The theme, “If the earth was cubic”, has been discussed on the Internet internationally.
Still, no scientists have deduced and reported on the theme using scientific research. There can be several reasons for this. Here are some major reasons.
“There is no value in discussing a cubic earth which does not exist.”
“There is no economic value in scientifically discussing the theme.”
“It is a fantasy world and is not an area that scientists should enter into.”
There is no objection to such reasons, but it may be said that having questions is the starting point of science. When scientific questions simply posed by ordinary citizens need consideration, and the educational value in discussing these questions is recognized, we believe that it is our job as a non-governmental organization that spreads and promotes science and technology, to handle such questions.
Why is the theme examined? There are reasons.
The first reason is that many people, irrespective of age or sex, have expressed an interest in this theme. What would it be like if the earth was cubic? We thought that there would be great expectations for scientific discussions on this theme, which could convey the importance of scientific aspect.
The second reason is that recent scientific literacy is gaining enthusiasm, which is how the ordinary citizens examine various global problems.
It is a complex system of science which is essential for observing things globally. This complex system is established by mixing interrelated factors and developing one phenomenon as a whole.
One of the closest things for us is meteorology. When you understand that the meteorological aspect totally changes even though only the shape is changed without changing the size or mass of the earth, you will be surprised at the fragility of how you see things. In this sense, this theme will be a good material to understand the complex system and to discover the importance of scientific literacy.
The third reason is that the “Cubic Earth” can be used as a unique educational material to rediscover the earth.
The education factor we are discussing is “meteorological phenomenon”. Atmospheric environments that determine meteorological phenomenon are the natural act unfurled globally, and the ability to comprehensively imagine the atmospheric environment is necessary to understand the meteorological system.
However, we live in an actual atmospheric environment and are in an environment where weather information can be obtained on a daily basis. In such a situation, there are few opportunities to use our ability to imagine.
By imaging the cubic earth, which does not exist in reality, and by carrying out a thought experiment in reality, while introducing natural laws accurately that are the basis of meteorological phenomenon, the cubic earth can be an effective material to review the earth from a global viewpoint.
To proceed with this thought experiment, we employed a method of “edutainment” that enables from children to adults to appreciate the cubic earth easily. “Edutainment” is a learning method where educational elements are embedded in entertainment. Familiar examples are outdoor education and experience learning.
The cubic earth is a scientific fiction in a sense, and its image can be enjoyed in a movie.
Concretely, the idea is that meteorology is mainly discussed (*1) by examining how the atmosphere environment on the cubic earth changes from on the global earth, and a scenario is composed based on discussion results by adding imaginary elements, and can be reproduced in a short movie.
In so doing, there are matters to be understood before watching this short movie.
On the cubic earth, there are two worlds, the equatorial planes and polar planes. The equatorial planes are divided into two types in accordance with the presence and absence of sea, and the two types of planes are discussed here. To discuss the planes, various conditions should be set (*2). Especially, according to the question of whether or not the earth can exist in a cubic shape, cubic earth cannot exist because a collapse occurs due to its own gravity, but the impossibility is ignored for the current discussion.
As for the existence of life on this cubic earth, it has been identified on the global earth that life can exist even in any harsh environments, as long as the material cycle process is arranged where life can grow and change over generations. Therefore, on the hypothesis that life more civilized than humans can exist, the fantasy world has been depicted, but biological discussions, including organic development and evolution, are not conducted.
We expect people who watch the movie to feel again that the earth on which we live is a miracle planet, to find the importance of looking at things on a global scale, as well as to use the movie to foster scientific creativity.
After watching the movie, take time to explore why such predictions were made by using your ability to imagine as well as knowledge. It is our hope that you will enjoy talking with your friends and family as if enjoying a word association game, and will use it as a step stone in your research of earth science fields.
The clues for starters are described below.
- How does gravity work on the cubic earth?
- How does fluid, including atmosphere and sea, exist?
- How does the cubic earth receive energy from the sun?
- What is the impact on cubic earth due to planetary motion if it is same as our earth?
- How are atmospheric pressure, air temperatures, winds and clouds affected?
- Is there an environment which could sustain human life?
- What differs depending on the presence or absence of sea?
The cubic earth with atmosphere and sea is displayed as the diagram of cubic earth.
The explanation is described on the website. Open the door that interests you. At least, you can understand the mechanisms of discussions which using several nature’s laws to lead the predictions, without using difficult mathematical calculations. For those who want to understand specialized theoretic grounds, detailed explanations are also presented.
Some of you may wonder what point is there in such thought experiment, but the Great East Japan Earthquake, which happened on March 11, 2011, could teach us the importance of the thought experiment.
Even though science and technology are being developed greatly, the menace of nature cannot be suppressed. It can be predicted or forecasted, but it is limited to an extremely short time scale. Now we can take only some measures for preventing or reducing disasters. Still, we have become aware that great earthquakes, exceeding prediction, could bring secondary and tertiary disasters, which might increase the damages.
When you think about security of yourself and your family, you should realize the importance of risk communication which discusses extreme measures. The basis of risk communication is to simulate unexpected situations.
We should be trained to think and to use our ability to imagine daily, to simulate the world of “If”. However, the improvement of social capital supported by advanced science and technology including an information infrastructure has been encouraged, resulting in a lack of opportunity to think of situations exceeding our predictions.
Although “Cubic Earth” is not directly related to risk communication, it is very useful to rebuild the ability to imagine and to think at least. Incidentally, we have to remember that nature acts are the complex system and that menace exceeding our prediction can occur at any time. Also, we have to understand that damage conditions due to various phenomena can vary depending on local conditions such as geographical features and man-induced development.
We are proudly offering “Cubic Earth”, which took five years to complete. To complete the “Cubic Earth”, some specialists gathered during the evening, monthly and discussed by making full use of theoretic and numerical models. Therefore, we believe that you can make effective use of the “Cubic Earth”.
We hope that the viewers will not only be interested in cubic earth but also spend time discussing geographical features and the earth by expanding the conversation under the theme of “Cubic Earth”. We also expect people involved in school education and social education to make full use of the “Cubic Earth” as an instructional tool.
There is a plan to offer visiting lectures by dispatching specialists (only in Japan). Please access to the Japan Science Society’s website for details. The *1 and *3 in this document are described in our website and *2 is described in the explanatory note on the website.
Lastly, we would like to sincerely thank the specialists and involved persons for completing the “Cubic Earth” by courtesy of this paper.
The Japan Science Society
Chairman Mieko Oshima