Archives for December, 2015

The Physics of Santa Claus (Synopsis)

“Our family was too strange and weird for even Santa Claus to come visit… Santa, who was jolly – but, let’s face it, he was also very judgmental.” -Julia Sweeney Everyone loves to point out the holes in the Santa Claus theory. After all, how could one person with a sled, powered by eight flying reindeer,…

“As far as extra dimensions are concerned, very tiny extra dimensions wouldn’t be perceived in everyday life, just as atoms aren’t: we see many atoms together but we don’t see atoms individually.” -Ed Witten As we approach the end of the year, Starts With A Bang looks ahead to what’s new and upcoming, rather than back on the…

“…in every kind of chemical change no loss of matter occurs […] in all the varied modes of physical change, no loss of energy takes place.” -Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe When it comes to the physical laws of the Universe, perhaps the most unbreakable of all seems to be the law of conservation of energy. In every…

“I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.” –Edward Witten String theory is…

Top 10 Physics Predictions for 2016 (Synopsis)

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.” -T.S. Eliot It’s the end of the year, and so you know what that means: time for lazy recaps of “the year that was” everywhere you look. Why settle for last year’s news, though, when you can start making predictions…

The Astronaut Hopeful’s Manifesto (Synopsis)

“I wasn’t destined to be an astronaut. I had to turn myself into one.” –Chris Hadfield Many of us dream of becoming astronauts as a child, but give up on that dream for a number of reasons — the seemingly impossible odds, the demands of daily life, the rigors of preparation — and never even…

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” -Stanislaw Jerzy Lec When stars are born, it normally happens in groups of thousands or more, all at once. They range from just 8% the mass of our Sun, which are dim, red, and long-lived, to dozens or even hundreds of times…

“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject… And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will…

“”There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win, because it works.”” -Stephen Hawking Every week on Starts With A Bang brings with it a new set of considerations about the Universe we all inhabit. It was awfully busy here, with two…

“The farther we peer into space, the more we realize that the nature of the universe cannot be understood fully by inspecting spiral galaxies or watching distant supernovas. It lies deeper.” -Robert Lanza When you take a look at a spiral galaxy in the night sky, it seems obvious that the stars on the inner…