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The Cosmic Story of Carbon-14

“Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties.” -James Jeans Here on Earth, every living thing is based around four fundamental, elemental building blocks of life: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and, perhaps most importantly, carbon. From diamonds to nanotubes to DNA, carbon is indispensable for constructing practically all of the most intricate…

Big News about Black Holes!

This has been all over my inbox since the press release came out yesterday; it’s been on slashdot (thanks Brian), it’s been at space.com, and there’s a mediocre writeup on Universe Today. What’s the big news? Black Holes don’t destroy information after all! What is this whole information thing, anyway? Take a look at all…

The Science of the Brightest GRB

Last week, the brightest gamma-ray burst ever was observed. (See here.) I wanted to know what it was that caused this bright explosion that, despite it being at redshift z=0.94 (or about 7.5 billion light years away), it was visible on Earth with the naked eye! Well, a scientific paper was written on the observations…

Brightest thing ever?

Those of you who keep up with your news may have seen this headline on CNN last week: Star Explodes Halfway Across Universe. What they’re talking about is a Gamma-Ray Burst, which was so bright that, despite being 7.5 billion light years (that’s 2.3 Gpc) away, it was still visible on Earth with the naked…