Marcelo Gleiser

Marcelo Gleiser is a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. He is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College.

Gleiser is the author of the books The Prophet and the Astronomer (Norton & Company, 2003); The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang (Dartmouth, 2005); A Tear at the Edge of Creation (Free Press, 2010); and The Island of Knowledge (Basic Books, 2014). He is a frequent presence in TV documentaries and writes often for magazines, blogs and newspapers on various aspects of science and culture.

He has authored over 100 refereed articles, is a Fellow and General Councilor of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House and the National Science Foundation.



Wed July 29, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

'Unity': Are We There Yet?

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 2:52 pm

Unity is a film from the writer and director of Earthlings.
Nation Earth


Wed July 22, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Game Of Quarks: A Guide For The Perplexed

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 5:21 pm


Nature is the ultimate puzzle player, as scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) found out last week.

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Wed July 15, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Pluto Encounter Is A Legacy Of Our Generation

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 3:17 pm


It finally happened. On Tuesday, the space probe New Horizons passed by a mere 7,800 miles from Pluto, the closest encounter ever with a world that is, on average, 3.7 billion miles from Earth.

It took nine years for the very fast probe to get there, something that our 13.7 blogger Adam Frank estimated would take some 6,923 years by car "give or take a few decades."

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Wed July 8, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Brain's Remarkable Sculpting Of Memories

Originally published on Wed July 8, 2015 3:13 pm


It is a remarkable fact that the brain, made of neurons and their connections to one another named synapses, is able to remember.

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Wed July 1, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Designing Superhumans


The age of genetic design is here.

It is now possible to edit genes of diverse organisms — almost like we edit a string of text — by cutting and pasting (splicing) genes at desired locations. A recent technology known as CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) allows for the targeted control over cellular organization, regulation and behavior. CRISPR has its origins in the immune systems of bacteria, using short RNA sequences to disrupt the genetic structure of foreign attackers.

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Wed June 17, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

After Long Slumber, Philae Says Hi To The World

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 9:17 am

An artist impression shows Philae on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
ESA/ATG medialab AP

In a technological feat that moved the world, last November the European Space Agency landed the small probe Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which is cruising at some 100,000 miles per hour toward the sun. Excitement turned to high drama when the landing put the probe away from the sun's rays and, thus, from its energy source.

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Wed June 10, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

If You Don't Know You Are Held Captive, Does It Matter?


Last week, I held a class discussion on the issue of freedom. This was the closing lecture of my Dartmouth course "Question Reality!," an examination of the nature of physical reality and the limits of knowledge.

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Wed June 3, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The High Price Of What We Eat

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 12:26 pm


On World Water Day, March 22, I wrote here at 13.7 that water — particularly its scarcity — should be one of our top worries for the coming decades. We listed a website with many disturbing facts about water or lack thereof, across the globe.

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Wed May 20, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Viewing A Universe In Flux

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 4:36 pm

The cluster and star-forming region Westerlund 2.

The phenomenally successful Hubble Space Telescope turned 25 last month.

To celebrate the occasion, the Hubble team released a spectacular photo of a "stellar nursery," a region of space where huge amounts of gas and dust churn dramatically under gravity's never-resting arms to create new stars and, with them, new planets. Known as Westerlund 2 in the constellation Carina, it houses some 3,000 stars, some of them the hottest and brightest in our galaxy.

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Wed May 13, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Merging Global Values In A More Secular America

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:54 pm

The percentage of Americans affiliated with a religion is declining, according to a new study.

We have an African-American president and may soon have a female president. But would Americans ever elect an atheist or agnostic president?

Perhaps in a decade or so.

A new Pew Research Center survey, dramatically titled "America's Changing Religious Landscape," has painted a somewhat surprising picture of the decline of Christians as a share of the population since 2007, contrasted with the rise of those claiming to be unaffiliated to any particular religion.

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