In the 1992 documentary A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking describes what we would see if we were observing an astronaut nearing a black hole’s event horizon—the barrier beyond which gravitation is so great that not even light can escape. He invites us to imagine that the astronaut is wearing a watch, and that […]
If you haven’t seen the movie Interstellar, you might not recognize the image above. It’s the black hole that figures prominently in the climax. But even if you have seen the movie, chances are excellent you still don’t know what you’re looking at. I didn’t, anyway, at least the first few days I spent staring at […]
Like millions of other Americans, I’ve spent some time in the last week wondering whether the grand jury proceedings in the shooting death of Michael Brown were a perversion of justice from the get-go. I don’t claim to have had any great societal insights as a result, but I can claim a personal one—the kind of […]
The congressional session that begins in the New Year, according to the incoming leaders of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, will do nothing to address anything. Although Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the presumptive majority leader of the Senate, and John Boehner of Ohio, the Speaker of the House, did not make that promise explicitly, it is […]
Time for another visit from Bad Science Poet. Remember: “It’s not the science that’s bad—it’s the poetry!”™ A LESSON IN HUMILITY FOR SCIENTISTS Bunsen had a burner. Ike had Tina Turner. And which became president?
This week LWON presents “Off Our Meds,” an examination of some scary issues in medicine. We won’t resort to fear mongering, because we don’t have to. Medicine is scary enough as it is. The doctor was sitting in a chair next to the window, gazing out. His features gave nothing away, save serious thought. I watched him […]
You’d think a wall panel in the Galileo gallery in the Galileo wing of the Galileo Museum would be a good place to get an accurate context for Galileo’s historical significance. You’d be wrong: “These astronomical discoveries heralded a revolution destined to demolish an image of the universe that had lasted for two thousand […]
September 1-5, 2014. This week, Helen discovered a late summer symphony of peal bells and cicadas. Listen! Ann discovered an unexpected but welcome pattern in the pronouns that the astronomers are using to describe their colleagues — “she.” Richard introduced a new occasional LWON series — the Bad Science Poet. (Motto: “It’s not the science that’s bad—it’s […]