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universe

eSkeptic for 14-12-10

In this week’s eSkeptic, we draw from the archives of Skeptic magazine issue 4.1 (from 1996) in which Bernard Leikind posits the ant-thropic principle: the principle that the Universe somehow exists for ants and that ants are an expression of its purpose.

Past Lecture
Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter

The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe constitute only 5% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. The Cosmic Cocktail is the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling enigmas of modern science—what is the universe made of?—told by one of today’s foremost pioneers in the study of dark matter, acclaimed University of Michigan theoretical physicist Katherine Freese.

eSkeptic for 13-08-28

Lump together literally everything contained in ultimate reality. Now call it all by the simple name “Something.” Why is there “Something” rather than “Nothing”? Is not Nothing, no world, simpler and easier than any world; is it not so that Nothing would have been the least arbitrary and “most natural” state of affairs? In this week’s eSkeptic, Robert Lawrence Kuhn explores the essence of Nothing, or what he calls “Levels of Nothing.” This article appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 18.2 (2013).

Past Lecture
The Particle at the End of the Universe:
How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us
to the Edge of a New World

Scientists have just announced an historic discovery on a par with the splitting of the atom: the Higgs boson. The key to understanding why mass exists has been found. In this lecture, based on the book The Particle at the End of the Universe, Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes you behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to meet the scientists and explain this landmark event.

eSkeptic for 12-09-12

In this week’s eSkeptic, Richard Morrock reviews New Atheist Victor Stenger’s new book God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion (2012, Prometheus Books, ISBN 978-1616145996).

eSkeptic for 12-07-11

Scientists are edging closer to providing logical and even potentially empirically testable hypotheses to account for the universe. In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses 12 possible answers to the question of why there is something rather than nothing.

eSkeptic for 11-03-09

In this week’s eSkeptic, James N. Gardner reviews Brian Greenes’s book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.

Past Lecture
A Special Dual Event
How Old is the Universe? and The Shape of Inner Space

In this special dual lecture event, Venderbilt University astronomer David Weintraub explains how old the universe is and how we know in an enthusiastic way. Following that lecture, Dr. Shing-Tung Yau tells the story of “Calabi-Yau manifolds,” — one of the smallest things you can possibly imagine — six-dimensional geometric spaces that may be more than a trillion times smaller than an electron. They might also be one of the defining features of our universe!

Past Lecture
The Grand Design

WHEN AND HOW DID THE UNIVERSE BEGIN? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion — or does science offer another explanation? Don’t miss this lecture by Leonard Mlodinow.

Past Lecture
The Crowded Universe

We are now nearing a turning point in our quest for life in the universe — we now have the capacity to detect Earth-like planets around other stars. But will we find any? In The Crowded Universe, renowned astronomer Dr. Alan Boss — a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union — argues that based on what we already know about planetary systems, in the coming years we will find abundant Earths, including many that are indisputably alive. Life is not only possible elsewhere in the universe, Boss argues — it is common…

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