Jocelyn Bell and the Breakthrough prize 2018

Pulsars were first detected in 1967 by a research student called Jocelyn Bell when she was taking observations for her PhD thesis. Her supervisor, Anthony Hewish, went on to win the Nobel prize in 1974 for the discovery, and her contribution was overlooked. Many at the time felt that Jocelyn Bell should have been given… Continue reading Jocelyn Bell and the Breakthrough prize 2018

The Rare Earth hypothesis

Ever since the pioneering work of Frank Drake (1930-) in 1960, astronomers have been looking for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilisations and have failed to find anything. This could be because Earth-like planets containing complex life forms (such as ourselves) are rare in the Universe and only a series of highly improbable events led to the… Continue reading The Rare Earth hypothesis

A Christmas gift from The Science Geek 2017

  Christmas is almost upon us. Once again I'm offering my e-books for free during the first five days of December!  Just call me Father Christmas :-). "Is Anyone Out There?" is about the likelihood of there being extraterrestrial intelligent life.  It is based on a number of posts from my blog.  For readers based in the UK the… Continue reading A Christmas gift from The Science Geek 2017

The discovery of pulsars 1967

In 1967 Jocelyn Bell, a 24-year-old student from Cambridge University, was doing the research for her PhD. She was using a radio telescope to study radio waves emitted from compact astronomical objects known as quasars, and when she analysed the data she had collected, she noticed a signal which appeared to pulse on and off… Continue reading The discovery of pulsars 1967

Voyager 40th anniversary

Nearly 40 years ago, on 20 August 1977, the Voyager 2 space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to study the Solar System's four outermost planets. It was followed 15 days later by the launch of an identical spacecraft, Voyager 1. The Voyager spacecraft -Image from NASA Although Voyager 1 was… Continue reading Voyager 40th anniversary

Life in our galaxy?

With the recent discovery of three planets orbiting the red dwarf star Trappist-1 which have a similar size, mass and average surface temperature as the Earth, there has been considerable speculation as to whether one or more of these planets supports life. What the surface of Trappist 1f, one of the planets orbiting Trappist 1, might look… Continue reading Life in our galaxy?

A Christmas present from The Science Geek

  Now that we are into December, Christmas is almost upon us. So, as I did last year, I'd like to give my readers an early Christmas present, by letting you download my short e-books for free during the first five days of December! "Is Anyone Out There?" is about the likelihood of there being extraterrestrial intelligent life.  It is… Continue reading A Christmas present from The Science Geek