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Yearly Archives: 2008
“..astronomers can tell the temperature of the central regions of the Sun and of many other stars within a few percentage points and be quite sure about the figures they quote.” —A Star Called the Sun, George Gamow. The cone … Continue reading
“The Genesis team can take great satisfaction not just in having salvaged their mission, but in underscoring once again how little we know about how our strange and wonderful home planet came to exist.” — Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope … Continue reading
Science has become an international circus. And opening day for “The Greatest Show on Earth” has arrived. In the 27 km main circus ring we have the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project, starting up after $6 billion dollars and thirty … Continue reading
“..if a special geometry has to be invented in order to account for a falling apple, even Newton might be appalled at the complications which would ensue when really difficult problems are tackled.” — Sir Oliver Lodge, FRS, 1921.  [This … Continue reading
Twinkle, twinkle electric star Astronomers don’t know what you are! “Sit down before facts like a child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” … Continue reading
“The conformist propensity of social institutions is not the only reason that erroneous theories persevere. However, once embedded within a culture, ideas exhibit an uncanny inertia, as if obeying Newton’s law to keep on going forever until acted upon by … Continue reading
Just as much of modern science has become self-serving in striving for status and funding, the theory of how science should be done is similarly afflicted. An assessment of a theory based on ‘degrees of belief’ might be useful if … Continue reading
“William Whewell, in his 1840 synthesis The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, was the first to speak of consilience, literally a ‘jumping together’ of knowledge by the linking together of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common … Continue reading
Today the Cassini spacecraft is due to swoop over the south pole of Enceladus, one of the inner moons of Saturn, at a height of 50 km (30 miles), sampling its celebrated south polar plumes. The analyzers will “sniff and … Continue reading
“[Those] who have an excessive faith in their theories or in their ideas are not only poorly disposed to make discoveries, but they also make very poor observations.” —Claude Bernard (1813-78) French physiologist, 1865. MESSENGER flew 200 kilometres above Mercury’s … Continue reading