Archives for July, 2016

“My eureka moment was in the dead of night, the early hours of the morning, on a cold, cold night, and my feet were so cold, they were aching. But when the result poured out of the charts, you just forget all that. You realize instantly how significant this is—what it is you’ve really landed…

“According to well-known electrodynamic laws, an electron moving in a magnetic field is acted upon by a force which runs perpendicular to the direction of motion of the electron and to the direction of the magnetic field, and whose magnitude is easily determined.” -Pieter Zeeman We’re now full-on into summer here at Starts With A Bang,…

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for.” –Georgia O’Keeffe The Standard Model is great at describing all the known particles we’ve ever observed and how they interact, but there are a number of important hints that it isn’t…

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” –Jean-Luc Picard The laws of electromagnetism could have been incredibly different. Our Universe has two types of electric charge (positive and negative) and could have had two types of magnetic pole (north and south), but only the…

“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” -Stephen Hawking One of the greatest discoveries of the 20th centuries was not only that there were just four fundamental…

“It was the Venus I had prayed to, it was my prayer, though I had no such words. They filled my eyes with tears and my heart with inexpressible joy.” -Ursula Le Guin If you were to rewind the Solar System to the very beginning, with only imperceptibly different initial conditions, how often would Earth…

“Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.” -Richard Feynman Writing in the New York Times on Monday, philosopher James Blachowicz argues that just as “justice” and “courage” are hard to define but easy to recognize, so science is the same way, and that there’s no method to it.…

“Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?” -Job 38:16 When NASA’s Dawn spacecraft discovered the existence of bright, white spots inside one of Ceres’ largest craters, the speculations ran wild, from water to aliens. Instead, it was determined that these highly reflective features are salts,…

“All sins have their origin in a sense of inferiority otherwise called ambition.” -Cesare Pavese We’re halfway through the year at Starts With A Bang, but it feels like the greatest things are just getting started! For one, enjoy our newest podcast: on Interstellar Travel, highlighted by an interview with Larry Niven last month at Balticon…

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” -Joseph Campbell One of the cardinal rules of a black hole is that anything that falls inside the event horizon — that crosses that invisible boundary — can never escape. That’s because the escape velocity from inside the event horizon…