Garcia-Mejia: Last month, I was lucky enough to win a NASA lottery to attend the TESS launch as a VIP guest at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. As is the case with rocket launches, there were a series of launch windows starting on April 16, 2018, at 6:32pm. As hundreds of scientists were getting ready to board the buses that would take us from the KSC visitor complex to the viewing site on April 16, a NASA representative crushed our launch-viewing dreams with a simple two words: "launch scrubbed". A second launch window did not open until Wednesday, April 18 at 6:51pm...
Astronomy 100 students went on a group trip to FLWO over spring break this year. They went to the University of Arizona mirror lab, Biosphere 2 and observed for 3 nights on the 48" and 60" telescope atop Mt. Hopkins.
"The first challenge in the hunt for life elsewhere in our universe is to decide where to look. In a new study, two scientists examine whether Sun-like stars or low-mass M dwarfs are the best bet for hosting exoplanets with detectable life."
Avi Loeb's lated Scientific American blog post explores the idea that, "A civilization in the habitable zone of a dwarf star like Proxima Centauri might find it hard to get into interstellar space with conventional rockets."
Avi Loeb offers his perspective on opening up academia. "Academic freedom is a precious commodity, critical to ensure that discovery of the truth is not encumbered by political or ideological forces. But this does not mean that intellectuals should hide in academic bunkers that, by protecting us from criticism by “non-experts,” allow ego to flourish and enable a focus on questions that are not actually relevant to anyone else. We experts should have to explain ourselves."
It is a sad day for the world of physics and humanity.
Stephen embodied the superiority of mind over matter. He demonstrated that the human spirit can overcome all physical limitations and that the human mind can comprehend the deepest secrets of nature. With his optimistic mindset, he discovered that even black hole can shine brightly. His work on black holes and the early universe had a great impact our current research in these fields.
Stephen visited us for a few weeks in April 2016 for the inauguration of the Black Hole...
Avi Loeb has written another great essay, "Astronomers have recently determined that rare elements such as gold and uranium are produced as a result of rapid capture of free neutrons during the merger of two neutron stars. Neutron stars are the densest stars known, having the size of a city (12 kilometers) and up to twice the mass of the sun, with the density of an atomic nucleus. A teaspoon of neutron star material weighs a trillion kilograms, as much as a tall mountain on Earth."
"An experiment to estimate when stars began to form in the Universe suggests that gas temperatures just before stars appeared had fallen well below predicted limits, and that dark matter is not as shadowy as was thought."
"For the first time, scientists may have detected hints of the universe’s primordial sunrise, when the first twinkles of starlight appeared in the cosmos."
"It is easy for professors to hide deep inside the trenches of their expertise—bunkers that protect them from criticism by “non-experts” and allow them to promote their egos without supervision. True, academic freedom is a precious commodity that should be held sacred in order to enable discovery of the truth in the face of sociological forces and ideological dogma."