It’s one of the cardinal laws of physics and the underlying principle of Einstein’s relativity itself: the fact that there’s a universal speed limit to the motion of anything through space and time, the speed of light, or c. Light itself will always move at this speed (as well as certain other phenomena, like the force…

“The world exploded into billions of atoms, and when it rearranged itself, it may have looked the same, but really, it was a Whole New World.” –Claire LaZebnik At the center of almost every galaxy is a supermassive black hole (SMBH); at the center of almost every cluster is a supermassive galaxy with some of…

“I have made the most important discovery of my career, the most important discovery of my life: It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reason can be found.” –John Forbes Nash, Jr. Yet logic and reason — when applied correctly — can get us incredibly far. Have a listen…

“An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy us, but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us.” -Elon Musk We’ve covered a ton this week on Starts With A Bang, ranging from the earliest times…

“[I]f there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” –C.S. Lewis The Universe had two periods where light was abundant, separated by the cosmic dark ages. The first came at the moment of the hot Big Bang, as…

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” –H. P. Lovecraft When it comes to risk assessment, there’s one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards. It’s why so many of us are…

“Journalists often ask me when I go to the field, ‘What do you expect to find?’ And my answer always is, ‘The unexpected,’ because we’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg; we’ve just scratched the surface.” –Donald Johanson Imagine you wanted to know what your acceleration was anywhere on Earth; imagine that simply…

“One of the dreariest spots on life’s road is the point of conviction that nothing will ever again happen to you.” –Faith Baldwin Bet you thought you knew it all about the asteroid belt. These frozen, ice-and-rock worlds orbit farther out from Mars, closer in than Jupiter, and occasionally get hurled towards the inner Solar…

The Missing Piece (Synopsis)

If you’re not a theoretical physicist yourself, you might think that physics is physics — we ask questions about the Universe, do experiments/make observations, and get the answers — and math is just a tool that we use to help us get there. But that really sells the power of mathematics short. For a physical…

“Without any doubt, the regularity which astronomy shows us in the movements of the comets takes place in all phenomena. The trajectory of a simple molecule of air or vapour is regulated in a manner as certain as that of the planetary orbits; the only difference between them is that which is contributed by our…