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Starts With A Bang

A Warm Welcome to our New Writers!

More science, more stories, and more spectacular scientists are coming to Starts With A Bang!

Image credit: BBC, The Story of Science.

“Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves…” –
William Shakespeare

The Universe is all at once strange, beautiful, wonderful and terrifying. With all the mysteries it presents us with — including the solved, the unsolved, and even the yet-to-be-discovered — it might seem that we’ll never run out of things to explore and understand.

Image credit: John Hothersall (Brisbane Australia), of the Lagoon Nebula (M8), via

Yet by the same token, we’ve already come a tremendous way in learning what’s out there, where it came from, what the laws governing it all are and how it came to be this way. And as much of the story as I’ve been bringing to you here on Starts With A Bang, I can’t (and shouldn’t) be doing it all myself.

Luckily, we have a new team of six great scientists who are absolutely at the top of their game when it comes to writing about the Universe, at a fundamental level, from the very small to the very large! In addition to me, they’ll be contributing to Starts With A Bang starting this August as well as over the coming months, and sharing what they know about our physical reality and our journey towards understanding it. Let’s to introduce them (and their areas of expertise) to you now!

Image courtesy of Amanda Yoho.

Amanda Yoho: Amanda is a graduate student in the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow. She studies the origins and evolution of the early Universe (a.k.a Cosmology) with a focus on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), which is the leftover radiation glow from the Big Bang. Outside of research opportunities, Amanda enjoys traveling the world (mostly thanks to physics) and meeting tons of wonderful people. Whenever she first gets to a new place, the first thing she does is look for good food and a beer she’s never tried. You can follow Amanda’s webpage at her University (which has links to her publications) and on Twitter as well.

Image courtesy of Brian Koberlein.

Brian Koberlein: Brian is an astrophysicist with a background in computational astrophysics and General Relativity, and currently is a physics professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He’s a natural teacher, and combines his knowledge and passion for physics and astrophysics with a fantastic communication style, and has a textbook out on Astrophysics through Computation with David Meisel. The picture you see is from an outreach project he spearheads known as Prove Your World, a non-profit which is focused on getting kids to think scientifically. Brian has guest blogged for us before, and I’m delighted to have him joining us and contributing regularly! Keep up with his regular blog One Universe At A Time, his active and outstanding Google+ page and his Twitter profile.

Image courtesy of James Bullock.

James Bullock: James is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine, and is a theoretical cosmologist who specializes in galaxy formation, including the role that dark matter plays and the formation of the Milky Way. James’ favorite research questions involve the question of “missing baryons” (where is the normal matter in galaxies that isn’t in stars), how galaxies merge and interact, why dwarf satellite galaxies have the properties they do, and on halo stars — the ones found outside of the disk — in the Milky Way. You can check out his official University page and follow his Twitter account @jbprime.

Image courtesy of Paul Halpern.

Paul Halpern: Paul Halpern is a Professor of Physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and a prolific author to boot. Having written thirteen science books and dozens of articles, he’s covered topics that range from the nature of space, time and the possibilities — both mathematical and physical — that our Universe consists of more dimensions than the ones presently known. He also writes about cultural aspects of science, and often integrates the cultural and the physical together. Paul has television appearances to his credit on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the PBS series “Future Quest,” and “The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special.” He has also contributed to NOVA’s “The Nature of Reality” physics blog, and I’m very excited to have him joining us here! You can read more about his writing and books at his website, and give him a follow on Twitter here.

Image courtesy of Sabine Hossenfelder.

Sabine Hossenfelder: Sabine is a theoretical physicist who specializes in physics beyond the standard model, and in particular on the phenomenology of quantum gravity. Her research straddles the two traditional areas of high energy physics and gravitation/cosmology, and she’s done an outstanding job of communicating about those and many other aspects of science on her fantastic blog, Backreaction. We were lucky enough to have a post from Sabine here on Starts With A Bang this past month, and I’m beyond excited to have her expertise and savviness contributing to Starts With A Bang on an ongoing basis! You can keep up with her professionally as she’s currently an Assistant Professor at Nordita and follow her on Twitter at @skdh.

Image courtesy of Summer Ash.

Summer Ash: Summer is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy, and is highly invested in communicating the power of scientific inquiry and skeptical scrutiny. Her graduate research specialized on the topics of active galactic nuclei and the evolution of radio galaxies, which are some of the most powerful isolated objects in the Universe. In her previous life, she was a rocket scientist, but now enjoys getting paid to spread her love of space with anyone who will listen. [Yes, Summer, I will pay you!] She tweets as @Summer_Ash and is perhaps best known as the “In-House Astrophysicist” for The Rachel Maddow Show.

And I’m so excited that they’ll all be joining me as regular contributors right here, uncovering and explaining the mysteries of the Universe, from before the Big Bang up until the present day and into the far future!

Image credit: C. Faucher-Giguère, A. Lidz, and L. Hernquist, Science 319, 5859 (47).

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Amanda Yoho, Brian Koberlein, James Bullock, Paul Halpern, Sabine Hossenfelder and Summer Ash as they join me here at Starts With A Bang! Give them a follow on Twitter (links on their names above), and stay tuned to hear their takes on some of the greatest stories the Universe has to offer. There’s nothing quite like the story of what we know, how we know it, and what we can learn as a result, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this amazing team on board to share those stories with you!

Send your welcomes at the Starts With A Bang forum on Scienceblogs!


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