These days, as endless conspiracy theories about Covid-19 flow through my social media feed, I keep thinking of their grandparent, the Apollo moon hoax conspiracy. There are some surprising similarities. Most of the claims today are to do with Covid-19, which (if we are to believe the conspirators) is a fake virus promoted by the … More Covid-19 conspiracy theory isn’t new – think Apollo
It would be nice to think that hydrogen could solve the world’s energy problems. It’s a great fuel: it burns with oxygen to produce heat and water. No by-products. No pollution other than the waste heat. That heat, itself, might be a problem, given enough time – but it’s far less of an evil in … More Why burning hydrogen won’t reduce global pollution any time soon
Is there such a thing as absolute hot – the hottest you can possibly get? And no, I’m not talking about some it-person de jour being voted ‘hottest’ on the planet by some scatalogically-minded magazine trying to up its sales figures. I’m talking about the laws of physics. Temperature. And temperature beyond… er …. temperature. … More What is absolute hotness?
I have never yet successfully watched Avatar, and this despite the fact that it was filmed in the city where I live, and its 3,862 sequels are being developed here right now. I tried watching it. Twice. And fell asleep both times. You can guess that I didn’t think too much of the movie. It … More Why I won’t be watching the Avatar sequels
It’s been a hot week for science. Thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope, an algorithm created by 29-year old PhD graduate Katie Bouman, and a lot of hard work, humanity got its first photo of a black hole – M87 in the galaxy Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away. It wasn’t made with visible … More The science behind the awesome black hole photograph
Here’s a conundrum for you. Back in 1860, Austrian artist Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793-1865) worked up this little scene. A woman, walking along in a pose very familiar to us today, is about to be confronted by a suitor bearing a flower. The painting was titled ‘Die Erwartete’ (‘The Expected’). So was Herr Waldmüller a … More Why yes, it’s proof of time travel, or not
Eighteen months on, the Juno mission to probe the otherwise little-known poles of Jupiter is producing incredible dividends. Check this out. This is just so cool on so many levels. One of the things that NASA and JPL have done is to publish the raw Juno-Cam images sent back by the probe, for everyday people … More By Jove, Jupiter’s impressive!
It seems to me that by our everyday standards, hyper-extreme physics of the Einstein variety is magic – abstract, nonsensical and absurd. To me it’s like dada art. And that also isn’t surprising, conceptually. Setting aside the fact that both dada and Einstein came from Switzerland, the turn of the twentieth century brought the great … More Extreme physics as dada art – really!
The passing of Stephen Hawking marks the end of an era. He was an extraordinary man and an exceptional physicist – one of the greats, standing alongside Einstein, Bohr, Newton, Heisenberg and a small and select handful of others. He was also an exceptional human on many levels, offering wisdom and insight into much about … More The legacy of Stephen Hawking
Lately space science has made a slightly disturbing discovery. Space travel makes you go blind. Really. It’s a bit of a surprise, given that in other ways science has found solutions for most of the biomedical problems of free fall and, along the way, learned an awful lot about osteoporosis, which is a spinoff of … More Don’t space travel. You’ll go blind.