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One day, a young student named Jim sat listening in a lecture hall to a professor describing Maxwell’s equations.

He watched as the instructor scratched the algebraic figures on a blackboard with chalk.

Line by line, the professor explained how the equations together describe the behavior of seemingly disparate and distinct phenomena—electricity and magnetism—and then with a series of calculations derived from these figures a new equation.

In that equation was a number.

“And that,” the professor told the students, “is the speed of light.”

The unexpected and remarkable conclusion sent a chill down Jim’s spine.

Decades later, that young man is now a full professor of physics and a popular science educator and writer, Jim Al-Khalili.

It was that experience, among others, that introduced him to the capacity of science to instill awe and wonder.

This is my favorite portion of the wonderful interview Jim Al-Khalili gave in this video made by the John Templeton Foundation and our partners at Freethink.

Watch the full thing for his explanation of the growing island of knowledge (and ocean of mystery), and how the Jim of the future will view us all as benighted as scholars of the Middle Ages.