Physical Science

“If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.” -John Archibald Wheeler Today, we take the existence of gravitational waves for granted. They were predicted by Einstein almost immediately following the first publication of general relativity, they were indirectly detected decades ago and they’ve been directly detected multiple…

“A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.” -Valentina Tereshkova Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, launched aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 amidst controversy. At 32, she was the youngest astronaut in history, surrounded by questions such…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: February

Another month, another collection of physics posts from Forbes: — Quantum Loopholes And The Problem Of Free Will: In one of those odd bits of synchronicity, a previous post about whether dark matter and energy might affect atoms in a way that allowed for “free will” was followed shortly by a news release about an…

“A theory is a supposition which we hope to be true, a hypothesis is a supposition which we expect to be useful; fictions belong to the realm of art; if made to intrude elsewhere, they become either make-believes or mistakes.” -G. Johnstone Stoney It’s been another exciting week here at Starts With A Bang! This coming Thursday,…

“For the first time we can learn about individual stars from near the beginning of time. There are surely many more out there.” -Neil Gehrels We know what NASA’s James Webb and WFIRST are designed for, and we know what we expect to find. James Webb will be the largest space telescope ever, focused mostly…

“Mars’ atmosphere is so thin, you do not need a lot of streamlining. By the time the ship is going fast enough for air resistance to matter, it’ll be high enough that there will be practically no air.” -Andy Weir, The Martian, as spoken by Bruce Ng If you had taken a trip to our…

“If we get rid of the moon, women, those menstrual cycles are governed by the moon, will not get PMS. They will stop bitching and whining.” -Joe Scarborough, misattributing a quote to Arnold Schwarzenegger that was actually spoken by an impersonator Our Moon is pretty unusual as far as the Solar System goes: of all…

“The [James Webb] telescope is basically designed to answer the big questions in astronomy, the questions Hubble can’t answer.” -Amber Straughn Have you ever asked the biggest questions in the Universe? Questions like how the Universe came to be the way it is today? How the first stars and galaxies — the first light —…

“In our description of nature the purpose is not to disclose the real essence of the phenomena but only to track down, as far as possible, relations between the manifold aspects of our experience.” -Niels Bohr When it comes to galaxies, clusters of galaxies or the largest-scales on the Universe, dark matter is absolutely required.…

“When a star goes supernova, the explosion emits enough light to overshadow an entire solar system, even a galaxy. Such explosions can set off the creation of new stars.” -Todd Nelsen In February of 1987, the first light from a supernova some 168,000 light years away was observed on Earth. It became the closest supernova…