It’s safe to say that the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus shook up the whole Universe. Well, our understanding of our place in the Universe. It was Copernicus who came up with the heliocentric model, placing the Sun at the center of the Solar System, with the Earth as just another planet.
What a week! I’m still on a book launch buzz, before I can get back to “normal”, if there is such a thing for someone constantly travelling. And now that the book stuff is finally winding down, I can start focusing on what’s next onShow More Summary
There's a lot you can learn by just staring at an object, watching how it changes in brightness. This is the technique of photometry, and it has helped astronomers discover variable stars, extrasolar planets, minor planets, supernovae, and much more.
How heavy is a kilogram, how long is a second? How warm is a degree? We measure our Universe is so many different ways, using different units of measurement. But how do scientists come up with measurement tools which are purely objective?
Following up on my recent request for information about Toronto/tkaronto (and my much earlier query about Wampanoag), I have a question arising from this very interesting half-hour talk in which Amy King, Julia Bloch, and Tom Pickard discuss Basil Bunting’s reading of Whitman’s great “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” (they only play a few […]
The “yoga mat chemical” (azodicarbonamide) is the latest food-based fearmongering, thanks to an unscientific petition by the self-described “food babe,” who apparently feels that she is qualified because she is a computer scientist. (Well, it has the word “science” in it.) Unfortunately, the “yoga mat chemical” is an effective meme. Who wants to eat something [...]
Pop quiz. How did Einstein win his Nobel prize? Was it for relativity? Nope, Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for the discovery of the photoelectric effect; how electrons are emitted from atoms when they absorb photons of light. But what is it? Let’s find out.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast doesn’t have an exciting format—it consists of professional readings of O.D.N.B. entries. But the podcast producers obviously like picking out quirky subjects to share with listeners. Show More Summary
Around this time last year a space rock crashed into the Earth above Chelyabinsk, Russia. It brightened the skies for hundreds of kilometers, broke windows and injured many people. Let’s look back at the event. What happened, and what did we learn?
Just take a look at the surface of the Moon and you can see it experienced a savage beating in the past. Turns out, the whole Solar System is a cosmic shooting gallery, with stuff crashing into other stuff. It sure sounds violent, but then, we wouldn't be here without it.
Out here in the Milky Way’s suburbs, stellar collisions are unheard of. But there are places in the galaxy where stars whiz past each other, and collisions can happen. When stars collide, it’s a catastrophic event, and the stellar wreckage is visible half a galaxy away.
As I posted last Sunday, I was on ABC local radio (Adelaide 891 AM) with Ashley Walsh starting 11:40 am ACDST. However, I didn't post until AFTER the show, so people who might have been interested missed out (so much for self-promotion).Well, it turns out they recorded the session, and it is up on the Weekends Blog. Show More Summary
Lost in the stacks bills itself as “the one-and-only research-library rock’n’ roll radio show”. Every Friday, they broadcast a one-hour show on WREK Atlanta, where they chat about research-library issues and play tenuously relevant songs. Show More Summary
In our previous episode, we introduced Arthur C. Clarke, the amazing man and science fiction writer. Today we’ll be discussing his legacy and ideas on space exploration. You’ll be amazed to hear how many of the ideas we take for granted were invented or just accurately predicted by Arthur C. Clarke.
Arthur C. Clarke was one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. He defined the genre, and revolutionized our ideas about what it will take to become a true space faring civilization. In the first of our two part series on Arthur C. Clarke, we examine the man’s life and his books.
BBC Crossing Continents episode on "the Diggers" who find unburied war dead in Russia. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/cc/cc_20140109-1115a.mp3 hat tip to Jacek Górecki
As we’ve said before, all telescopes really want to be in space. In part 3 of our series on amateur telescope making, we bring you up to speed on the final frontier: amateurs building space telescopes. The hardware and software is available off the shelf, and launches have never been more affordable. The era of amateur space telescopes has arrived.
@In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg IOT: Plato’s Symposium 02 Jan 14 Download: iot_20140102-1030a.mp3
Some astronomers are control freaks. It’s not enough to buy a telescope, they want to craft every part of the experience with their own hands. If you’re ready, and willing to get your hands dirty (and covered in glass dust), you can join thousands of amateur telescope makers and build your own telescope from scratch.
The Universe is filled with hot fusion, in the cores of stars. And scientists have even been able to replicate this stellar process in expensive experiments. But wouldn’t it be amazing if you could produce energy from fusion withoutShow More Summary