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 […]
Tag Archives: universe
What does that Black Hole image tell us? Much more (and also less) than you may think.
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 […]
Einstein’s long-lost message tells a tale of what time really is – and really isn’t!
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 […]
Finding new physics: How to get a big bang for our bucks
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 finds an original solution
“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 […]
Stephen Hawking’s big ambition and the secret sauce that kept it just beyond his reach
Stephen Hawking’s final paper was published this week. Like his last book, The Grand Design, it is about how the universe began. In 1979, he became the seventeenth Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. His modest aim was to understand the universe, the whole thing, from beginning to end. He missed his mark by […]
With a new way to measure space we may learn why it is expanding.
These are exciting times. Every few months astronomy surprises us with insights into ancient secrets. New telescopes are scanning galaxies throughout the visible universe. Most galaxies are mind-bogglingly far away. Exactly how far has long been a fundamental issue. But we just got a whole new way to measure it. Today the universe is much […]
Albert Einstein showed that space has shape. Let’s take a look at this esoteric concept.
We now know that, far from being nothing, space is a something. Indeed space is a much more substantial something than the average density of all the matter that we see in the universe. We also know that space has shape as Albert Einstein showed. But what is the shape of space? How are we […]
At last an answer: What happened at the Big Bang
What exactly happened when the universe was born? What happened at the Big Bang? is the title of last summer’s popular science exhibition sponsored by six leading British universities and the Royal Society in London. Amid much fascinating information, the exhibition’s answer was: We don’t know. Yet, as Science Seen’s readers will recall, that answer […]