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Brian Koberlein

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    Can Many-Worlds Theory Rescue Us From Boltzmann Brains?

    Boltzmann’s theory leads to a paradox, where the very scientific assumption that we can trust what we observe leads to the conclusion that we can’t trust what we observe.Image by Chaosophia218 / Tumblr Can you trust the world to be consistent? Scientists don’t have much choice. They need to assume that objective observations of the universe […]

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    Can Many-Worlds Theory Rescue Us From Boltzmann Brains?

    Boltzmann’s theory leads to a paradox, where the very scientific assumption that we can trust what we observe leads to the conclusion that we can’t trust what we observe.Image by Chaosophia218 / Tumblr Can you trust the world to be consistent? Scientists don’t have much choice. They need to assume that objective observations of the universe […]

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    New Evidence for the Strange Idea that the Universe Is a Hologram

    One of the great mysteries of modern cosmology is how our universe can be so thermally uniform—the vast cosmos is filled with the lingering heat of the Big Bang. Over time, it has cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero, but it can still be seen in the faint glow of microwave radiation, known […]

  • woman in the mirror

    What It Means to Live in a Holographic Cosmos

    When you look in the mirror, the image you see looks a lot like you—not exactly the same, because when you raise your right hand, your mirror-self raises its left. What’s more, the mirror image is merely an assemblage of reflected light, without a physical body behind it. Despite these differences, you can see an […]

  • Eta Carinae pre supernova

    How the Universe Made the Stuff That Made Us

      When our Universe was in its infancy, the only element it contained was hydrogen, the simplest one—not nearly enough by itself to create interesting things like planets and people. By the time things cooled sufficiently for the single proton in each hydrogen atom to pair with a negatively charged electron, about 92 percent of […]

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    Public, Pointed Scientific Spats—Feature, Not Bug

    Galileo is the archetypal paradigm-busting scientist telling truth to hidebound authorities.Felix Parra: Galileo Demonstrating the New Astronomical Theories at the University of Padua, 1873. There’s a common trope in science in which a lone genius stands defiantly against a backward, close-minded establishment. Galileo’s Sun-centric astronomy vs. the Catholic Church; John Harrison’s longitude-revealing watch vs. the bigwigs […]

  • woman in the mirror

    What It Means to Live in a Holographic Universe

    When you look in the mirror, the image you see looks a lot like you—not exactly the same, because when you raise your right hand, your mirror-self raises its left. What’s more, the mirror image is merely an assemblage of reflected light, without a physical body behind it. Despite these differences, you can see an […]

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    We Bathe Always in the Glow of the Big Bang

    A map of the cosmic microwave background from the COBE satellite.NASA It was born when the Universe was just 10 human heartbeats old. A small burst of electromagnetic energy known as a photon. A primordial particle of light. At that time the Universe was a blazing hot mix of ionized hydrogen and helium, a sea […]