The age of the universe

To know how old a person is, you just ask them. To date fossils you usually compare them with other stuff around them whose age is known. What about the entire universe? You can’t compare it with anything, and it’s been around since literally the beginning of time. How did scientists date time itself?

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How do metal detectors work?

You know the drill: hand luggage in the X-ray thingy, put coins-phone-keys-bracelets-watch-necklace in the tray and ready for the metal detector. How the eff does it know I forgot to take off my stupid belt?!

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Star Wars, heroes, and Nobel Prizes

Among lightsabers, spaceships, and grandiose special effects, Star Wars: The Last Jedi also offers some reflection on who heroes are, and what part they play in history. And it made me think about my science heroes: Nobel prize winners. Continue reading

No water on Mars. Maybe.

Around this time two years ago, flowing water on Mars was all the rage. According to a new study, however, it might not have been water at all. Just sand.

What the eff?!

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Schrödinger’s… keys?

If I can’t find my keys, they could be on the counter, or in the kitchen table hiding under some junk mail. Or maybe I left them hanging on the door. Until I find them, I obviously can’t say which. It’s a bit like sealing a radioactive atom in a box and leaving it isolated: until I open the box I can’t say whether it decayed. Sounds familiar?

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Are cats solid or liquid?

If you try to sit on a pond or drink a chair, you’ll quickly realize there’s a significant difference between solids and liquids. The rule of thumb I learned in school is that a liquid takes the form of its container. Then again, that would make this cat a liquid.

So the line between liquids and solids is a little more blurred than we’re told. Continue reading

Changing environments level evolutionary playing fields

Where you grow up has a lot of influence on you, even if you are a bacterium. But when it changes, it makes life—and evolution—a lot more random.

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