A few questions and answers from the excellent thread on Reddit:
What is your favorite short science fact you like to tell people to really make them think?
That our bodies’ atoms are traceable to supernova stars that scattered their chemical enrichment across the cosmos, spawning the birth of star systems that contain planets, at least one of them containing life.
What never fails to blow your mind in physics?
MindBlown x 3
- The fact that an electron has no known size—it’s smaller than the smallest measurement we have ever made of anything.
- That Quarks come only in pairs: If you try to separate two of them, the energy you sink into the system to accomplish this feat is exactly the energy to spontaneously create two more quarks - one to partner with each of those you pulled apart.
- That the space-time structure inside a rotating black hole does not preclude the existence of an entire other universe.
If you could impress one thing on young people today, what would it be?
That adults are not all they’re cracked up to be.
If you could add one course to a student’s curriculum, what would it be?
Course title every university should offer: “How to tell when someone else is full of shit”
Can we inspire more kids to pursue space-related science and research? If so, how?
Kids are never the problem. They are born scientists. The problem is always the adults. The beat the curiosity out of the kids. They out-number kids. They vote. They wield resources. That’s why my public focus is primarily adults.
Will our minds ever be able to truly comprehend the vastness of the universe?
I lose sleep worrying that we, as a species, are indeed simply too stupid to figure out the universe. There’s even some YouTubes of me offering this lament. I other words, we are not as candid as we should be about our neuro-biological limitations.
What is your favorite fact about the Universe?
That is will never end. That it’s on a one way trip of expansion. Something that many find to be philosophically unsettling. My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.
I got my first brazilian today. And lest you think that’s too much information, I have a point to make with all of this. Humans are weird about hair. I know I’ve commented on this before, but as I lay on my back with knees to chin, anticipating the next strip of wax ripping off my bits and…