Archives for April, 2017

“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…

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.” -Rod Serling If we take a look at a two-dimensional surface, it’s pretty apparent that we’re pretty…

“I do have a blurred memory of sitting on the stairs and trying over and over again to tie one of my shoelaces, but that is all that comes back to me of school itself.” -Roald Dahl Most of us learn to tie our shoes when we’re very young, go through life tying it through…

“I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.” -Stephen Hawking Climate science is a hotly debated area, with many disputing the robustness and ethical motivations of the scientists in the field. But even if you throw everything we know…

“Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.” -Ludwig Borne Every so often, an idea comes up in physics claiming that perhaps dark energy isn’t real. The ideas focus on one of two lines of thought: either they discount the observational evidence, or they attempt to show that all the calculations are fundamentally…

“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble. We see GN-z11 at a time when the universe was only three percent of its current age.” -Pascal Oesch Arriving at our eyes after a journey of 13.4 billion years, the light from galaxy GN-z11…