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!
The idea of aliens arriving and promptly attacking us, Independence Day fashion, recently popped up again largely on the back of another Independence Day movie. But it’s also been offered as a warning by no less a person than Stephen Hawking. And when Hawking says something – well, it pays to listen. Is it true … More Would aliens attack us, Independence Day style?
I think it’s exciting that we’ve found an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star right next door. Proxima Centauri – the closest star to us besides the Sun. Last week’s announcement of Proxima b by the ‘Pale Red Dot’ project, operating mainly from the European Southern Observatory in Chile, was ‘leaked’ a month or so ago. … More Proxima Centauri’s got a planet! Yay, but don’t get too wild yet
As a teenager I remember being wowed by Larry Niven’s ‘known space’ stories, including his Ringworld novels. Looking back, though, I’m not so sure about his aliens. He had two main ones – the Puppeteers and the Kzin. At the time they were pretty cool. Up until the mid-1960s, most (good) aliens basically looked human, … More I figure that Larry Niven’s aliens weren’t alien enough
It’s intriguing how we always talk about stuff like radio, microwaves, light, x-rays and the rest – as if all these were different things. Well guess what – they’re not. They’re all exactly the same thing. Electromagnetic energy. That’s it, really. Well, there are differences – as we’ll see in this post. But in terms … More Explaining the electromagnetic spectrum in less than 550 words
I saw a documentary the other day about Project Orion – which to me underscored just how much times have changed since the 1960s. Owing to a severe attack of geekiness, I already knew quite a bit about the idea, but this added interviews with project scientists such as Freeman Dyson. What was it? On … More Surfing the nuclear blast wave – with science!
I like Trek ‘the original series’ way better than Star Wars ‘Part IV’ because Trek gave us Spock. That’s it, really. But let me explain some more. When Lucas developed Star Wars (by which I mean the original 1977 movie) he deliberately wrote a story that spoke to our deepest senses of mythic self –for … More I like Trek ‘the original series’ way better than Star Wars ‘Part IV’ because…