarter, outgoing Director of the SETI Institute, examines the probability of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Have a look around and you’ll find much more.
One last thought: David McCullough, the famous American historian said: “Curiosity is what separates us from the cabbages. It's accelerative. The more we know, the more we want to know.”
Welcome to the first issue of Know!