PDF: We made a fancy PDF of this post for printing and offline viewing. Buy it here. (Or see a preview.) Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe.
When Josh was 10 years old, he sat cross-legged on the floor in his parent’s neat, suburban home in Australia, enraptured. It was May 1996 and Andy Thomas had just stepped out of the space shuttle Endeavour and onto the tarmac of Runway 33 of the Kennedy Space Center.
Biology is wondrously strange – so familiar, yet so strikingly different to physics and chemistry. We know where we are with inanimate matter. Ever since Isaac Newton, it has answered to a basically mechanical view of nature, blindly following its laws without regard for purposes.
Since time immemorial, humans have been captivated by water. And the reasons go beyond evolution I’m standing on a pier at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, fifty feet above the Atlantic. To the left and right, forward, back, and below, all I can see is ocean.
With the Hollywood blockbuster Transcendence playing in cinemas, with Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman showcasing clashing visions for the future of humanity, it's tempting to dismiss the notion of highly intelligent machines as mere science fiction.
James H. Simons likes to play against type. He is a billionaire star of mathematics and private investment who often wins praise for his financial gifts to scientific research and programs to get children hooked on math.
Though galaxies look larger than atoms and elephants appear to outweigh ants, some physicists have begun to suspect that size differences are illusory.
Great surprises in science don’t just happen–they’re engineered.
For nearly a century, “reality” has been a murky concept. The laws of quantum physics seem to suggest that particles spend much of their time in a ghostly state, lacking even basic properties such as a definite location and instead existing everywhere and nowhere at once.
In less than five milliseconds, a Hydromantes salamander can launch its tongue—including the muscles, cartilage, and part of its skeleton—out of its mouth to snag a hapless insect mid-flight. Among amphibians, it is the quick draw champ.
MODERN MEDICINE CLUTCHES at a number of dreams. Some, like developing an AIDS vaccine, can seem tantalizingly close. Others, like curing cancer, have frustrated so many minds for so many years that we’ve learned to temper our expectations. Then there’s regeneration.
Giulio Selvaggi was asleep when the shaking started. It was the night of April 5, 2009, and the head of Italy’s National Earthquake Center had worked late into the night in Rome before going home to crash. From the motion of his bed, Selvaggi could tell the quake was big — but not close.