Jason Shankel

The Fabric of Reality


In his book The Fabric of Reality, physicist David Deutsch presents four key concepts which define the universe: quantum theory, computation, evolution by natural selection and Popperian epistemology. Deutsch calls these four concepts the strands of the fabric of reality.

Read more: The Fabric of Reality

How We Will Terraform Mars


NASA's latest Mars rover, Curiosity, is currently its way to Mars, on a mission to explore whether life could exist there. If we're going to colonize Mars — and some scientists say we must — it's likely that we'll start by terraforming. Terraforming, or planetary engineering, is the process of altering the climate of a planet to be more hospitable to life and human exploration. Of all the bodies in the solar system, Mars is by far the best candidate. Here's how that would work.

Read more: How We Will Terraform Mars

The Trouble With String Theory



Particle physics is to physics what big game hunting is to field biology. While theoretical physicists pore over their mathematical models, particle physicists are out in the brush with their pith helmets and shotguns, speaking softly, carrying big accelerators and blowing stuff up real good.

In The Trouble With Physics, Lee Smolin takes us on a journey through the history and science of physics and identifies this sociological division as the heart of the eponymous trouble: string theory is a theoretical field being explored by scientists with a particle mindset.

Before I explain the significance of Smolin's conclusion, it is important to understand what string theory is, what problems it is attempting to solve and why, in Smolin's view, it has failed.


Read more: The Trouble With String Theory