In a 2012 interview, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a U.S. presidential candidate for 2016, was asked “How old do you think the Earth is?” He responded, somewhat coyly: “Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that.” Keep in mind that
Continue reading How certain are scientists that the earth is many millions of years old?
Creationist and and intelligent design writers frequently emphasize “gaps” in the fossil record, and, in particular, claim that there are “missing links” in the human family tree between “apes” and humans. So what are the facts here? Is there indeed an unbridgeable “gap” between apes and humans?
Hardly. To appreciate how far the study
Continue reading Are there “missing links” in the human family tree?
Why is it so hard to find ET? After 50 years of searching, the SETI project has so far found nothing. In the latest development, on April 14, 2015 Penn State researchers announced that after searching through satellite data on 100,000 galaxies, they saw no evidence, such as infrared signatures, indicative of advanced technological
Continue reading Desperately seeking ET: Fermi’s paradox turns 65 (Part II)
Gravitational lensing revealing multiple copies of the same supernova
Sixty five years ago, in 1950, while having lunch with colleagues Edward Teller and Herbert York, who were chatting about a recent cartoon in the New Yorker depicting aliens abducting trash cans in flying saucers, Nobel physicist Enrico Fermi suddenly blurted out, “Where
Continue reading Where is ET? Fermi’s paradox turns 65
“I Prefer Pi” is appropriate title for Pi Day (3/14, i.e., March 14), as it is one of the few palindromes involving Pi = 3.141592653589793… (a palindrome is a phrase that reads the same forwards or backwards).
Pi Day is particularly memorable this year, since only once a century can one celebrate this event in
Continue reading I Prefer Pi: Background for Big Pi Day (3/14/15)
In the field of mathematics, prime numbers are whole numbers that cannot be evenly divided by any integer other than itself and one. The first 12 prime numbers are: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37. Although the study of prime numbers is a very old field of
Continue reading Is the nature of mathematical proof changing?
New Pew Research Center poll on scientists’ views versus public views
A new poll by the Pew Research Center has highlighted some stark differences between views of leading scientists, in particular members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and those of the general U.S. public. The results are summarized in this
Continue reading Does public opinion always agree with scientific fact?
Amir Aczel, mathematician and author of a number of semi-popular books on mathematics and science (see, for example, Fermat’s Last Theorem: Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem), has just published Finding Zero: A Mathematician’s Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers.
Aczel’s Finding Zero addresses a very significant historical question: What is the
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The twin prime and prime gap conjectures
Paul Erdos, one of the 20th century’s most famed mathematicians (1913-1996) was well-known for offering prizes for the solution of various mathematical problems. Although most of these prizes were a token USD$25 or the like, he did offer a UDS$10,000 prize for the solution to a certain conjecture
Continue reading New results on the prime gap conjecture
The world community is truly at a crossroads like never before faced in the history of our civilization. If we continue business-as-usual with the consumption of fossil fuels, then, according to the 2014 edition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s climate change report, grave consequences will almost surely ensue, including rising sea
Continue reading Low energy nuclear reactions: Papers and patents