Perhaps the ultimate why question: Why is there something rather than nothing? Sean Carroll’s blog is a feed on my blog. I enjoyed reading his recent post and paper on this question. Quite a challenge to summarize the topic in 15 pages. I’ve talked before about the issue of why the universe exists at all… Continue reading Ultimate why?
So, on the 10^n scale, today Space.com posed the interesting question “What Is the Biggest Thing in the Universe?” Scientists have created the first map of a colossal supercluster of galaxies known as Laniakea, the home of Earth’s Milky Way galaxy and many other. This computer simulation, a still from a Nature journal video, depicts… Continue reading Biggest thing in the universe?
Today’s post is somewhat different than usual. I’m highlighting a YouTube channel. Communicating science to a general audience has a long history. The bibliography for my physics blog contains some books by authors to this purpose. Modern physics has many great stories, and the just plain strangeness of quantum physics lends itself to great storytelling.… Continue reading Communicating what physics says — The Science Asylum
Yesterday Space.com summarized some of the highlights in quantum physics for 2017 (slideshow): “Quantum Physics in 2017.” This year ushered in astonishing quantum discoveries from all corners — deep-buried neutrino labs in Antarctica, quantum-computing labs at major universities and even thunderstorms rumbling over Japan. From time crystals to the elusive tetraquark, here are 15 of… Continue reading Quantum physics 2017 — highlights
So many media headlines today regarding the observation of both light (EM spectrum, not just visible/optical light) and gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars. Lots of visualizations. Big science in action. Here’s a sampling of headlines: Gravitational waves from kilonova collision of neutron stars discovered – The Washington Post Gravitational waves: So many new toys… Continue reading Kilonovas and multi-messenger astrophysics
As noted previously, quantum physics has struggled with infinities. A recent Space.com article on black holes reminded me of another part of that saga. Black holes serve as touchstones in several ways. Wiki: … there are some theoretical circumstances where the end result is infinity. One example is the singularity in the description of black… Continue reading Beyond the infinity of black holes
Much in the media over the years, the Cassini–Huygens space mission ended today with the controlled re-entry of the Cassini orbiter into Saturn’s atmosphere after over 13 years there. Wiki: Cassini–Huygens, or more commonly, Cassini, is a Flagship-class unmanned robotic spacecraft which was planned, built, launched, and operated in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and… Continue reading Cassini finale — historic Saturn mission ends
I’ve followed news and documentaries on the Voyager probes over the decades. A friend recently wrote: Did you happen to see the recent retrospective on the Voyager space crafts on PBS? 1 Great show! Fascinating to see how much their work and their “baby” meant to the scientists and engineers — now in their 80s.… Continue reading The Golden Record — “We offer friendship across the stars”
There’s a lot of media coverage on the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. More attention than I remember for any eclipse event. These events have been noteworthy throughout history. Varied reactions and interpretations. This Space.com article “How Eclipses Drove 2,000 Years of Math: A Q&A With Stephen Wolfram” (August 18, 2017) highlights… Continue reading Eclipse as tale of computation
Imagine doing a survey where you ask people “How old is the universe?” – as a multiple choice question: 1,000’s of years 100,000’s of years Millions of years Billions of years Other _______________ What would you expect as a result? Quite a mix? Well, among scientists this question is essentially settled, as indicated in some… Continue reading Age of universe — implications?