Physical Science

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” -Muhammad Ali You might not think that boxing, the sweet science, and physics, the most fundamental of all the sciences, have much in common on the surface. But look a little deeper and…

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” -Muhammad Ali After a week of travel here at Starts With A Bang — where we appeared at Balticon 50 and had a fantastic time — it’s time to catch up on all the news that the Universe had to offer. That includes…

“Until the 1990s, there were few reliable observations about movement at the scale of the entire universe, which is the only scale dark energy effects. So dark energy could not be seen until we could measure things very, very far away.” -Adam Riess Just thirty years ago, scientists argued over the value of the Hubble…

“What’s really exciting is what comes next. I think we’re opening a window on the universe — a window of gravitational wave astronomy.” -Dave Reitze On September 14, 2015, LIGO directly detected gravitational waves for the first time, from the inspiral-and-merger of two quite massive black holes. Despite the fact that no electromagnetic radiation signal…

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” –David Attenborough If the Earth didn’t have any global warming at all, our planet’s mean temperature would be 255 K, or about -1º Fahrenheit: the mean temperature of the Antarctic continent. As it stands…

“The bedrock nature of space and time and the unification of cosmos and quantum are surely among science’s great ‘open frontiers.’ These are parts of the intellectual map where we’re still groping for the truth – where, in the fashion of ancient cartographers, we must still inscribe ‘here be dragons.’” -Martin Rees Inside the nuclear…

“We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life.” -James Hansen Thanks to our position in space, the energy output of the Sun, and the right atmospheric conditions on Earth, we have temperatures conducive to liquid water on our planet.…

“The self-same atoms which, chaotically dispersed, made the nebula, now, jammed and temporarily caught in peculiar positions, form our brains; and the ‘evolution’ of brains, if understood, would be simply the account of how the atoms came to be so caught and jammed.” -William James When stars like our Sun run out of fuel, they…

Does the brain really operate like some kind of extra-complex computer, with logic gates and circuits made of the synapses that connect one neuron to another? In 2009, we wrote: In the future, the interface between brain and artificial system might be based on nerve cells grown for that purpose. In research that was recently…

“A long time ago people believed that the world is flat and the moon is made of green cheese. Some still do, to this day. The man on the moon is looking down and laughing.” -Vera Nazarian When people make claims that are patently untrue — like the Earth is flat — perhaps your knee-jerk…