A Universe Made of Tiny, Random Chunks
The space-time that makes up our universe is inherently uncertain.
The Rise of the Uncertain
Uncertainty in physics has gone from black sheep to overachiever.
How We Could Find Alien Life Soon—and Why We Probably Won’t
Despite their great distance from Earthbound politics, exoplanets were the topic of a joint hearing on May 9th of the House space and research subcommittees. The recent discovery of a trio of temperate super-Earths was the hearing’s impetus, but most of the discussion was devoted to future prospects—chiefly, how and when scientists might learn whether […]
Open Your Mind to What an “Earth-Like” Planet Could Be
You are standing on a sandy plain lit only by the harsh, cold light of a blue-white spark flashing overhead in steady metronomic bursts. The pinprick of light almost seems like a distant star, but each flash raises a disturbing tingling sensation within you, suggesting the stroboscopic light source is somehow nearby, and must be […]
Carbon Fated: We’re Built This Way for a Reason
In each issue of Nautilus, we shine a spotlight on one “Ingenious” scientist whose work makes us reconsider our world and ourselves. The Ingenious for our first issue, “What Makes You So Special,” is Columbia University astrophysicist Caleb Scharf, who contributed an essay about our place in the universe and talked about his life and […]
What’s Your Story? The Psychological Power of Narrative
We’re all stories in the end. — “The Big Bang,” Doctor Who In 2003, author James Frey published a bestselling autobiographical memoir, A Million Little Pieces, purportedly detailing his struggle to overcome addiction. Nearly three years later, during a riveting appearance on Oprah, he admitted that several supposedly factual details had been embellished or fabricated. All […]
The Fun-House Mirror Earths
It’s been just over two decades since astronomers announced the first discoveries of exoplanets—planets orbiting stars other than the sun—and their progress in the intervening years has been so routinely remarkable its recitation now seems mundane: There are now thousands of cataloged exoplanets, and hundreds of billions more probably await discovery in the Milky Way […]
Ingenious: Caleb Scharf
How our view of the universe, and ourselves, is changing.
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 […]
Goodbye Copernicus, Hello Universe
Our insignificance, and significance, on a cosmic scale