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GUTs, Toes, and a View from the Cosmos

When theoretical cosmologists speak of GUTs and TOEs, they’re not talking about anatomy. GUT is an acronym for Grand Unified Theory and TOE stands for Theory of Everything. These are just two fun facts in the fascinating book The End of...

“The End of Everything,” by Katie Mack

Martha recommends The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) (Bookshop|Amazon) by Katie Mack, an assistant professor of physics at North Carolina State University. It’s a challenging read, but accessible enough to lay readers to provide...

Truth and Beauty Quarks

In the 1970s, physicists predicted the discovery of two quarks called T and B for top and bottom. Some poetically-minded physicists argued that the T and B quarks should instead be called truth and beauty, but the terms top and bottom eventually won...

Widdershins

Widdershins, also spelled withershins, means “counterclockwise,” and can also refer to someone or something that’s off or backwards. Another word for “the opposite of widdershins,” by the way, is deasil. This is part of...

Feyman’s Letter to His Dead Wife

Two years after his wife died of tuberculosis at the age of 25, physicist Richard Feynman wrote her an extraordinarily touching letter that remained sealed until after his death. This is part of a complete episode.

The Common Meaning of Inertia

In the scientific sense, inertia is the tendency for things to continue doing what they’re doing, like staying in motion. But the common meaning of inertia almost always refers to the tendency to do nothing, making inertia something that must...