Can strings be the ultimate constituents of the universe–more fundamental than matter or energy, and even than space or time? If they’re not made of matter or energy, what are they, then?
I have a prediction. There is a scientific hypothesis, formulated over 20 years ago, that we will one day look back on, when the evidence is in, and say “Of course that was right!
Physics, unlike biology or geology, was not considered to be a historical science until now. Physicists have prided themselves on being able to derive the vast bulk of phenomena in the universe from first principles.
Two weeks ago, I blogged about David Bohm’s interpretation of quantum mechanics. Like Einstein and Louis de Broglie before him, Bohm argued that quantum randomness is not intrinsic to nature, but reflects our ignorance of a deeper level of reality.
I met Stephen Hawking in the summer of 1990, when I spent five days in northern Sweden at a conference attended by 30 or so leading cosmologists.
In recent days I’ve had some interesting conversations. There’s a giddiness going around, related to an outpouring of science love – the kind you get from President Obama introducing TV science shows, the kind that has wonderful visuals, but is, well, a wee bit simplistic (a sin that none of us could ever, ever be [...]
The latest data from the Planck satellite suggest the highly touted finding of spacetime ripples may have been mistaken
From time to time, I’ve done something that could be construed as blogging for years now (at my web site, sciencewriter.org), but I am still a blogosphere novice.
In my last post Steven Weinberg, one of history’s greatest physicists, answers questions about progress—or the lack thereof—in particle physics, cosmology and politics.
Gravitational Waves Reveal the Universe before the Big Bang: An Interview with Physicist Gabriele Veneziano
It’s not usually put like this, but the discovery of primordial gravitational waves two weeks ago has given us our first direct glimpse of a period before the big bang.
…living in a place that makes doing cosmology hard. Let’s backtrack a little. Unless you’ve been living under a particularly thick and insulating rock you’ll know that in recent months the world of experimental cosmology (what would have previously been called observational cosmology, or just plain old astronomy) has been on tenterhooks waiting to see [...]
We live on a spinning and orbiting world, but we don't usually think about our other, greater motions through the cosmos—maybe we should
Physicists Think They Can Solve the Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics, Cosmology, and Black Holes in One Go [Guest Post]
It’s lucky that debates over the meaning of quantum mechanics are so entertaining, because they seem to go on forever. The sundry proposed interpretations make the same experimental predictions, so many people fret that there’ll never be a way to decide among them.
I was immersed in the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Dallas this week, which meant that I could not catch more than wisps of the thrilling announcement from cosmology on Monday that could potentially confirm the prediction of inflation.
Few people were as thrilled with the big physics news today as physicist Andrei Linde. One of the main authors of inflation theory--the idea that the universe expanded incredibly rapidly just after it was born in the big bang--Linde has reason to be excited.
One might think that success in science requires seeing through your own bullshit as well as the bullshit of others. But in my experience, this quality is quite rare.
I’ve always been an Edgar Allan Poe fan, so much so that I even watched the horrifying—not in a good way–2012 film The Raven.
I love apostates, believers in or, better yet, conceivers of a theory who turn against it. They restore my faith in science, because they show that scientists can overcome attachment to their own brainchildren, a feat that is essential for progress and cannot be taken for granted.
Living on a small planet in a big universe exposes us to all manner of existential problems, but what are the worst, and what are the weirdest?
What separates good from bad troublemakers? Productive provocateurs from mere contrarians, bullshit artists, attention-seekers? This is the personalized equivalent of philosophy’s demarcation problem, which involves telling genuine from pseudo-science.