World’s Fair 50:
The Probability Machine
The odds were high that this attraction would delight the masses with its use of the Theory of Relativity. And it certainly did. The Probability Machine, looking like an upside-down pinball machine demonstrated how science uses probability to detect the laws of order in this world of random events.
The Greatest Mathematicians of All Time by StudyGeek
The greatest mathematicians have shaped our understanding of the world and fueled the progression of modern life and society. It is difficult to say which mathematicians truly were the greatest, though the most famous list of mathematicians always includes the most original and compelling thinkers – these are people who have helped significantly in our understanding of nature.
StudyGeek.org is a free website full of free math lessons, math vocabulary, educational videos, games, math solvers, and wonderful infographics!
The Halls of Extinction: a memorial for the multitude of lost species; a monument for the broken branches of the Tree of Life.
Sounds like something out of Doctor Who, right?
Actually, it’s a new element of the series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. The idea of a museum filled with dioramas for the five great extinction events that hit this planet.
How wonderful it would be if such place existed? We can only hope that, in the future, we’ll be able to virtually recreate the environments and species that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.
Go behind the scenes with the producers of Cosmos to see what inspired the design of the Halls of Extinction.
At a press conference on March 17, 2014, the BICEP2 Collaboration presented measurements of B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background. These measurements represent the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation and the first direct image of primordial gravitational waves. Press conference participants were the leader of BICEP2, John M. Kovac (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Chao-Lin Kuo (Stanford/SLAC), Jamie Bock (Caltech/JPL), Clem Pryke (University of Minnesota), and Marc Kamionkowski (Johns Hopkins University).
Press release: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2014-05
Collaboration website: http://www.bicepkeck.org/
Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo surprises Professor Andrei Linde with evidence that supports cosmic inflation theory. The discovery, made by Kuo and his colleagues at the BICEP2 experiment, represents the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. These waves have been described as the “first tremors of the Big Bang.”
Producer: Bjorn Carey
Video: Kurt Hickman
Photo credit: NASA
'Oldest star' found from iron fingerprint
As the Big Bang’s name suggests, the universe burst into formation from an immense explosion, creating a vast soup of particles. Gigantic clouds of primordial soup, made mainly of hydrogen and helium, eventually collapsed to form the first stars—massive, luminous, short-lived objects that exploded as supernovae soon after. In the wake of such explosions, gas clouds gave rise to a second generation of stars that telescopes can still pick out today.
Scientists have thought that the first stars in the universe burst with tremendous energy, spewing out the first heavy elements, such as carbon, iron, and oxygen. But according to new research from MIT, not all of these first stars may have been forceful exploders.
The team has identified a distant star several thousand light-years away—named SMSS J031300.36-670839.3—that contains a level of iron whose upper limit is so low that it suggests that the star is a second-generation star, having arisen from the gas cloud enriched by one of the very first stars in the universe. But because there is so little iron in the star, the researchers say the star’s progenitor must not have been very energetic, as it may have failed to expel all the heavy elements made in its own core.
A team led by astronomers at The Australian National University has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe, which formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
The Cosmos on Canvas
Steve Gildea’s paintings are part space journey, part whimsical dream. Just the kind of thing I need today. And every day.
Einstein’s office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, photographed on the day of his death, April 18, 1955.