COLD HARD SCIENCE. The Controversial Physics of Curling
Just another blog on physics and for me to share my findings
You know it’s spring when, just after sunset, the refrigerator constellation rises in the western sky.
(But seriously, remember that our perspective on the stars is at the same time wonderfully unique but not at all special, and the stellar stories that we write are products not only of our imaginations, but also our brain’s relentless desire to recognize patterns in random assortments of far away dots)
Who was I back then? Just a 17 year old kid from the Bronx with dreams of becoming a scientist. And somehow, the world’s most famous astronomer found time to invite me to Ithaca in upstate New York to spend a Saturday with him.
I remember that snowy day like it was yesterday. He met me at the bust stop and showed me his laboratory at Cornell university. Carl reached behind his desk and inscribed this book for me. ‘For Neil, a future astronomer. - Carl’.
At the end of the day he drove me back to the bus station. The snow was falling harder. He wrote his home phone number on a scrap of paper and he said ‘If the bus can’t get back through, call me, spend a night at my home with my family’. I already knew I wanted to become a scientist, but that afternoon, I learned from Carl, the kind of person I wanted to become. He reached out to me, and to countless others, inspiring so many of us to study, teach and do science. Science is a cooperative enterprise spanning the generations. It’s the passing of a torch, from teacher to student to teacher. A community of minds reaching back to antiquity and forward to the stars."
Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey - "Standing Up in the Milky Way" - Neil deGrasse Tyson
First Look: COSMOS
TV Spot: "An Amazing Journey"
TV Spot: "Connect"
TV Spot: Buckle Up
World Series Promo: "Journey"
The Cosmic Calendar from Episode 1: “Standing Up In The Milky Way”
History Of Civilization from Episode 1: “Standing Up In The Milky Way”
In Case You Missed It…
Premiere Screening/Live Q&A Event
Neil DeGrasse Tyson: ‘We Will Know Whether There’s Life On Other Planets’:
He’s the legendary astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. Tyson’s new TV series, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, will premiere on Sunday, March 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and again on March 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.
Popular Science: Would you rather have a jetpack or flying car?
Neil deGrasse Tyson: What I would rather have is a transportation system that requires neither: a wormhole.
PS: What incredible thing will we see in our lifetime?
NDT: I think that we will know whether or not there’s life on planets other than Earth. And I think the best location would be on Mars or on Jupiter’s moon Europa.
PS: When we find life on other planets, is it going to come and eat us?
NDT: No. People’s first thought every time scientists discover something new is, “Oh, my gosh, you created a virus, so there’s gonna be a killer virus.” I’m not more afraid of something I might find on Mars than I am of a polar bear who’s pissed off because his ice floe is melting.
PS: What technical advance do we really need in astrophysics?
NDT: The ability to observe a spectrum of light passing through the atmosphere of an exoplanet. It would be able to tell us if there are biomarkers indicating that life thrives on the surface.
PS: What technical advance do we really need in space exploration?
NDT: Ways to shield us from cosmic rays from the galaxy and from the sun. Also, we’ll never travel to the stars unless we understand the fabric of space-time better or find out how to make a wormhole.
PS: China put its first rover on the moon in December. How will this affect the U.S. space program?
NDT: China says it wants to put stuff on Mars, and there’s no question that they are going to follow through with their plans. I don’t claim any deep geopolitical insight. But I do know that if we go back into space in a big way, it will not happen unless we feel militaristically motivated. Or, unless we feel we can make scads of money.
PS: What would a space program with only scientific goals look like?
NDT: If I put on my pure scientist hat, you wouldn’t send humans into space. You have to feed them and keep them warm. A robot couldn’t care less. We can design robots to do what humans can do and better.
This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Popular Science.
"Hank clarifies, corrects, and generally straightens out the origins of the terrific heat inside the Earth. It’s not only from the collisions and pressure that date back to Earth’s formation, it also involves the transport of heavier elements toward the core and, more recently, the radioactive decay of elements. Sorry for the errors, Internet!"