Where do atoms come from? Billions of years of cosmic fireworks.

The periodic table was a lot simpler at the beginning of the universe.

Is the universe a hologram? The strange physics of black holes.

Black holes may give us a glimpse of the underlying nature of reality.

  • Since energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed, some argue that information — arguably a form of energy — cannot be destroyed either. So then, what happens to information when it is absorbed into a black hole? Scientists don't know for certain, but some posit that it may be possible for it to leak away from the black hole over time.
  • Black holes may hold information in a two-dimensional manner similar to a hologram, which take on three dimensions when light is shone through them. Some theorize that the underlying nature of reality can be glimpsed through black holes — that all the information about the entire universe is somehow held on a two-dimensional space of something.
  • To better understand how black holes work, as well as the elements surrounding them, we may need a level of physics to be developed.
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A mind-blowing explanation of the speed of light

Light exists outside of time.

  • The only things that travel at the speed of light are photons.
  • Nothing with any mass at all can travel at the speed of light because as it gets closer and closer to the speed of light, its mass increases. And if it were actually traveling at the speed of light, it would have an infinite mass.
  • Light does not experience space or time. It's not just a speed going through something. All of the universe shifts around this constant, the speed of light. Time and space itself stop when you go that speed.
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Got a question for a real NASA astronomer? Ask it here!

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller will be at Big Think's studio on May 16th to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.

Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!

On the morning of May 16, 2019, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, such as, "How big is the Universe?" or "Am I really made of stardust?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"

All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!

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  • We all exprience self-doubt — sometimes called 'imposter syndrome'.
  • NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller explains how the universe itself has been a salve for her fears.
  • The universe chooses people to be interested it, she says. What has the universe chosen you for?
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