Author Archives: jpeilbert

SETI isn’t Science: Why the Search for Aliens is a Waste of Resources

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been ongoing for about 60 years now, and it’s time to reconsider if it’s worth the millions of dollars and hours it burns every year. To start off, I want to make the case that SETI isn’t real science. It’s a faith-based effort that isn’t falsifiable. An article … Continue reading SETI isn’t Science: Why the Search for Aliens is a Waste of Resources Continue reading Continue reading

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Metallic Hydrogen: The Holy Grail of High Pressure Physics

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but at most reasonable temperatures and pressures it presents itself as an (infamously) flammable, colorless gas. In the high-pressure environments of the interior of Jupiter and Saturn, however, hydrogen takes on a rare and mysterious form: metallic hydrogen. You’re probably familiar with the three traditional states … Continue reading Metallic Hydrogen: The Holy Grail of High Pressure Physics Continue reading Continue reading

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The Militarization of Space: What We Know Might Scare You. What We Don’t Know is Probably Even Worse.

What do you think was the first man-made object in space? Who do you think launched that object? It may surprise you to find out that the first man-made object to reach space was a V-2 rocket launched by Nazi Germany in 1944. Fortunately, the Third Reich was defeated before their successes in rocketry could … Continue reading The Militarization of Space: What We Know Might Scare You. What We Don’t Know is Probably Even Worse. Continue reading Continue reading

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Stars: How to Make Just About Everything

You may be familiar with the Periodic Table, which lists every type of atom (referred to as ‘elements’) in the universe. Each of the elements is formed by combining subatomic building blocks in different ways. One of the most important element-creating events in the Universe was Big Bang nucleosynthesis, the period about 10 seconds to … Continue reading Stars: How to Make Just About Everything Continue reading Continue reading

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Transgressing the Boundaries: A Look at the Sokal Affair

I’ve been lucky to be able to study across very different academic fields in my undergraduate curriculum. This breadth of academic focus has made apparent to me the differences between how scholars in certain fields practice their craft. These differences contribute to the not-so-friendly rivalry between the so-called ‘hard’ sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, etc.) … Continue reading Transgressing the Boundaries: A Look at the Sokal Affair Continue reading Continue reading

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The Times of Isaac Newton: a Window into the Early Modern Era

Isaac Newton lived from 4 January 1643 until 31 March 1727 (according to the Gregorian Calendar, although it wasn’t used at the time). During his time he was known as a natural philosopher, and his scientific achievements spanned mathematics, physics, and astronomy. His formulation of the laws of motion and gravity (Newtonian, or classical, physics) … Continue reading The Times of Isaac Newton: a Window into the Early Modern Era Continue reading Continue reading

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Grasping the Scale of the Solar System (with help from Josh Worth)

Have you ever wondered just how big the Solar System is? One helpful website to answer that question is Josh Worth’s “If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel” site. This beautiful website allows you to scroll through the Solar System, to-scale, as if the Moon were only 1 pixel (that is, teeny-tiny and barely visible … Continue reading Grasping the Scale of the Solar System (with help from Josh Worth) Continue reading Continue reading

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Introduction

That’s me, proudly sporting my medals (and a regrettable haircut) from a high school Science Olympiad competition in March 2014. My love of astronomy all started when I began competing in the Astronomy event with my high school’s Science Olympiad team. Check out our team’s information here or learn more about Illinois Science Olympiad at their … Continue reading Introduction Continue reading Continue reading

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