My children constantly fascinate me when we hike in breathtakingly beautiful British Columbia during the summer. Some of them visibly thrill to the vast vistas and magnificent landscapes revealed as we crest a hill. Others seem oblivious to the large scale spectacles but will stoop to pick up a pebble which can absorb their attention for twenty minutes. Similarly, when boating, one child gazes endlessly at the wave pattern stretching to the horizon. Meanwhile, her sister lies on her tummy on the edge of a dock peering down at a school of tiny fish darting around as if being signaled by an invisible choreographer.
We learn much from the patterns of larger arrangements such as the earth’s upheavals that created the mountain ranges and the erosive forces that carved majestic canyons. However it is just as important to understand the microscopic forces that help atoms to form molecules and the characteristics that shape those tiny molecules into complex substances.