“I’m not anybody’s judge; I don’t know what motivates people to do what they do. But I have a lot of admiration for anybody who can start with absolutely nothing and make a little something out of it.” –Wilford Brimley I’ve got a lot of respect for the creativity that goes on over the internet, … Read moreWeekend Diversion: My favorite Viral Video of all time
“If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens… Where Is Everybody?” –Stephen Webb It’s one of the biggest conundrums in the Universe, known as the Fermi Paradox: if the Universe is so conducive to life, and if there are so many opportunities for it within our galaxy alone, why isn’t there any evidence (outside of the … Read moreWhere is Everybody? (Part II)
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” –Benjamin Franklin Recently, a number of people — of widely different ages and levels of education — have contacted me for advice on whether or not pursuing a PhD in astrophysics/physics/science-in-general is right for them. Of course, I can’t tell you whether a path is the right one … Read moreAdvice: Should you get your PhD?
“The radiation left over from the Big Bang is the same as that in your microwave oven but very much less powerful. It would heat your pizza only to -271.3°C, not much good for defrosting the pizza, let alone cooking it.” –Stephen Hawking One of the most powerful predictions of the Big Bang — the … Read moreThe Science of the Cosmic Microwave Background
“I wouldn’t dream of working on something that didn’t make my gut rumble and my heart want to explode.” –Kate Winslet Welcome back for another Messier Monday! At the start of each week, we take a detailed look at one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier Catalogue. This week, we’ve got … Read moreMessier Monday: The First Messier Supernova of 2013, M65
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” –Confucius I never was any good at taking someone’s word for it; I’ve always been the type of person who wants to learn it for myself, and often … Read moreWeekend Diversion: Old Wisdom, New Wisdom?
“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” –Leonardo da Vinci It’s been a busy week here at Starts With A Bang, and with the two recent big posts — one on the eve of … Read moreThe end of NASA's Education and Public Outreach
“Much later, when I discussed the problem with Einstein, he remarked that the introduction of the cosmological term was the biggest blunder he ever made in his life. But this “blunder,” rejected by Einstein, is still sometimes used by cosmologists even today, and the cosmological constant denoted by the Greek letter Λ rears its ugly … Read moreWhat The Entire Universe Is Made Of, Thanks to Planck!
“Scientific discovery and scientific knowledge have been achieved only by those who have gone in pursuit of it without any practical purpose whatsoever in view.” –Max Planck Tomorrow morning, at 8 AM my time, the press conference that cosmologists have spent the past decade waiting for will finally happen, and the Planck satellite — the … Read moreWhat Everyone Should Know about the Universe on the eve of Planck
“A lot of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves.” –Banksy One of the great joys I got to experience came last year, when for the very first time, I was invited to be a guest of honor at a most fabulous convention: MidSouthCon 30! I went into it not … Read moreAdvice to my young self on my one-year-Con-niversary