Martians and Vulcans…

Topics: Astrobiology, Astrophysics, Civilization, Existentialism, Philosophy, Special Relativity The Cold War was a genesis of angst about the future due to the detonation of the atomic bomb by the Soviet Union in Kazakstan in 1949. After WWII (WWI was originally called, “the war to END all wars,” until the sequel), the existential nervousness is understandable.Continue reading “Martians and Vulcans…”

Moments and Metaphors…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Comets, Philosophy, Science Fiction On a recent morning, in Lower Manhattan, 20 scientists, including me, gathered for a private screening of the new film Don’t Look Up, followed by lunch with the film’s director, Adam McKay. The film’s plot is simple. An astronomy graduate student, Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), and her professor,Continue reading “Moments and Metaphors…”

Life As We Don’t Know It…

Topics: Astrobiology, Philosophy, SETI, Space Exploration In my freshman seminar at Harvard last semester, I mentioned that the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, emits mostly infrared radiation and has a planet, Proxima b, in the habitable zone around it. As a challenge to the students, I asked: “Suppose there are creatures crawling on the surfaceContinue reading “Life As We Don’t Know It…”