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“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” –Marcus Aurelius Let there be light! You’d think that would be enough: that you form stars in the Universe, you see those stars in the Universe, and that tells you about what’s out there. If only it were that simple.…

“Go, then. There are other worlds than these.” -Stephen King We think of the Universe as all there ever is, was or will be. But, in fact, there’s a limit to the most distant galaxies, stars, matter and radiation we can see. The hot Big Bang occurred a finite amount of time ago, and hence…

“If you’re puzzled by what dark energy is, you’re in good company.” -Saul Perlmutter The accelerated expansion of our Universe was one of the biggest surprise discoveries of all-time, and something that still lacks a good physical explanation. While many models of dark energy exist, it remains a completely phenomenological study: everything appears consistent with…

“There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.” -Mike Brown, on the possibility of Planet Nine When most people think of the Kuiper belt, they think…

“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…