Tag Archives: Astronomy
Applied mathematicians in the service of pressing global issues
Nowadays there is a diffuse border between pure and applied mathematics. The pure mathematician – an atypical scientist inclined toward the abstract – – is capable of switching at any time to the role of applied mathematician in order to address and solve the pressing global issues that threaten humanity. From assisting manned space missions to modelling the processes of ice melting or the spread of an epidemic, the applied mathematician’s contributions are crucial for humankind. The confidence we have in the truths of applied mathematics, which – within the philosophy of science – is part of the so-called Wigner’s puzzle, is a kind of evolutionary feature of the discipline. Read more [...]
Is astrophysics ready to draw a lesson from Thomas Kuhn?
Strong debates arise as scientific certainty is being questioned. Is the theory on the standard solar system undergoing changes as convergent possibilities are being questioned. Now, Pierre-Marie Robitaille, a chemist and professor of radiology from the University of Ohio, claims that the sun is not gaseous but may consist of liquid metallic hydrogen – a paradigm-shattering attack on the standard solar model that has been established for almost a century now. The problem is that evaluating Robitaille’s arguments requires expertise in very different fields – thermodynamics, astrophysics, for the sun, and condensed matter physics, for the liquid metallic hydrogen. Who has such expertise? Read more [...]
Poetry and science: Oblivious cat
Today’s post is a new contribution to our new poetry section. We would like to widen the geographical scope of this section and invite readers to submit their work in any European language. This week’s poem is a second submission by Peter Davis on the theme of space. Read more [...]
Dark matter – Missing you already
It's a moot point that perhaps only one of Einstein's papers went through the modern scientific peer review process and I often wonder whether an email received from him today suggesting that he's overturned Newton's work with talk of warped space-time and wormholes wouldn't simply fail at the first or second step of my "Fraudulent Invention Debunkifier" flowchart mentioned around this time last year on the Pivot Points column. Read more [...]
Dreaming of Wernher von Braun
A fictional diary entry to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Wernher von Braun, the father of rocket science, on March 23. Read more [...]
Scientists can’t network and other myths
Recently, a newly minted science doctorate asked me for some help finding a job. He had applied for hundreds of advertised openings, both postdoc and non-academic positions, but to no avail. So I asked him about his networking strategy. “What networking strategy?” he replied, clueless to what I was referring. I spent the next hour emphasising the importance of networking in finding hidden job opportunities and communicating your value to decision-makers. I outlined for him a customised networking plan which would enable him to meet and interact with professionals who have the power to hire him for the jobs he so desperately wanted. When our meeting concluded, I asked for feedback on the career consulting session – “Did you find our discussion helpful?” I inquired, thinking I was up for a major pat on the back. “No,” he said instantly. “You didn’t tell me where I can apply for a job or places where there are more advertisements for jobs.” Read more [...]
The big cheese and the director’s cut
Pivot Points is a monthly column by EuroScientist writer David Bradley.
If you were lucky enough to have clear skies on the evening of 15th June, you may have seen the total eclipse of the moon. The moon. Luna. The great ball of "cheese" in the sky. Read more [...]
Measuring the impact of outreach
It is widely acknowledged that connecting science with the public is a must, and many organisations put significant resources into doing so, but how can we know when these efforts are successful? This article looks at the European Space Agency’s outreach activities for the Hubble Space Telescope to give some guidelines on how best to evaluate the success of science communication activities. Read more [...]
Space weather is a threat, but don’t panic
This week, our writer Alaina Levine reports for EuroScientist from the AAAS conference in Washington DC, USA. Read more [...]
Research with impact? Hopefully not!
On 4th February 2011, an asteroid approached Earth for a fly-by. Asteroid 2011 CQ1 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on 4th February and made a record close Earth approach 14 hours later. CQ1 scraped past the Earth less than 5500 km from the Read more [...]
53 years looking down
Fifty three years ago, on 31 January 1958, the first satellite for the observation of Earth was launched. Explorer 1 was the first satellite sent into orbit by the United States of America. In October 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into space thus beginning the Cold War space race. Read more [...]