Ask Ethan: Why Did Light Arrive 1.7 Seconds After Gravitational Waves In The Neutron Star Merger? (Synopsis)

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” -C. Northcote Parkinson Every massless particle and wave travels at the speed of light when it moves through a vacuum. Over a distance of 130 million light years, the gamma rays and gravitational waves emitted by merging neutron stars arrived offset by a mere 1.7 seconds, an incredible … Read more

Ask Ethan: How Many Planets Did NASA’s Kepler Miss? (Synopsis)

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them.” -Christiaan Huygens With a field-of-view encompassing 150,000 stars, NASA’s Kepler mission delivered an overwhelming prize when it came to hunting worlds beyond … Read more

Ask Ethan: How Can Worlds That Never Get Above Freezing Have Liquid Water? (Synopsis)

“Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.” -Samuel Taylor Coleridge Here on Earth, water can easily exist in all three phases … Read more

Ask Ethan: How Can A Nation Have Nuclear Power Without The Danger Of Nuclear Weapons? (Synopsis)

“We have to understand the ubiquity of energy in everything we do. Energy is core to our economy and it brings with it environmental challenges, and it’s core to our security challenges.” -Ernest Moniz In 1953, then-President Eisenhower, in the aftermath of World War II and with rising tensions between the USA and the Soviet … Read more

Ask Ethan: Can Normal Stars Make Elements Heavier (And Less Stable) Than Iron? (Synopsis)

“Comrades, this man has a nice smile, but he’s got iron teeth.” -Andrei A. Gromyko When you have a star, perhaps its most defining characteristic is that it fuses lighter elements into heavier ones, releasing energy. While all stars fuse hydrogen into helium, the more massive ones will undergo helium fusion, with the most massive … Read more

Ask Ethan: What science experiments will open the door to the future? (Synopsis)

“Imagination makes us aware of limitless possibilities. How many of us haven’t pondered the concept of infinity or imagined the possibility of time travel? In one of her poems, Emily Bronte likens imagination to a constant companion, but I prefer to think of it as a built-in entertainment system.” -Alexandra Adornetto The dream of futuristic … Read more