This interactive doodle is just a bit of mental fun from Google, yet when the Guardian (U.K.) adds a solid back story, it becomes much more. It’s hard not to think of the millions of people, who like me, may otherwise never have heard of the ‘buckyball’ or as it is formally known, the buckminsterfullerene, a ‘specially shaped molecule composed entirely of carbon.’
Granted, my life and that of many others would have proceeded quite well without this factoid, yet it strikes me there’s more at play here than doodling. Arguably, the world is suffering in many ways because too many people understand too little about science, math and technology. In many instances, these applied fields are contributing to our problems, and yet they may offer our only solutions as well. Public conversations about both the problems we face, and the opportunities for solutions, are often made more difficult by this lack of a shared basic understanding of the principles involved.
So as a technology company with access to millions of us worldwide, Google’s choice to use its platform as an elegant canvas for advancing our molecular knowledge strikes me as corporate power well used. Kudos, Google.