Welcome Remarks by Theodore Allegra,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim,
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
December 13, 2017
Good afternoon, and welcome friends, colleagues, Star Wars fans. And a special welcome to the Jedi old and young among us!
Forty years ago, when the very first Star Wars movie opened in theaters, it was ground-breaking science fiction. The special effects and action sequences were unlike anything anyone had ever seen before.
But the Star Wars series, and all the games, TV shows, theme parks, and merchandising that built off of it, has become more than just entertainment or a two-hour escape from reality. It has made us think differently about science, space discovery, and the mysteries of the universe.
And it has inspired generations of students to turn pure curiosity into scientific careers. In their quest to seek to understand the universe we live in, they now pursue technologies that will change the way we think, the way we interact with nature, and the way we perceive the world around us.
So, when we now think of “a galaxy far, far away” it is in a very different context. Do the conditions for life exist beyond Earth? Can the inspiration and technology combine to create robotic droids to help humans? Can space travel become more sophisticated? The science for all of these things has progressed so much in forty years that these things are not science fiction anymore; they are science fact.
And nowhere is this quest for knowledge more evident than just up the road from here, where researchers at CERN – many of you here today – are exploring the very origins of how we got here, and looking to better understand the fundamental laws of nature in our own galaxy and beyond.
In fact, I have learned that the matter that makes up all stars and galaxies only accounts for 5% of the content of the universe! The rest – dark matter – remains largely a mystery. So there is truly a dark side of the universe.
CERN experiments like the Large Hadron Collider aim to provide clues about this mysterious dark matter. As it does, it helps our understanding of what our universe is made of, and how galaxies hold together.
And that means that they study the Force – yes; they actually get paid to study how today’s scientific knowledge relates to the most iconic spiritual and mystical element of the Star Wars
Luckily for us, we have two CERN scientists with us today – Claire Lee and Alex Brown — who are going to help us better understand some of this. They are going to present a short skit which is finally going to solve the mystery of the Force.
Enjoy the skit, enjoy the show, and may the Force be with all of you.