The study of cosmology, the branch of the physical sciences that investigates the universe and its properties, presents quite a practical challenge: contrary to most other sciences, where different samples can be probed and analyzed directly, it's impossible to experiment with different universes in the lab.
With glaciers melting and crumbling all over the world, let me tell you the story of the man who first imagined ice ages, the man buried under this stone in Cambridge, Mass. It's an odd gravestone; a rough, clumpy hunk of granite that doesn't look at all like the other markers at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
That's because it isn't. It's an erratic. A single stone found sitting downhill from a glacier in Switzerland that was lifted, packed, shipped to all the way to Massachusetts to honor this man.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:47 pm
It was a revolution in the deepest sense of the word. A new science, quantum mechanics, was sweeping across physics. Its advocates were piling up impressive explanations for new phenomena while its detractors stood on the sidelines complaining bitterly that none of it made sense. Surveying the progress and the carnage one of the new science's founders, Max Planck, penned these now famous words:
Personality disorders represent some of the most challenging and mysterious problems in the field of mental health. People suffering from antisocial personality disorder or obsessive compulsive personality disorder are often misdiagnosed. The effects on the sufferers and their families can be wrenching.
This is for you, Martina Navratilova, for you, Nolan Ryan, for you, Methuselah, for you, Jimmy Carter, and for all of you reading this if you're on the "wrong" side of 50 but still pumping. This week, we've got ourselves a role model, a poster boy for robust old age.
NASA is finally receiving data on Martian soil samples from Curiosity, its rover currently traversing the red planet. The results from the soil samples hint at something exciting, but rover scientists are making very sure not to raise expectations.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:08 am
Step back, lobsters coming through!
This summer lobsters exploded in number along the Maine coast. There were so many crustaceans crawling along the ocean floor – and into fishermen's traps – that lobster prices plummeted. Many fishermen tied up their boats, and a price war even broke out between Canadian and Maine seafood distributors.
The director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said last week that preliminary data showed the possibility that the agency's Mars Science Laboratory – the six-wheeled rover that landed on Mars in August — had found signs of carbon-containing molecules.