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“When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.” –Niels Bohr Shortly after the Big Bang, the first nuclear fusion reactions occurred in the Universe, filling it with hydrogen, helium, and little else. Billions of years…

A Quantum of Parody (Synopsis)

Although physicists are well-known for their quirky personalities, the in-joke among ourselves is our extremely nerdy sense of humor, telling jokes about our field, our equations, and of course, the legends in our field. These range from the subtle (Schrodinger walks into a bar, and also he doesn’t), to the mischievous (Heisenberg gets pulled over…

If we want to understand the Universe at a fundamental level — all the forces on all scales — the biggest obstacle facing us is to come up with a correct, consistent, testable and verifiable theory of quantum gravity. To no one’s great surprise, we’re not quite there yet. In 2001, Lee Smolin — one…

“The wonder is, not that the field of the stars is so vast, but that man has measured it.” –Anatole France Wherever large, dense collections of cool gas gather together under the force of their own gravity, new stars are bound to form. Every galaxy goes through peaks and lulls in star formation, yet at…

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti If you want to learn something — whether it’s abstract or concrete, solving…

“Men who wish to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.” -Heraclitus This past week at Starts With A Bang put on quite a show, and you — as always — didn’t disappoint. If you missed anything, here’s what went on: Learning to chill (a guest post from Paul Halpern), Does a…

“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 It’s a difficult…

They say ‘A flat ocean is an ocean of trouble. And an ocean of waves… can also be trouble.’ So, it’s like, that balance. You know, it’s that great Oriental way of thinking, you know, they think they’ve tricked you, and then, they have.” –Nigel Tufnel When you travel towards an object like a moon,…

Pluto’s Unique Moons! (Synopsis)

“Movin’ right along. You take it, you know best. Hey, I’ve never seen the Sun come up in the West?” –The Muppet Movie Few things in this world are as regular as sunrise and sunset. With the application of a little physics, you can predict exactly where and when the sun will rise or set from…

“Lost — yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” –Horace Mann The beauty of a sunset (or sunrise) is rare and unique, happening but once a day for those of us on Earth. But aboard a spacecraft like the ISS,…