Marcelo Gleiser

Marcelo Gleiser appears in the following:

Lessons From The Beginning Of Time

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The news came out last week that, after a painstaking data analysis involving two teams of scientists, the much-hyped detection of gravitational waves from the Big Bang — announced almost a year ago — was indeed a false alarm: The spiral-shaped distortions in the very fabric of space were ...


Is An Identical Copy Of You, You?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In the video below, Dr. Kenneth Hayworth, president and co-founder of the Brain Preservation Foundation, ponders the following possibility: Imagine that it would be possible to make an identical copy of yourself, including your memories and experiences. Is that copy of you, you? Meaning, if someone pointed a gun to ...


Was 2014 The Hottest Year On Record — Or Not?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Since the Jan. 16 release of findings by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) indicating that 2014 has been the hottest year on record, naysayers have criticized the report as being exaggerated and distorted.

According to the NASA data collected from more than 3,000 weather stations around ...


Capturing Changes In The Way We Connect

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

After reading a recent post of mine focusing on whether we should be living our lives, or capturing them, photographer Jacob F. Lucas got in touch. He recently put together a book called Commute Culture that addresses this same topic through pictures.

I decided to find out ...


As 2015 Begins, Some Ruminations On Science And Life

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Over the years, I've been collecting thought fragments and sentences that come to me during the day or in the course of my writing books and essays.

Since this is a time of introspection and self-analysis, I wanted to share some of them with the 13.7 readers — along with ...


Black Holes And Our Cosmic Future

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

With the movies Interstellar and The Theory of Everything out, black holes are in the news, exciting people's imagination.

Black holes bring up possibilities as crazy-sounding as time travel, tunnels through space called wormholes, even parallel universes. It's amazing that when I started my career in the 1980s, ...


Church Of England Names Its First Female Bishop

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Church of England has named its first female bishop.

The Rev. Libby Lane, who has been a parish priest for 20 years, will be consecrated on Jan. 26, becoming the first woman to hold that position since the church was founded five centuries ago.

"This is unexpected and very ...


Space, Time, Love And Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stephen Hawking is the world's most famous scientist. I can't think of another example of a scientist who has had so many headlines and, now, a biographic movie while still alive.

The Theory of Everything stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane, Hawking's first wife and ...


A Quest For The Unattainable Unification Of Knowledge

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

In his recent book, The Meaning of Human Existence, the celebrated evolutionary biologist, entomologist and essayist Edward Wilson sets off to chart a possible path toward the unification of the sciences and the humanities — taking off from his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. If we are ...


The Little Comet Probe That Could

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Even with all the drama — and now the prolonged silence, possibly permanent — the European Space Agency's (ESA) mission to land a fridge-sized probe on a comet zipping at about 80,000 miles per hour, some 300 million miles from Earth, was a resounding success. This first ever comet ...


The Science Of 'Interstellar'

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Every child must leave home one day — but rarely because he has destroyed his home.

This is the central predicament of Christopher Nolan's new epic movie, Interstellar. In the not too distant future, Earth is progressively headed toward becoming uninhabitable. A large fraction of the world's population has ...


Despite Disasters, Explore We Must

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The crash of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave Desert last Friday, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury and seriously injuring pilot Peter Siebold, has renewed discussions on the value of commercial space exploration. Should we continue to do this at the unavoidable cost of human life? Is this simply a moneymaking ...


Can Scientific Belief Go Too Far?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Last week, our own Tania Lombrozo ignited an intense discussion of the differences between factual and religious belief. I want to take off from there and examine a no less controversial issue, one that has been in the limelight of cutting-edge physics for the past few years: Do some ...


The Void Is A Busy Place

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At least when it comes to physical reality, which I define here as that which exists in the cosmos, there is no such thing as complete emptiness.

Quite the opposite, it seems that the more we learn about nature, the busier space becomes. We can, of course, contemplate the idea ...


The Never-Ending Climb Of Mount Science

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The other day, I was giving a public lecture when someone asked me a question that I wish people would ask me more often: "Professor: Why are you a scientist?"

I answered that I couldn't do anything else, that I considered it a privilege to dedicate my life to teaching ...


Superintelligence: Triumph Or Threat?

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I recently started reading Superintelligence, a new book by Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom, who is also director of the Future of Humanity Institute. (Now, that's a really cool job title.)

Bostrom is well-known for his famous argument that there is a real chance that we live in ...


Should We Live Life, Or Capture It?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A recent article in The New York Times explores the explosive wave of smartphone recordings of events, from the most meaningful to the most trivial.

Everyone is, or wants to be, the star of their own life, and the rage is on to capture every moment deemed meaningful. YouTube ...


A Liberal Arts Curriculum In 2 Minutes

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Some of you may have seen "Our Story in 2 Minutes," a 2012 video edited by Joe Bush and with music from Zack Hemsey. As of this writing, it had more than 17.2 million views on YouTube from people all over the world. If you haven't seen it, here is ...


If We Create Life, Who Will Control It?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Perhaps I shouldn't have used a conditional on the title. After all, we are already creating life.

Recently, Craig Venter, from the J. Craig Venter Institute, announced the creation of a living, self-reproducing bacterial cell with a DNA sequence produced in the laboratory. According to Laurie Garrett's article in ...


Science And Spirituality: Could It Be?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It was the Roman poet Lucretius, writing around 50 B.C., who famously proclaimed reason as a tool to achieve individual freedom, as a means of breaking free from superstitions that enslave the human mind:

"This dread and darkness of the mind cannot be dispelled by the sunbeams, the shining ...