Archives for January, 2012

Defending Physics Against Cracked.com

“In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.” -Stephen Jay Gould Those of you who follow me on either google+, facebook or twitter…

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals. We all must work for our own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity.” -Marie Curie Most of us remember the importance of being charitable on a few rare occasions throughout the year, most commonly around the year’s…

Our Galaxy’s Next Supernova

“The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.” -Johannes Kepler So said the man who, in 1604, discovered the supernova that was the last to be seen, visually, within our…

It’s Coming Right For Us!!!

“Events are the ephemera of history; they pass across its stage like fireflies, hardly glimpsed before they settle back into darkness and as often as not into oblivion. Every event, however brief, has to be sure a contribution to make, lights up some dark corner or even some wide vista of history… illumined by the…

“I want more muscles! I go to the gym three or four times a week with a personal trainer. I can afford that now. I can’t put on weight though, no matter how much I eat.” -Christopher Parker Many of us struggle in all sorts of aspects of our lives: to balance work and leisure,…

A History of our Galaxy’s Fireworks!

“When I had satisfied myself that no star of that kind had ever shone before, I was led into such perplexity by the unbelievability of the thing that I began to doubt the faith of my own eyes.” -Tycho Brahe When we look out at galaxies throughout the Universe, we find that every so often…

Learning all about the Eagle, all over again

“We find them smaller and fainter, in constantly increasing numbers, and we know that we are reaching into space, farther and farther, until, with the faintest nebulae that can be detected with the greatest telescopes, we arrive at the frontier of the known Universe.” -Edwin Hubble While large parts of the internet are blacked out…

Neutrinos to ring in the New Year

  “This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian: [See drawing, above.] Only technical details are missing.” -Wolfgang Pauli First theorized by Pauli all the way back in 1930, neutrinos are some of the most mysterious and puzzling particles ever discovered in nature. For starters, they weren’t even first detected until…

“There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard.” -Jean Cocteau Some traditions are older than we even know. Older than our great-grandparents, older than our countries, older even than the oldest songs and music we know of, which…

Did this Supernova Leave Nothing Behind?

“Nothing leads the scientist so astray as a premature truth.” -Jean Rostand One of the most awesome events, literally, that happens in this Universe is when stars — giant nuclear furnaces like our Sun — die in the most energetic way possible: a supernova. Video credit: Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (Ors Hunor Detre, Oliver Krause), via…