Science

I REALLY love science.

 

 

Science has given us so much. It’s given us medicine to heal ourselves when we’re sick, and helped us build fast, safe transportation to visit our most distant loved ones.

It’s enabled us to live in comfort almost anywhere on Earth, and it’s even allowing you to read my thoughts from wherever you are in the world right now! Before, you’d have only been able to hear my ideas if you were right next to me while I told them to you, but thanks scientific progress we can now spread our ideas and knowledge through time and space to one another. 

People often think of science as a body of accumulated facts, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a way of thinking – a clever process of asking questions and testing out a range of possible answers until we find out what’s really going on. It’s the ultimate method of truth-seeking, ensuring that our mental models fit reality so that we can best achieve our goals.

Like most kids I had a range of things I wanted to be when I grew up. In chronological order, these were: a horse, a 747 pilot, a tornado chaser and an astronomer. The last two really stuck and I ended up studying astrophysics at the University of Manchester. There, I learned ridiculously cool things like how to detect cosmic rays, listen for gravitational waves, and in one experiment we literally got to use radio telescopes to WEIGH THE GALAXY!

Here’s my 3rd year dissertation on gravitational waves (from 2005), if you’re into that kinda thing: 

Olivia Boeree Dissertation – The Detection of Gravitational Waves – University of Manchester

Gravitational waves were all over the news recently because we finally detected them, 100 years after Einstein first predicted them (and more importantly, 10 years after I wrote about them in the above paper…). This discovery is a huge leap forward for humanity, because now we have a way to listen to the universe, as well as see it!

Now we just need Professor Farsnworth’s Smell-O-Scope…

 

 

And while I’ll never beat Futurama, you might enjoy some of my recent science videos:

And for a real nerdfest, I highly recommend Sporcle. It’s the ultimate way to learn random stuff while you procrastinate.

It can even make you money:

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