Monthly Archives: May 2012

The 2012 Venus transit

Physicist: There wasn’t a question behind this, but it’s worth announcing. On June 5th or 6th (depending on where you are in the world) Venus will pass directly between the Sun and the Earth, so it’s basically a solar eclipse, … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Experiments | 4 Comments

Q: Why haven’t we discovered Earth-like planets yet?

Physicist: It’s amazing that we’ve found any at all, considering the difficulties involved. The scale of things in space is ridiculous.  The closest discovered planet to us, outside of our solar system, is “Epsilon Eridani b“, a mere stone’s throw … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy | 3 Comments

Q: Is quantum randomness ever large enough to be noticed?

The original question was: …true randomness on a quantum level has experimentally been shown to exist.  My question is, does this quantum randomness ever/often/always bubble up to our readily observable world of Newtonian physics to create truly random everyday events? … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Physics, Quantum Theory | 8 Comments

Q: How is radiometric dating reliable? Why is it that one random thing is unpredictable, but many random things together are predictable?

The original question was: Suppose there is a set of variables whose individual values are probably different, and may be anything larger than zero. Can their sum be predicted? If so, is the margin for error less than infinity? This … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Math, Particle Physics, Probability | 9 Comments

Q: Is the final step in evolution an ascension into an energy-based lifeform?

Physicist: Awesome question!  The very short answer is: nope. Energy beings are an old staple of sci-fi (a good one), but they’re almost certainly impossible, or at least, it’s almost certainly impossible for life (as we know it) to evolve … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Evolution, Physics | 21 Comments

Q: What would life be like in higher dimensions?

The original question was: Assuming we had four (or more) spatial dimensions in which to freely move around, like say a 4+1 dimensional universe, how might one extend our 3+1 dimensional physics to that universe? Side note: When someone says … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics | 66 Comments