Adam Frank

Adam Frank is a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. A professor at the University of Rochester, Frank is a theoretical/computational astrophysicist and currently heads a research group developing supercomputer code to study the formation and death of stars. Frank's research has also explored the evolution of newly born planets and the structure of clouds in the interstellar medium. Recently, he has begun work in the fields of astrobiology and network theory/data science. Frank also holds a joint appointment at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a Department of Energy fusion lab.

Frank is the author of two books: The Constant Fire, Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate (University of California Press, 2010), which was one of SEED magazine's "Best Picks of The Year," and About Time, Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang (Free Press, 2011). He has contributed to The New York Times and magazines such as Discover, Scientific American and Tricycle.

Frank's work has also appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009. In 1999 he was awarded an American Astronomical Society prize for his science writing.



Tue June 30, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Science And The Agony Of Ignorance

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 5:11 pm

A cluster of mysterious bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres can be seen in this image, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt. For billions of years, it has been out there, biding its time, orbiting 250 million miles from the sun.

Now, for the first time, a robot emissary from Earth has made the long dark journey to Ceres, revealing it to be a spherical, cratered world awash in the color of gray mud. Except, however, for the bright spots. The weird, mysterious bright spots.

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Tue June 16, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Why The Pope's Stand On Climate Change Matters

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 2:43 pm

Marco Campagna iStockphoto

Things are about to get really interesting in the long-stalled public discussion on climate change.

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Tue June 9, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

This Summer Explore An 'Alien' Planet: Earth

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 4:16 pm

The view, from about 6,000 ft., near Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia, on June 6.
Courtesy of Adam Frank

The bright sun overhead was leaning down hard. The heat on my skin felt like I was standing too close to a fire. Each step took patience, as I tried to find footholds on the softening snow.

We'd been at it for hours, trying to cross a broad alpine valley between two sharp ridges. I looked up for a moment to fill my lungs and adjust the heavy pack. The snowfield stretched into the distance, broken only by bare fields of scree. For a moment, I felt like I was walking in some alien world.

Then, I realized I was.

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Tue June 2, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

When Robots Run

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 2:57 pm


They are coming. It's just a matter of time — and the time is likely shorter than most of us imagine.

I'm talking about robots.

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Wed May 27, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Why Aren't The Aliens Here Already?

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 12:18 pm

One artist's rendering of imagined alien beings.

The story begins like this: In 1950, a group of high-powered physicists were lunching together near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Sun May 24, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Festival Of Science


Tue May 19, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

One Concept That Gives Physicists A Casper-Like Haunting

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 3:25 pm

Here at 13.7: Cosmos & Culture, we strive to bring you only the finest, most complete "big answers" to life's enduring "big questions."

And when there is more than one point of view to be explored, we lock our jaws onto the issue like a metaphysical pit bull and stay that way until someone calls animal control on us. It is that relentless commitment to the truth that brings us back today to the eternal question of why, exactly, your butt doesn't fall through your chair.

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Tue May 12, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Climate Denialists In Congress Acting As NASA's Kryptonite

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 10:41 am

The Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa as seen from the International Space Station.
Samantha Cristoforetti NASA/ESA

Quick: List the first four words that pop into your mind when you hear NASA.

If you are like most folks, you hit some mix of astronauts, moon landings, space telescopes and Mars probes. Those are pretty positive images representing accomplishments we can all feel proud about.

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Tue May 5, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

How We Came To Be Run By Time

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 10:12 am

Keith Tsuji iStockphoto

Where did time come from? How did it start?

I don't mean cosmic time in a "Big Bang" kind of way. No, I mean something far more intimate.

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Tue April 28, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Why Video Games Matter

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 11:21 am

The Last of Us is a video game that breaks the traditional narrative form of storytelling in games.
Naughty Dog

Human beings are storytellers. This basic, constant instinct is evident throughout history — from creation narratives told around the night's fire to Greek playwrights to the first novels to the flickering images of early motion pictures.

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