The Godless Particle

Last July I ended a post on the Higgs boson with an admonition: “Just don’t get me started on this ‘God particle’ business.” But did Christie listen? “I’m sharing it with my husband,” she emailed me about the post. “This whole ‘god particle’ thing has been driving him completely crazy.” The term, at least in the […]

I Saw Them Standing There

I was watching the Beatles on “Ed Sullivan” the other night when I got to thinking about Galileo. “Ladies and gentlemen, here are The Beatles!” cried Ed, in his imitable style, and the camera cut to curtains flying apart with an abandon that matched the song’s first notes, already slamming away. Then Paul stepped to […]

Vanishing Points

If the artwork to the left looks familiar, the reason might be that it was part of the argument that Ann made in her post on Tuesday. She suggested that the beauty of the Florentine paintings of the fifteenth century—“stunning, literally; you look at them and can hardly breathe”—couldn’t have been due only to the […]

Abstruse Goose: Rear Window

Granted that Abstruse Goose is being a little juvenile — I prefer to think of him not as immature but just young — and certainly Galileo occasionally had non-astronomical thoughts, even if AG is making them up.  But the writing and the drawing of Jupiter and its little stars, its “stellae,” Galileo  called them, are […]

Talking Universe Blues, Part 1

(This post is the first in a three-part series. “Talking Universe Blues” will continue over the next two Fridays.) “Does gravity exist in other universes?” The question, I admit, stumped me. Did she—fourth row, on the aisle—mean that gravity might be leaking into our universe from a parallel universe? Unlikely. Her puzzled, perhaps lost, expression didn’t […]