Where does the periodic table of elements end? The short answer is: no-one knows.
Sonoluminescence is a mysterious phenomenon that might provide a key to nuclear fusion.
It seems the debate between science and philosophy, triggered by Stephen Hawking, stubbornly refuses to evaporate, even though it’s a debate where if one side wins, we all lose. This time the debate comes in the form of, well, an actual debate, hosted by iai. The panel includes: developmental biologist and unrelenting philosophy critic, … Continue Reading ››
Assuming humanity gets over the existential hump all civilisations must traverse - where we're just smart enough to invent nuclear weapons and fossil fuelled power stations, but not smart enough to not to use them - then I fully expect us to one day colonise the stars. Or at least the planets orbiting those stars. … Continue Reading ››
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate is my favourite organic molecule by far. (DNA is my second, for the record.) This clever little devil is the powerhouse of biology. It's no stretch to say it's the fuel that drives life. And get this: it's so good at its job, that it's used by everything from yeast to plants … Continue Reading ››
There are two ways to look at Voyager 1's latest milestone and both remind us that distance on a cosmological scale is almost gloriously difficult to comprehend. The first is to celebrate the first terrestrial artefact from this small blue planet to depart our immediate neighbourhood and pass into the void of interstellar space. Voyager … Continue Reading ››
I love this story about a new ultra-efficient robot cheetah developed at MIT for at least three reasons. Firstly, it shows we're close to breaking another better-than-nature barrier when it comes to robotics and AI. This time in the guise of a metallic quadruped that sports a running efficiency similar … Continue Reading ››
One of my (many) favourite exchanges in Carl Sagan’s magnificent novel Contact is that between the book’s protagonist, radio astronomer Dr Ellie Arroway, and charismatic preacher, Palmer Joss, about faith. “Here, take a look out of that window,” says Ellie. “There’s a big Foucault pendulum out there. The bob must weigh five … Continue Reading ››
It seems that PZ Myers and I are in almost total agreement. Almost. In his response to my post on the non-conflict between philosophy and science, he takes exception with my claim that scientists have a rather poor track record when it comes to doing philosophy:
After stating that scientists are philosophers … Continue Reading ››