Throwback Thursday: An Atom in the Universe

“The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out — there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.” –Richard Feynman It took 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution, billions of years of biological evolution and astronomical numbers of events unfolding exactly as they have … Read more

How are neutron stars magnetic? (Synopsis)

“By allowing the positive ions to pass through an electric field and thus giving them a certain velocity, it is possible to distinguish them from the neutral, stationary atoms.” –Johannes Stark One of the simplest tenets of electromagnetism — the second of the fundamental forces ever discovered — is that charged particles are accelerated parallel to electric … Read more

The Opportunity of a Lifetime… on Mars! (Synopsis)

“In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.”  –John Archibald Wheeler It’s been over a decade, nearly a hundred thousand turns of its wheels and an unprecedented journey that still continues. But finally, after all this time, the Mars Opportunity rover has arrived. Not anyplace that isn’t just like something it’s seen … Read more

Is our Universe left-handed? (Synopsis)

“Since the beginning of physics, symmetry considerations have provided us with an extremely powerful and useful tool in our effort to understand nature. Gradually they have become the backbone of our theoretical formulation of physical laws.” –Tsung-Dao Lee We normally think of the Universe as being symmetric, in the sense that no one direction, location … Read more