“What a delightful irony it will be if the real age of sail has yet to dawn – not only on the oceans of Earth, but also in the far wider seas of space” This is how Arthur C. Clarke envisioned the future of interstellar exploration in the great anthology of essays, poems, and essays […]Read more "A Sail Through the Cosmos"
In the 18th Century, navigating across the seas was fraught with danger and error. With no practical method of determining longitude, sailors had no accurate means of pinpointing their position at sea. Ships had sailed forth only to blunder off course and never return. Sailors had died by the thousands. And, mistakes had jeopardized trade […]Read more "The Clock That Changed the World"
The mere happenstance of a coincidental sequence of events, put together by the blind works of nature, has serendipitously manifested itself in this fascinating complexity around us today, that only appears to bear the illusion of an orderly calibration of deliberate design. This happenstance of undirected natural processes has led to self-directed sentient beings, pondering […]Read more "The Happenstance of Existence"
Rogue planets wander about in interstellar space, detached from their stars and dislodged from their orbits to float freely into the desolate void of the cosmos! A mechanism which presents a very intriguing phenomenon for astronomers. Although such planets are quite elusively hard to detect owing to their relatively faint nature, a number have been discovered. […]Read more "The Wandering Planet"
Naturally-occurring particle accelerators function throughout the universe all the time, perpetually manifesting in energetic outbursts and other events that reveal a universe far more dynamic than our perception would lead us to believe. These natural accelerators are exploded stars, quasars, and black holes that continually send cosmic messengers our way. Buried a few kilometres deep […]Read more "IceCube: Fishing for Cosmic Neutrinos"
As our sense-extending technologies continually project the far elusive reaches of the universe into the confines of our cognition, we find ourselves constantly defining the word observable. NASA’s long-awaited Hubble successor, the James Webb Telescope, is finally taking shape as it promises to give us an unprecedented glimpse into the history of our early universe. Just today […]Read more "Peering Back into the Cosmos"
Few people today have heard of Sir George Cayley but indeed much of the intellectual edifice, upon which the principles of modern aerodynamics rest, can be attributed to the genius of this great thinker. Born in December 1773, this Yorkshire baronet was the first to imagine the airplane. A hundred years before the Wright Brothers, […]Read more "Sir George Cayley: The Father of the Airplane"
Burried layers deep in the ground, about 330 feet below the Franco-Swiss border, lies a marvelous machine, one that has been pushing the boundaries of our knowledge of the universe since its activation in 2008. Thus far, the Large Hadron Collider is the biggest machine ever built and the largest experiment ever attempted. About 27 […]Read more "Seeing Beyond the Higgs: What’s next for the Large Hadron Collider?"