Category Archives: Physics

LIGO detects gravitational waves from neutron star merger

Carl Sagan’s famous quote says “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” In that famous quote, Sagan makes reference to the whole universe started off with hydrogen and helium, all stars produce helium, and then stars over a certain mass threshold produce carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and lots of heavier elements – which are also the source of the life. The star stuff is inside us – every living thing on Earth.

But, even stars are aren’t powerful enough to create heavy elements like silver, gold, and cesium. Since the 1950s, scientists have wondered: where do most of the elements in the periodic table come from?
Continue reading LIGO detects gravitational waves from neutron star merger

Why Do We Only See One Side of the Moon?

You have probably heard references made to the “dark side” of the Moon – there’s even a Pink Floyd album with that name. But, in fact, there’s no “dark side” of the moon. Because it is not illuminated by the Earth, it is illuminated by the Sun. All the surface of the moon lit by the Sun as the Moon rotates.
Continue reading Why Do We Only See One Side of the Moon?

How Earth Could Die – 8 Horrible Ways

Now we’re living on a warm, hospitable planet. As Carl Sagan has said “That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” We, humans, are the unquestionable rulers of our little oasis in a hostile universe. But all things must pass. The life on Earth, even the planet itself, won’t last forever. What’s more, the humans may go extinct before our planet (and probably before the life on it) dies out.

Here some possible (and horrible) ways how planet Earth could die.
Continue reading How Earth Could Die – 8 Horrible Ways

How Eratosthenes calculated the Earth’s circumference

In 240 BC, the Greek astronomer, geographer, mathematician, music theorist and librarian Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c. 276 BC – c. 195/194 BC) calculated the circumference of the Earth without leaving Egypt. Here’s how:
Continue reading How Eratosthenes calculated the Earth’s circumference

Are we the first?

In 1950, the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi was chatting with his colleagues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory(1). They talked about recent rise in UFO reports, then the conversation shifted to other subjects. But during the lunch, Fermi suddenly asked “Where is everybody?”. He was talking about the extraterrestrial life, especially intelligent life. He made some calculations on the probability of Earth like planets, the beginning of life, the probability of intelligent life and high technology and concluded that we ought to have been visited long ago and many times over.

But, there is no reliable evidence aliens have visited Earth and we have observed no intelligent extraterrestrial life with current technology nor has SETI found any transmissions from other civilizations. The Universe, apart from the Earth, seems “dead”.

So, where is everybody?
Continue reading Are we the first?

Your Life On Earth (presented by BBC)

A nice interactive webpage by the BBC – The British Broadcasting Corporation: how you and the world have changed since you were born? You’re simply entering your birth date, gender and height; selecting units (metric or imperial/US) and then watching how our planet (and you) has changed in your lifetime.
Continue reading Your Life On Earth (presented by BBC)

A Bowling Ball and Feather Falling in a Vacuum (video)

It’s one of the basic Newton laws: how fast something falls due to gravity is determined by a number known as the “acceleration of gravity”, which is 9.81 m/s2 at the surface of Earth. The acceleration of gravity, shortly “a” means that in one second, any object’s downward velocity will increase by 9.81 m/s because of gravity. The gravity accelerates everything at exactly the same rate.
Continue reading A Bowling Ball and Feather Falling in a Vacuum (video)