Science Metaphors (cont.): Sub-Grid Physics

Science, so useful to our lives in so many ways, also usefully supplies metaphors from which we may find comfort or edification. An astronomer told me that the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way, was surrounded by a tenuous halo of hot gas.  “How can gas stay hot, out there in space?”  I asked.  […]

Matter In the Universe, At Present

This is the universe at present.  You’re seeing not the light but the dark — you knew that most of the universe’s matter is dark, right? – and its motions.  Not until the far right end are you seeing the light.  Go ahead and clickety click all over this; zoom it in and out, drag it around. […]

The Truth Is Out There: The Planet X Files

Did you know there’s a tenth planet—well, ninth, if you don’t count Pluto—that’s on a collision course with Earth, and the government has built a telescope in Antarctica to monitor its movements, only they don’t want the public to know about this impending doomsday because they don’t want to cause a worldwide panic? It’s true! […]

REAL Mathematicians Unhindered by Laws of Physics

I think this is funny because it explains a problem I’ve had with math all along, which is that  math just makes stuff up:  makes up number, and space between numbers, and relations between numbers, and I’m not even mentioning zero.  Also I know that the horizon problem went something like, the universe shouldn’t have […]

Ask Mr. Cosmology

Q:  What happened before the Big Bang? Mr. Cosmology:  If I told you, God would have to kill you. Q: What is time? Mr. Cosmology:  Is 9:30. Q:  I just bought a telescope.  Do you have any advice for a first-time sky watcher? Mr. Cosmology:  What happens in Vega, stays in Vega. Q:  How many […]

Taking Cosmology Too Seriously

Cosmology did it to me again.  First it started out by saying that the universe is expanding, but all its mutual gravity pulls against the expansion so the universe is actually slowing down and might just end by being pulled into a cosmic black hole.  I thought this sounded a little extreme but it made […]