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Richard Panek

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    The Comforting Certainty of Unanswered Questions

    Light was thought to travel through aether like waves on a lakeShutterstock You might know the anecdote. In April 1900, Lord Kelvin, one of the most prominent physicists of the 19th century, stands in the speaker’s well of the Royal Society in London. Surveying the state of scientific knowledge at the dawn of a new […]

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    Hero Planet, or Plebian?

    Far from being romantic heroes, starless planets may be a dime a dozen.

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    Escape From the Center of the Universe

    When Copernicus told us that Earth is not the center of the universe, we collectively cried, “Oh, no!,” and have spent the past 470 years fanning ourselves silly, trying to recover from the blow to our species’ ego. So goes the mythology of the Copernican Revolution. But it’s not true. The center of the universe […]