the Trump administration looks to finally appoint a NASA head, Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine, a politician who you will be unsurprised to learn has no background in science and doesn’t accept man as the key driving factor of climate change. Bridenstine has also clearly pushed the idea that NASA should drop “expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space” from its mission statement, instead diverting its attention to what he terms ‘space architecture’, commercial and military interests.
The Independent’s Facebook page has unleashed an unparalleled barrage of poor science reporting from the paper’s history onto its followers. The common thread of these articles is their sensational, attention-grabbing headlines and the poor understanding and interpretation of the studies at the heart of the reports. We take a look at three science reports shared in a recent 24 hour period.
Time-travel has long been a staple of genre films, novels and television shows, with many of these tales focusing on the consequences of travelling back in time and threatening one’s own existence. The ‘grandfather paradox’ is not simply a facet of pulp fiction though, it consequences of the violation of causality have been hotly debated philosophers and physicists alike. Could the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics rescue a hapless (and clumsy) time-traveller.
One of the great ironies of Hawking’s death was that fact that one of his most revolutionary contributions to science suggested that nothing in our universe can last forever. In the formulation of Hawking radiation, he showed us the even, cosmological giants, black-holes, may eventually ebb away. In considering Hawking’s genius we will be exposed to a greater, far crueller irony, the reason that one of the greatest minds in this era of science will never hold its greatest accolade.
One of the most pressing but often over-looked concerns with increasing global temperatures are the dangers gradually revealing themselves to scientists from unexpected, previously unconsidered sources. Scientists have discovered that permafrosts hide a potentially deadly threat to ecosystems, massive reserves of mercury hidden in permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere.
In what represents a major breakthrough in infertility treatment, reproductive biologist Evelyn Telfer and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh have finally completed the development of a human egg outside the human body for the first time, it was announced in January. The development represents the first step it what may be a major victory for both infertile couples and women who have suffered illnesses such as cancer in prepubescence, looking to have children.
Without a doubt, black holes are the most mysterious objects ever discovered by astronomers mostly due to the fact that unlike other astronomical bodies, black holes cannot be observed directly, their mass is so great and contained within such a small radius that even light cannot travel fast enough to escape their gravity. Cosmologists and astronomers have found ways around this problem, including the observation of matter falling into black holes. It is this method that has allowed researchers at several institutions across the US to learn more about the composition of black holes and to discover that their properties may well defy previous expectations.
The chemical balance of the solar system is not in-line with the universe in general and the expected results of a supernova explosion. Now researchers at the Enrico Fermi Institute in Chicago think they may have come up with a solution to this chemical imbalance, a solution that involves the solar-system emerging from the shell of a dead Wolf-Rayet star.