Science, not just for intelligent people anymore

I have always been fascinated by space, though this fascination drew me more towards the world of science fiction than it did towards academic or scientific avenues of study. Where I can engage in lengthy conversations on the genius of Ridley Scott’s Alien or staunchly defend my belief that Deep Space Nine is the finest of the Star Trek franchises, I was endlessly frustrated by physics — stemming from my complete lack of aptitude in the arena of mathematics — during my studies in England, a trend that continued when I took astronomy to satisfy my science requirements at university. Frustrations and lackluster grades aside, my interest in the worlds beyond our own has remained constant.

On one of my recent jaunts around the internet, I stumbled across Sciencemag.org. It was the article “Does Our Universe Live Inside a Wormhole?” that initially attracted me, but I ended up staying on the site for over an hour (nearly an eternity by today’s standards, fragmented consciousnesses and attention deficits and all). I clicked on almost every suggested article at the end of the stories, discovering pieces like “Time Before Time” — with its two suggested academic companion sites, “Notes on…” and “More on Loop Quantum Gravity” — and, more recently, “Earth-like Planets May Abound in the Milky Way.”

What impresses me most about the articles is their writing. The wormhole piece was not only appealing to me, but to friends of mine who are of a more scientific bent. The story details Nikodem Poplawski’s theory in a way that I understood and, just as importantly, in a way where I didn’t feel I was being talked to like a child, all while exploring its implications: the beginnings of an explanation of why scientists cannot “construct a mathematical formula that unites gravity with the three other basic forces of nature: the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism” and the problem of dark matter.

I haven’t done much exploration into the myriad other scientific realms covered on Sciencemag.org, but I am sure there is plenty there for both the ‘amateur’ and aspiring scientist out there. Perhaps I’ll make my way down Sciencemag.com’s categories list one day, but it could take a while. I’m just more into event horizons and time travel than I am into, you know, like, trees.

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