In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago, all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence. Conditions.
I've known from long ago that the universe was calling me. If you were one of those annoying adults that said, 'Oh, what are you gonna be when you grow up?' I would say, 'Astrophysicist.' And then they'd walk away real quickly.
On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death.
In 1994, NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory detected something as unexpected as the Velas' discoveries: frequent flashes of gamma rays right near Earth's surface. They were sensibly dubbed terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. Nuclear holocaust? No, as is evident from the fact that you're reading this sentence.
Our star, and most stars, are made mostly of hydrogen, which is the number one element in the universe: 90% of all atomic nuclei are hydrogen, about 8% are helium, and the remaining 2% comprise all the other elements in the periodic table. All.
In all civilizations we've studied, all cultures that we know of across the Earth and across time have invested some kind of attempt to understanding where where, where they come from, and where they are going.
The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted aurora near the poles of both Saturn and Jupiter. And on Earth, the aurora borealis and australis (the northern and southern lights) serve as intermittent reminders of how nice it is to have a protective atmosphere.
You can't train kids in a world where adults have no concept of what science literacy is. The adults are gonna squash the creativity that would manifest itself, because they're clueless about what it and why it matters. But science can always benefit from the more brains there are that are thinking about it - but that's true for any field.
Whether or not you can never become great at something, you can always become better at it. Don't ever forget that! And don't say I'll never be good. You can become better! and one day you'll wake up and you'll find out how good you actually became.
Keep in mind that if you take a tour through a hospital and look at every machine with on and off switch that is brought into the service of diagnosing the human condition, that machine is based on principles of physics discovered by a physicist in a machine designed by an engineer.
The universe today is 13.8 billion years old. By 22 billion years, the Sun will have finished its main-sequence lifetime and will have become a white dwarf. The Andromeda galaxy will have crashed into the Milky Way.
In a trillion or so years, anyone alive in our own galaxy may know nothing of other galaxies. Our observable universe will merely comprise a system of nearby, long-lived stars within the Milky Way. And beyond this starry night will lie an endless void—darkness in the face of the deep.
Kids are never the problem. They are born scientists. The problem is always the adults. They beat the curiosity out of kids. They outnumber kids. They vote. They wield resources. That's why my public focus is primarily adults.
There is always a place I can take someone's curiosity and land where they end up enlightened when we're done. That's my challenge as an educator. No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don't ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.
Once you have an innovation culture, even those who are not scientists or engineers - poets, actors, journalists - they, as communities, embrace the meaning of what it is to be scientifically literate. They embrace the concept of an innovation culture. They vote in ways that promote it. They don't fight science and they don't fight technology.
Our academic system rewards people who know a lot of stuff and generally we call those people smart, but at the end of the day who do you want- the person who can figure things out that they've never seen before or the person who can rattle off a bunch of facts?
We embark on this quest not from a simple desire, but from a mandate of our species to search for our place in the cosmos. The quest is old, not new. And has garnered the attention of thinkers great and small, across time and across culture. What we have discovered, the poets have known all along.
There is no science in this world like physics. Nothing comes close to the precision with which physics enables you to understand the world around you. It's the laws of physics that allow us to say exactly what time the sun is going to rise. What time the eclipse is going to begin. What time the eclipse is going to end.