Today’s insights and commentary from the world’s leading scientist’s on Twitter and YouTube postings on astronomy, physics, biology, evolution, SETI, cosmology, genetics, and climate change.
Life in the Universe—Harvard’s Avi Loeb
“What changed since the days of Carl Sagan is that now we know that a quarter of all the stars have a habitable planet like the Earth. This means they have a planet with a surface temperature roughly similar to Earth’s and a size similar to Earth’s. This implies that, in principle, you can have liquid water on the surface of such planets, and the chemistry of Life as we know it. And if you rolled the dice tens of billions of times for all these planets in the Milky Way galaxy, there is a high likelihood that we would get the same outcome from the same initial conditions. To me, that’s a very strong argument that we are not special — that we should have cosmic modesty.”
Why do people think the Earth is flat? –Seth Shostak, chief astronomer, SETI Institute
The Earth is not round. Technically, it’s an oblate spheroid. But for some people, the first statement is not even approximately correct. Flat Earthers believe that our planet resembles – not a slightly squashed grapefruit – but a thick pancake. A journalist who covered a Flat Earth convention describes the rationale behind this ever-more popular belief. More…
A Battle Is Raging in the Tree of Life –Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist
Which came first, the sponge or the comb jelly?
For the past decade, the two groups have been caught up in a raging battle, at least in the pages of scientific journals. At stake is a noble place in evolutionary history: closest living analogue of the first-ever animal. A new analysis, published Wednesday in Royal Society Open Science, hands victory back to the sponges, although more bouts are sure to come. More…
Seeing Through the Big Bang –Into Another World? Sir Roger Penrose
Knowledge is infinite and must be passed down. We all should know how it began.
Extraterrestrial Life –astrobiologist Charles Cockell
“Alien life may have many similarities to life here.”
Shape-Shifting Cosmos –physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed at the Institute for Advanced Studies
In 2013, one of the leading particle physicists of his generation, Nima Arkani-Hamed at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton and Jaroslav Trnka, founding member of the Center for Quantum Mechanics and Physics, found that the amplitudes of certain particle collisions are encoded in the volume of a gem-like geometric object, which they named the amplituhedron, that makes reference to neither space nor time, raising metaphysical questions about the meaning of physics and the nature of reality
“The miraculous shape-shifting property of the laws is the single most amazing thing I know about them,” Arkani-Hamed told Natalie Walchover for The New Yorker this past fall. It “must be a huge clue to the nature of the ultimate truth.”
Spacetime –Sean Carroll physicist Caltech
Minkowski, who was formerly Einstein’s mathematics professor: “Henceforth, space for itself, and time for itself shall completely reduce to a mere shadow, and only some sort of union of the two shall preserve independence.”
Einstein: that’s just “superfluous learnedness.”
Exoplanets –Every star in the known universe has at least one planet
This short video, just over a minute long, takes you on a journey from 1991, when no exoplanets were known, to today’s 4,003+ known exoplanets. Why the plus? According to the NASA Exoplanet Archive, the number of known exoplanets has already jumped up to 4,031 and counting!
Apollo 11 Mission -Astronaut Buzz Aldrin
When we were peering out of our quarantine window we saw faces of pure excitement! Our #Apollo11 mission belonged to all of them, and to the millions of Americans who watched our backs. We must continue dreaming to go back to the Moon, Mars, and beyond! The time is now!
Scientists May Have Figured Out How to Speak to Aliens — And Here’s What It Sounds Like
David Grinspoon, the principal scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, and Ka Chun Yu, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s curator of space science, believe that alien species wouldn’t care about our technology, our literature or our precious resources. They’d want to communicate, and the most likely way to do so is through music.
That’s why Grinspoon and Yu formed the House Band to the Universe.