Is physics ending? Serious people say so, not always seriously. Are they right and should we care? In 1996 American science writer John Horgan wrote a book, The End of Science. His thesis was that all the big stuff has been done already, that what he calls ‘the primordial human quest to understand the universe […]
Herd immunity. What is it? What can it do for us? Or to us?
It can be our best friend and our worst enemy.
COVID-19 may infect much of population in many countries. From its origins in Wuhan, China, it has proven lethal in a small but alarming fraction of cases. The principal risk is pneumonia in elderly or already ill patients. There will be no vaccine for at least a year. The world needs an effective treatment right […]
For those concerned about the new coronavirus—these days who isn’t?—good news may be just around the corner. Here’s what it could mean for you and your family and maybe for your job. Like any infectious disease that can kill people, 2019-nCoV is bad news. But so far, its bark is worse than its bite: the […]
We’ve all seen that vast black hole. Its six billion solar masses are so dense no light can escape. It is so far away light from hot gas falling in takes 55 million years to reach us. Well actually, we’ve seen an image. Now that we’ve seen it, what do we know now we didn’t […]
Since the Industrial Revolution the global average temperature has increased by nearly one degree, mostly in the last forty years. One degree is barely discernible. Yet it is blamed for widespread destruction! How can it be so? One degree adds the energy of maybe a million big hydrogen bombs to the upper ocean. It’s an […]
Did Einstein know he left a key to one of the greatest puzzles inflicting physics today encoded in his equations? It has now come to light thanks to advances in two fields—gravity-wave detection and computing. A recent paper in leading journal Science by German physicist Bernd Brügmann looks technical, but has deep implications so straightforward […]
Physics has a big problem: How should it decide what avenues to new fundamental physics to explore? The problem is invisible but affects our lives. We could start to fix it if non-physicists—who pay the bills and stand to reap the benefits—recognize it is our problem and also our opportunity: The fix could be worth […]
“BLACK HOLE MYSTERY” says the cover of a recent Scientific American. “The first supermassive black holes formed earlier than seems possible.” The author is Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan. “What are scientists missing?” the cover asks. Maybe the answer is: A grasp of quantum space and the topology of twist. It’s a massive problem in more […]