Friday, January 17, 2003

KNOWLEDGE DAY

Martin Luther King Day is coming up. It is a relatively new U.S. national holiday. joining others such a Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day, and Presidents’ Day in 1986. (There is a great site that supplies -- in many languages -- information on national holidays in various countries:
http://www.national-holidays.com/

It occurred to me to think about who or what might be considered as the next national holiday. Perhaps there should be a day to celebrate advances in scientific and technological knowledge, and to honor the scientists, inventors and technological geniuses who have contributed so much. Many nations could personalize such a day with their own knowledge heroes: the U.K with Newton and Darwin; the U.S. with Einstein, Edison, Ford, Whitney; France with Descartes and Pasteur; Sweden with Linnaeus; Pakistan with Abdus Salam; Argentina with Luis F. Leloir and C├ęsar Milstein (both Nobel Prize winners); India with Venkata Raman and Amartya Sen (certainly I would celebrate the social sciences); etc.

By the way, Eli Whitney deserves more credit than he is usually given, having not only invented the cotton gin, but also pioneered in the introduction of manufacturing based upon interchangeable parts and introducing the machinery needed to produce such parts – the so-called American System of Manufacturing.

In the U.S. there is an International Public Science Day (sponsored by the AAAS in collaboration with the Franklin Museum Science Museum and Unisys) but it only seems to be celebrated by some museums and cities.

International Public Science Day 2003
http://www.fi.edu/psd2003/index.html

India celebrates a National Technology Day. Indonesia has a “National Awakening of Technology Day”.

I understand that there are nations (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Tunisia, Ukraine) that celebrate “Knowledge Day”.

Of course many organizations have very local celebrations of science, technology and knowledge.

Perhaps the idea is not too farfetched.

No comments: