Ask Ethan

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“Chlorine is a deadly poison gas employed on European battlefields in World War I. Sodium is a corrosive metal which burns upon contact with water. Together they make a placid and unpoisonous material, table salt. Why each of these substances has the properties it does is a subject called chemistry.” -Carl Sagan Every beginning chemistry…

“There was a young lady named Bright, Whose speed was far faster than light; She set out one day In a relative way, And returned on the previous night.” -A.H. Reginald Butler Throughout the entire Universe, there’s a fundamental law that governs the motions of all particles: Einstein’s relativity. It states that all particles with…

“Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended.” -Francois de La Rochefoucauld So, you’d like to ruin the fabric of your space, would you? Similar to tying a knot in it, stitching it up with some poorly-run shenanigans, running a two-dimensional membrane through it (like a hole in a sponge), etc., it’s…

“It would be great some day to have astronauts in a rover on Mars. But just about anyone except an oil company executive would say its more important to have 50 million solar powered vehicles in the United States.” -Brad Sherman Is terraforming a real possibility for Mars? It seems like one of the most…

“I would argue that in any habitable zone that doesn’t boil or freeze, intelligent life is going to emerge because intelligence is convergent.” -Simon Conway Morris Someday, in the far distant future, the evolution of the Sun will cause it to heat up and emit so much energy that the Earth’s surface will reach a…

“In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance.” -Henry Miller You know it as the most fundamental law of relativity: that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. And yet, the observable Universe itself, which has been around for 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang, is now…

“Black holes are the seductive dragons of the universe, outwardly quiescent yet violent at the heart, uncanny, hostile, primeval, emitting a negative radiance that draws all toward them, gobbling up all who come too close…these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order.” -Robert Coover For the third time since it…

“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” -Hunter S. Thompson When we look at the nearby Universe, it looks a lot like we, ourselves, appear. Nearby galaxies are similar in structure to our own; the…

“It’s everywhere, really. It’s between the galaxies. It is in this room. We believe that everywhere that you have space, empty space, that you cannot avoid having some of this dark energy.” -Adam Riess Have you heard about the accelerating Universe? What about dark energy, vacuum energy, or a cosmological constant? These are terms we…

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth When we look to the deepest reaches of space, we can look for the “first” of any type of object. The first galaxy, the first…