Reading Time: 8 minutes It was an atypically dry English spring when a man in Bath scanned the skies with a 7-inch reflecting telescope he’d designed and built by hand, through painstaking refinements to Isaac Newton’s principles of optics. William Herschel was studying stellar parallax, the phenomenon that makes a nearby star look like it has moved in relation […]
Reading Time: 4 minutes I love me a bit of the Kalam. Well, more accurately, a bit of criticism of the Kalam. What am I talking about? What is this Kalam? Well, the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) is a short, three-lined syllogism that supposedly shows that the universe required a cause for its existence, and with some mental gerrymandering, […]
Reading Time: 4 minutes In 2007, I saw the Arecibo Observatory for the first and last time. I was in Puerto Rico on a family vacation, and despite a packed schedule, I had to carve out time to see it. The town of Arecibo is a considerable drive from San Juan, where I was staying, and the observatory itself […]
Reading Time: 5 minutes By James A. Haught This is the 21st segment of a series on renowned skeptics throughout history. These profiles are drawn from 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People With the Courage to Doubt, Prometheus Books, 1996. Arguably, Albert Einstein was the greatest scientist who ever lived. He singlehandedly transformed humanity’s grasp of reality and the […]
Reading Time: 8 minutes Electrons and quarks, galaxies and black holes, electromagnetic radiation, DNA and cells, gravity, molecular bonds, the speed of light, the power in the nucleus – these contain a gospel more profound than any written by humans.
Reading Time: 3 minutes When reporters came to tell him he had won the Nobel, he said he must hurry to class. But he wasn’t teaching it – he was a student, in his 70s.
Reading Time: 3 minutes A moment of silence for the passing of a telescope that changed our view of the universe and humanity’s place in it.
Reading Time: 4 minutes There oughta be mental-health warnings on horoscopes in newspapers, reminding readers that it’s all hogwash, however entertaining.
Reading Time: 2 minutes • Last month, I wrote about Richard Dawkins being disinvited from NECSS for sexist comments. I’m disappointed but, in a sign of my cynicism, not overly surprised that NECSS has caved in and reinvited him. Needless to say, I won’t be attending. Ophelia has more, and a follow-up. • In happier news, scientists at the […]
Reading Time: < 1 minute In a bid to give women scientists other than Marie Curie the recognition they’re too often denied, science editor Melissa Vaught asked for contributions to a Twitter hashtag, #BeyondMarieCurie, listing women with noteworthy achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Here’s the first version of the list: [View the story “#BeyondMarieCurie: Women in STEM & […]