Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

What you don't know about the Big Bang

Topic: What You Don't Know About the Big Bang

Heidi Hammel: We think we know quite a bit about how the universe may have formed from the Big Bang, from nothing to something and then a period of inflation that then started everything moving outward from wherever it was. One of the most revolutionary things that’s happened in astronomy in just the last few years, though, has been a study of things that are going on in the distant, distant past. We look kind of back in time with our telescopes, and when we look at the most distant galaxies, which are pretty big. That’s why we can see them. We look at the supernovae in these galaxies because supernovae are exploding stars that are really bright so we can see them far away. We found something unanticipated. What we found was that those distant, distant objects were actually accelerating away from us, not just moving away from us, but moving faster and faster the further we looked, which is nuts. I mean, it’s like if you took a ball and threw it in the air, instead of like coming back down again, the ball would move away and keep going up faster and faster and faster, which just doesn’t really seem to fit our world view at all. And so at first everyone said, oh, there’s just something wrong. Whoever did these observations just made a mistake. Blah, blah, blah. But then other teams independently verified that, yeah, this really seems to be happening to our best understanding of what we can see. And so we’re now working in this regime where we think that the universe is filled with something that we call dark energy. And the dark energy is kind of like, almost like an anti-gravity force that is pushing things away from one another with an increasing acceleration. And it’s a real mind bender. It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. It doesn’t work on the physical scale of sitting in a room and thing go around here. But on the very, very largest scales, and probably on the very, very smallest scales, there’s this force that appears to be there, but we don’t quite understand it. And so a lot of our future mission work and ground base work is trying to think of ways that we can study this elusive dark energy. How can we really characterize it and fit it into our understanding of physics as we know it in the universe? It’s a very perplexing thing. And it’s going to keep astronomers and astrophysicists very busy for a decade or more, I would say.

The dark matter conundrum will occupy us for a long time.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

Credit: Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
Keep reading Show less

Has science made religion useless?

Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.

Videos
  • Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
  • This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
  • "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."

Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals

Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Coronavirus
It's often easy to tell when colleagues are struggling with a cold — they sound sick.
Keep reading Show less

Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
Keep reading Show less

Supporting climate science increases skepticism of out-groups

A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study has found evidence suggesting that conservative climate skepticism is driven by reactions to liberal support for science.
  • This was determined both by comparing polling data to records of cues given by leaders, and through a survey.
  • The findings could lead to new methods of influencing public opinion.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast