The philosopher René Descartes, who lived for a time near the royal gardens of St Germain-en-Laye just outside Paris, was intrigued by the strange machines installed there. The grounds were abuzz with water-powered automata that cavorted in grottoes, enacting scenes from Greek mythology and playfully splashing their visitors. If these intricate hydraulic mechanisms could … [Read more...] about Can animals be usefully described as clockwork machines? – Jessica Riskin
An artist’s rendering of a Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) molecule. Courtesy Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation Rebecca Wilbanks is a Hecht-Levi postdoctoral fellow at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She is working on her first book … [Read more...] about If we made life in a lab, would we understand it differently?
The moon has captured humans’ imaginations for thousands of years — but an astronomical number of questions remain about its history, and the history of our solar system. Some of the answers lie in the craters that pockmark the moon’s surface. And with deep learning, scientists are able to see these craters more clearly than ever before. Think of crater … [Read more...] about Counting Craters: Come On, Come On, Look a Little Closer — at Solar System History
If you construct a Lego model of the University of London’s Senate House – the building that inspired the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four – the Lego blocks themselves remain unchanged. Take apart the structure, reassemble the blocks in the shape of the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Eiffel Tower, and the shape, weight and … [Read more...] about Atomism is basic: emergence explains complexity in the Universe – Paul Humphreys
There is a story that the Buddha was once addressing his sangha, the monastic community who had gathered around to listen to him preach, when one of his bright young followers posed a series of questions. What, he asked his spiritual leader, is the origin of the Universe? Is the cosmos infinite? Is it eternal, or did it have a beginning?After the student had finished, he looked … [Read more...] about Can Buddhist philosophy explain what came before the Big Bang? – Zeeya Merali
Sections SEARCH Skip to content Skip to site index Science Subscribe Log In Subscribe Log In Today's Paper Advertisement Supported by sciencetake ByJames Gorman Usually the title of a scientific paper leaves anyone without the appropriate Ph.D. scratching their head in puzzlement. “Timmy’s in the Well” is an And the … [Read more...] about Lassie Got Help, Would Your Dog?
Pyroclastic activity at Mount Sinabung, on 24 June 2016 in Karo, Indonesia. Photo by Getty Images Jan Freedman is curator of natural history at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. He is also the editor of the Natural Sciences Collections Association blog. His main area of interest lies with Pleistocene mammal remains. Brought to you by curio.io, an Aeon partner … [Read more...] about What kills you when a volcano erupts? It’s not what you think
Photo courtesy of NASA Bridget Falck is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo in Norway. 1,200 words Edited by Sally Davies Republish What is it with the philosophy-haters in astrophysics and cosmology? From the late Stephen Hawking’s claim that ‘philosophy is dead’, to Steven … [Read more...] about Why cosmology without philosophy is like a ship without a hull
Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient tablet engraved with 13 verses of the Odyssey in the ancient city of Olympia, southern Greece, in what could be the earliest record of the epic poem, the Greek culture ministry said. The clay slab is believed to date back to the 3rd century AD, during the Roman era. “If this date is confirmed, the tablet could be the oldest written … [Read more...] about Ancient find may be earliest extract of epic Homer poem Odyssey
A simulated signal of black hole production and decay at the LHC. Photo courtesy CERN/ATLAS Sabine Hossenfelder is a research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, with a special interest in the phenomenology of quantum gravity. Her writing has appeared in Forbes, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among others. Her latest book is Lost in Math: How … [Read more...] about Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, and other lies of physics