Ask Ethan #17: The Burden of Proof

“Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” –Dream Hampton Perhaps no word in the English language generates as much misunderstanding as the word theory. In scientific circles, this word has a very specific meaning that’s different from everyday use, and — as a theoretical … Read moreAsk Ethan #17: The Burden of Proof

Ask Ethan #12: How far is the distant Universe?

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” –Terry Pratchett It’s the end of the week once again, and so let’s have a go at another Ask Ethan! Perhaps inspired by a great … Read moreAsk Ethan #12: How far is the distant Universe?

Ask Ethan #11: Why does gravity get weaker with distance?

“I wouldn’t know a spacetime continuum or a warp core breach if they got into bed with me.” –Patrick Stewart It’s the end of the week once again, and so it’s time for another Ask Ethan segment! There have been scores of good questions to choose from that were submitted this month alone (and you … Read moreAsk Ethan #11: Why does gravity get weaker with distance?

How Einstein's most famous equation affects you

“It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.” –Albert Einstein You’ve heard and seen it plenty of times: Einstein’s most famous equation, E = mc2. I’ve taken you inside this equation before, which … Read moreHow Einstein's most famous equation affects you

Putting Einstein to the Test

“The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will … Read morePutting Einstein to the Test

Black Holes Won't Incinerate You, After All

“You wait for a gem in an endless sea of blah.” –Lawrence Grossman On the one hand, we have General Relativity, our theory of space, time, and gravity. It describes the Universe on both large and small scales perfectly, from the hot Big Bang to our cold accelerating expansion, from vast superclusters of galaxies down … Read moreBlack Holes Won't Incinerate You, After All

Weekend Diversion: The First Relativistic Video Game!

“There is no such thing as magic, supernatural, miracle; only something that’s still beyond logic of the observer.” –Toba Beta It might be hard to believe, but science tells us truths about the Universe that we might never have intuited or philosophized about if the Universe itself didn’t reveal them to us through investigation. Bap Kennedy … Read moreWeekend Diversion: The First Relativistic Video Game!

Say Something Smart

“You must learn to talk clearly. The jargon of scientific terminology which rolls off your tongues is mental garbage.” –Martin H. Fischer I’ve always thought that the Universe is absolutely amazing; that everything from the tiniest indivisible particles all the way up to the largest structures and superstructures making up the Universe has an amazing … Read moreSay Something Smart

Faster-than-light travel: is it possible?

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?