“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” –Antisthenes As many of you know, in addition to news about cosmology, space, astronomy, and physics, I’m also heavily involved in education. This includes, in various stages, teaching, curriculum design, and mentoring students. But I got the following … Read moreAdvice for Young Aspiring Scientists
He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. –Douglas Adams When I started writing about science online in January of 2008, I put the word out that I would accept questions from my readers. After all, I knew that there was a lot of misinformation … Read moreHow Good is Your Theory? Open Thread I
Yo ho! It’s hot, the sun is not a place where we could live. But here on earth there’d be no life without the light it gives. We need its light. We need its heat. We need its energy. Without the sun without a doubt there’d be no you and me. –They Might Be Giants … Read moreQ & A: How long would we have if the Sun went out?
“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” –Neils Bohr As many of you know, the Big Bang is one of the most powerful scientific theories we have. It’s also one of the most unsettling. The idea that our entire Universe — filled with practically a trillion galaxies — is only three times … Read moreThe Last Great Prediction of the Big Bang!
“An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.” –Unknown Every now and again, people with all sorts of backgrounds — from some graduate school all the way to having not finished high school — ask me … Read moreSo, you want to get involved in Astronomy?
To follow up on the faster than light post here, let’s ask another question: If you can make a way of transferring information that doesn’t involve matter, is that information limited by the speed of light? First off, let’s go over what information is, and then we’ll talk about how transferring information without matter is … Read moreFaster-Than-Light II: Information?
Apparently, this is becoming a good place for people to get their questions answered! My friend Brian, recently wanted to know what the possibilities were for faster-than-light travel. Specifically, he was interested in it because he wants humans to do it. Brian: but otherwise how will we ever have a civilization like that in Star … Read moreFaster-than-light travel: is it possible?
Okay, so I got a question from my friend Tamara, who’s a high school teacher in my hometown of New York City. It concerns a recent article she read on the front page of the New York Times about something funny that us scientists are calling Boltzmann Brains. I’ve read this article three times since … Read moreBrain-damaged arguments and Boltzmann Brains
I got a great question earlier today from my buddy Zrinka, and decided to figure out the answer for her, and also for myself. She asks: Ethan, is it possible to know, or better to say to imagine somehow how our galaxy looks from outside? What a simple-sounding question! After all, we know what the … Read moreQuestion: The Milky Way to an outsider…?
Dave, one of my online chessplaying buddies, asked me this question (edited for appropriateness): Now this speeding up of the expansion of the universe: Do I understand correctly that one of the theories to explain why relates to “dark matter”? In real simple terms, what in the dark blue blazes is dark matter, and why … Read moreFirst question!