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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

Black Holes Sing: Black Holes, Their Orbits & Gravitational Waves

Dr. Janna Levin

Black Holes are the ultimate death state of very massive stars. Collapsing under their own weight, the dead cores will curve spacetime so strongly that not even light can escape. Black holes emit no light and reflect no light. They are dark against a dark sky and effectively invisible. When two black holes move in orbit around each other, they churn up the spacetime around them, emanating waves in the fabric of space itself. These waves are like the waves on a drum and are closest in analogy to sound waves: the black holes are singing. Gravitational waves move through the universe, and us, all the time squeezing and stretching space but so weakly that we don’t notice. Monumental experiments built on Earth and planned for space aim to record the extraordinary sounds of black hole orbits.

This lecture by the theoretical physicist, Dr. Janna Levin (Barnard College of Columbia University) combines her work from her first book, How the Universe Got its Spots (a nonfiction work of science) with her second book, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (a novel that won the prestigious PEN/Bingham Fellowship Prize for Writers and the MEA Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work).

Book signing to follow the lecture.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

FREE PDF Download

The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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