Marcelo Gleiser

Marcelo Gleiser appears in the following:

Seeing The World Like A 9-Year-Old

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Earlier this week, I visited a fourth-grade class at the public school where I live. I try to go every year to different classes, from grade school to high school, to tell students about the universe.

The class had been studying the solar system, in particular the planets and their ...


It's A Hot Year For Science Books

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

This is a very exciting year for books bringing science to the general public.

From timely topics like how science may illuminate our search for meaning to the search (and now discovery!) of gravitational waves, there is much to look forward to on the printed page. As books are published, ...


An Enduring Lesson From The Challenger Disaster: 'The Sky Is No Limit'

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It is a sad curiosity that the word "disaster" comes from star (aster), as in "an ill-starred event," owing its etymological roots to astrology.

Jan. 28 marked the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster, one of the worst accidents in the history of the American space program. A nation watched, ...


Evaluating Our Importance In The Universe

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

For the past two weeks we've been exploring some of the questions related to life's origin on Earth and possibly elsewhere.

We know life was present on Earth at least 3.5 billion years ago. It may have been present even earlier, but results remain controversial. The window of opportunity for ...


Locating The Cradle Of Life

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Last week, we wrote about the fundamental three questions concerning the origin of life on Earth: When? Where? How? Although they are interrelated, each has a specific set of sub-questions that keep researchers very busy.

Astrobiology, the study of life's origins on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere ...


The Search For The Oldest Life On Earth Is A Complicated One

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Being in Kaikoura, New Zealand, for what is allegedly the first astrobiology workshop here, it's a good time to go back to the basics and reflect on what we know of the complicated question of the origin of life on Earth — and the possibility of life elsewhere.

I will ...


It Is To Space That We Go With David Bowie

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The singer David Bowie, one of the most creative performers in rock 'n' roll history, died of cancer at age 69 on Sunday — two days after releasing a new album.

I remember going to a few of his concerts when I was a graduate student in London in the ...


Choosing Between Good And Evil In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The battle goes on. In a galaxy far, far away, forces of good clash with forces of evil.

The new installment of the Star Wars saga is an absolute success. Rotten Tomatoes estimates a critics' approval of 93 percent. Tickets sales are breaking all records: Star Wars: The Force ...


From Einstein's Ghost To Pluto, A Year Of Remarkable Science

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It was a busy year for science, with remarkable discoveries on all fronts. I have compiled a brief and incomplete list, biased toward space science and physics, with links to more details. Here it goes:

  1. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) ends year with a cliffhanger. The behemoth particle collider ...


What The World Looks Like After The Paris Treaty

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"History will remember this day," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday, after almost 200 countries adopted the first global treaty to curb man-made global warming. "The Paris agreement on climate change is a monumental success for the planet and its people."

President Obama agreed: "[The climate agreement] offers the ...


Exploring The 'Universe' In A Video Game

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Who doesn't want to play God — to have the feeling of creating new worlds with the push of a button? (Although gods presumably don't need buttons to create worlds.)

This is the promise of No Man's Sky, a new game designed by Sean Murray and his team from Hello ...


Should We Eat Golden Rice?

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Looking at how science has affected humanity, one of the strongest indicators is the dramatic increase in average life expectancy.

During the Late Middle Ages, the average life expectancy in Western Europe was 38 years; in Victorian England, 40. By the early 1900s, with improvements in sanitation, vaccines and treatment ...


The Equation That Blew Up The Cosmos

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On this very day 100 years ago, while Europe was buried deep in the darkness of the Great War, Albert Einstein wrote down the equation that changed forever the way we understand space, time and matter.

To a large extent, the equation also changed the way we understand ourselves, as ...


Pushing The Frontiers Of High-Energy Physics Links Humanity

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I spent last week at CERN, the high-energy physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, where the Higgs boson particle was discovered in July 2012.

For those who are not yet familiar, CERN houses a giant particle accelerator — the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — a machine designed to find ...


The Need To Believe: Where Does It Come From?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

When discussing the relationship between science and religion, people often take a polarized position: It's either "I believe" or "I don't believe."

Much grief comes from the insistence from either side that the opposite is wrong or meaningless. (Here is an example, as secularist Sam Harris criticizes National Institutes ...


Exploring Catalogues Of Living Creatures And Celestial Objects

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One of the indisputable advantages of the Internet is accessibility of information, in particular for educational purposes, inside and outside schools.

Vast collections of what we photograph, study and catalogue are available by typing a few words and clicking on a few tabs. For someone who grew up scavenging local ...


Does Technology Make You Freer?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The notion that mechanization and technology will bring us free time, so we can "enjoy" life, is as old as technology itself.

The use of farming animals to cut through fields spared humans much hard work. Romans used watermills to grind grain and lift water for irrigation. As we advance ...


What Do You Believe?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

On Sunday, a seven-part documentary series titled Belief begins airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). For a week, viewers will travel around the world as the series explores the many facets of belief across cultures, from the orthodox to the secular, from the material to the spiritual.

I ...


Could All Really Come From Nothing?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The origin of the universe is one of the most difficult realities we ponder.

It bends our logic, straining the words we have to describe it. If one is to say the universe started at the Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago, the immediate reaction is: "But what came ...


A Short History Of The Mysterious Disappearing Neutrinos

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

We learned Tuesday that Takaaki Kajita, from the Super-Kamiokande Collaboration in Japan, and Arthur McDonald, from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Collaboration in Canada (SNO), won the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for helping to solve a long-standing mystery in physics: the disappearing neutrinos.

Neutrinos are very weird particles. Proposed ...