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Friday, June 26, 2009

Cosmology: Who really cares how it washes out at the end?

At the Canadian Science Writers’ Association convention in Sudbury, Ontario, our Sunday dinner speaker was American theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who presented sample clips from famous sci-fi films. And a whole lot more.

Would you be astonished to learn that the films portray implausible or impossible physics? No? Filmmakers value audience numbers more than atomic numbers. His clips entertained, but did not surprise:

However, his talk frequently targeted religion and politics: although he professed to respect theists, he offered snarky asides suggesting that fear of science is growing in Canada (because it might damage religion), adding, "In many ways I hope it does, but it wasn't designed to do that."

Dr. Krauss also told the assembled science communicators that in many key science controversies, there is only one side and journalists confuse matters by seeking out both sides.

Not so. New discoveries in science often result from minor, not major, deviations from an expected result.

Read more here.


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