“I was always amused when overtaking one of these great monsters [a tortoise], as it was quietly pacing along, to see how suddenly, the instant I passed, it would draw in its head and legs, and uttering a deep hiss fall to the ground with a heavy sound, as if struck dead. I frequently got…

“A few centuries ago, the pioneer navigators learnt the size and shape of our Earth, and the layout of the continents. We are now just learning the dimensions and ingredients of our entire cosmos, and can at last make some sense of our cosmic habitat.” -Martin Rees You might think that Jupiter is the largest…

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” -Walter Elliot It’s been two great weeks here at Starts With A Bang, where we’ve seen an incredible slew of new articles, new contributions, and literally hundreds of comments where nobody needed to get banned! To all of those who…

“It is conceptually interesting, if not astrophysically very important, to calculate the precise apparent shape of the black hole… Unfortunately, there seems to be no hope of observing this effect.” -Jim Bardeen Black holes were one of the first consequences of general relativity that were predicted to exist, and the more we’ve studied the Universe,…

“It appears, from all that precedes, reasonably certain that if there be any relative motion between the earth and the luminiferous ether, it must be small; quite small enough entirely to refute Fresnel’s explanation of aberration.” -Albert A. Michelson In the 1880s, it was clear that something was wrong with Newton’s formulation of the Universe.…

“In recent years several new particles have been discovered which are currently assumed to be “elementary,” that is, essentially structureless. The probability that all such particles should be really elementary becomes less and less as their number increases. It is by no means certain that nucleons, mesons, electrons, neutrinos are all elementary particles.” -Enrico Fermi…

“We must regard it rather as an accident that the Earth (and presumably the whole solar system) contains a preponderance of negative electrons and positive protons. It is quite possible that for some of the stars it is the other way about.” -Paul Dirac You might think that the proton, made up of three spin=1/2…

“You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body…

“We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and…

“Entropy shakes its angry fist at you for being clever enough to organize the world.” -Brandon Sanderson The universe was born hot, dense, expanding, full of matter, antimatter and radiation… and in a low-entropy state. If entropy is a measure of disorder, though, that sure does sound like an awfully high-entropy state, not a low-entropy…