Big Picture Science – Radical Cosmology

by Gary Niederhoff on February 18, 2019

Big Picture Science – Radical Cosmology

400 years ago, some ideas about the cosmos were too scandalous to mention. When the Dominican friar Giordano Bruno suggested that planets existed outside our Solar System, the Catholic Inquisition had him arrested, jailed, and burned at the stake for heresy.

Today, we have evidence of thousands of planets orbiting other stars. Our discovery of extrasolar planets has dramatically changed ideas about the possibility for life elsewhere in the universe.

Modern theories about the existence of the ghostly particles called neutrinos or of collapsed stars with unfathomable gravity (black holes), while similarly incendiary, didn’t prompt arrest, of course. Neutrinos and black holes were arresting ideas because they came decades before we had the means to prove their existence.

Hear about scientific ideas that came before their time and why extrasolar planets, neutrinos, and black holes are now found on the frontiers of astronomical research.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Alberto Martinez / Heretical Exoplanets
Part 2: Anne Schukraft / Detecting Neutrinos
Part 3: Ephraim Fischbach / New Neutrino Detector
Part 4: Chris Impey / Predicting Black Holes

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