It was the winter solstice in New Zealand this week, and from now on we’ll be getting longer days and lighter mornings. Except, for a couple of weeks, we won’t. It’ll get darker, later, for a while. So what gives? I mean, the solstice is meant to be the moment when it all turns around… … More Why mornings get darker after the winter solstice
The revelation a while back that Winston Churchill had written a paper on aliens isn’t too surprising. The great statesman was literate, erudite, deeply interested in history and the sciences, and knew many of the key figures in the British scientific community. What he had to say was very much in line with the thinking … More Are we so arrogant to suppose aliens will be like us?
It’s SO COOL that we’ve found seven rocky and (broadly) Earth-sized planets orbiting a red dwarf star just 39 light years away. How cool? I’m talking leap in the air and shout ‘this is totally fucking uber-cool‘ scale cool. It’s exciting like nothing else astronomical for a long while. It’s – well, figure this: it’s … More Five cool things about TRAPPIST-1 and its seven worlds
One of the great appeals to me of cosmology isn’t so much what we learn about the universe, as what we learn about ourselves. Take the shape of the universe, for example. Cosmologists have long wondered about it. What is the overall structure of the space-time continuum with its myriad galaxies, including ours? The actual … More The Earth isn’t flat, but the universe might be
The classical problem with falling into a black hole is a pretty simple one. You don’t come out. Ever. Also, as you go down, you’re turned into spaghetti. Or do you? Albert Einstein’s General and Special Theories of Relativity – both of which have been absolutely proven through every single test ever – tell us … More Bridge building with Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen. Or, why Stargate can’t happen…
Last week I made a flippant comment on Facebook about the kinetic energy a marshmallow would have were it accelerated to lightspeed. I knew it would be giganormous. Needless to say, being a bit of a geek, I then had to go and figure out exactly what it was. First, though, a few words of … More What happens when you’re hit by a marshmallow moving at light speed
My short science book Explaining Our Weird Universe 1: cool stuff about time, black holes and quantum magic, is published today. I’m very pleased to have been able to write this. It’s an introduction to the way physicists see the universe just now – a series of short essays exploring some of the weirder concepts … More Explaining Our Weird Universe 1 – out now!