“Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea.” -Richard Feynman There’s no doubt that LIGO has given us one of the most incredible breakthroughs of the 21st century: the direct detection…

“Although we were initially quite skeptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there.” -Konstantin Batygin Last year, scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown made a huge splash when they announced that…

“Chapel Hill is a beautiful place, and I was wanting to get out of Livermore for an academic position, so we went there, both of us, as visiting research professors. After a few years I was given a regular professorship and Cecile was demoted to a lecturer.” -Bryce DeWitt “Without being told it was a…

“It shows you exactly how a star is formed; nothing else can be so pretty! A cluster of vapor, the cream of the milky way, a sort of celestial cheese, churned into light.” -Benjamin Disraeli From here on Earth, most of the stars we see in the night sky are ancient, having departed from the…

“Many people today agree that we need to reduce violence in our society. If we are truly serious about this, we must deal with the roots of violence, particularly those that exist within each of us. We need to embrace ‘inner disarmament,’ reducing our own emotions of suspicion, hatred and hostility toward our brothers and…

“In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance.” -Henry Miller You know it as the most fundamental law of relativity: that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. And yet, the observable Universe itself, which has been around for 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang, is now…

“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, executive director of LIGO It revolutionized our view of the Universe when the LIGO annoucements – and we’re up to three, now – came out. They indicated the direct detection…

“There is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense.” -Thomas Hobbes It’s hard to believe, but despite being at rest here on the surface of Earth, we’re actually hurtling through…

“There is, then, no water that is wholly of the Pacific, or wholly of the Atlantic, or of the Indian or the Antarctic. The surf that we find exhilarating at Virginia Beach or at La Jolla today may have lapped at the base of antarctic icebergs or sparkled in the Mediterranean sun, years ago, before…

“Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.” -Dave Barry When we break out the big guns — space telescopes like Hubble or James Webb — we can see the Universe as it was billions of…