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 August 4, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Epic Battle Of Science Vs. Malarkey

Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 8:20 am

Science does a lot of things for us. It creates astonishing technologies transforming our lives for the better. It reveals unseen dimensions of wonder from the grandeur of spinning galaxies to the marvels of microscopic cells.

But for all that wonder and all those game changing technologies, sometimes science just turns out to be the best way to call "BS."

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Tue July 28, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Divergence Of Art And Science

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 2:29 pm


Here at 13.7, we have have spent considerable time thinking about art and science. In particular, we've often tried to unpack the meaning of their similarities.

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Sun July 26, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

This Is Your Brain On The Outdoors

Alexander Burzik iStockphoto

The New York Times recently carried a fascinating report on how a walk in nature can actually change the wiring in your brain. According to the story, not only did a brief walk in the woods make people report they felt happier but, using brain scans, researchers found time nature changed neurological functioning as well.

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Tue July 21, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Does Mindfulness Mean Anything?

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 1:00 pm

Emir Memedovski iStockphoto

We are in the middle of a mindfulness revolution.

According to Time, The Huffington Post and a host of other media outlets, mindfulness and meditation are having their moment in the spotlight. From hospitals to corporate wellness programs, mindfulness is — supposedly — a new path to relieving stress, lifting depression and increasing happiness.

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Tue July 14, 2015

How Long Would It Take To Drive To Pluto?

Originally published on Tue July 14, 2015 7:18 pm

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So how will New Horizons impact your life? Well, the next time the kids ask, are we there yet, you can tell them about the distance New Horizons traveled to get to the far reaches of outer space. Astrophysicist Adam Frank helps us wrap our brains around it.

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Tue July 7, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

How Long Would It Take To Drive To Pluto?

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 12:22 pm


We don't make very good judges of distance, not on cosmic scales at least. Using our own wanderings on Earth as the judge of all things, evolution has left us poorly prepared for the epic scales of all things astronomical.

This week, as a box of electronics called New Horizons prepares to complete a nearly 10-year journey to Pluto, it's a good moment to reflect on just how far away even the objects in our astronomical backyard are from us.

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Tue June 30, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Science And The Agony Of Ignorance

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 9:31 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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