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The long hunt for new objects in our expanding solar system

Posted February 4, 2016 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Alice Gorman, Flinders University Recognise these planet names: Vulcan, Neptune, Pluto, Nemesis, Tyche and Planet X? They all have one thing in common: their existence was predicted to account for unexplained phenomena in our solar system. While the predictions of Neptune and Pluto proved correct, Nemesis and Tyche probably […]

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Introduction Here I will be arguing that comets were not instrumental in the emergence of modern astronomy in the 17th century. This view, most notably propounded by Kuhn and Hellman , where observations of comets were of paramount importance in ushering in a post-Newtonian modern astronomy by the end of the 17th century. Heidarzadeh posits […]

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Teleology in nature and culture

Posted March 6, 2015 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Introduction In 1859 Charles Darwin published his now famous On the Origin of Species , which provided, a well researched and reasoned naturalistic explanation of species evolution through ‘natural selection’. In introducing natural selection did Darwin enable us to dispense totally with teleological explanations for purpose and design in biology? In this essay I will […]

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In 1864 James Clerk Maxwell published his essay, A dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field[1], which contained what are now known as Maxwell’s equations: the four basic equations of the electromagnetic field[2]. In doing so he bought to a satisfactory pause an intense period of experiment and theorizing on the nature of electricity and magnetism. […]

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Time travelers… there anybody out there?

Posted May 9, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Astrophysicists Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson have undertaken what they consider to be the most sensitive and comprehensive search yet for time travelers from the future. The negative results they reported indicate that time travelers from the future may not amongst us. Time travel has captured the public imagination for much of the past century.  […]

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How curiosity became transformed

Posted March 2, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Curiosity; seen as a hazard to society in the classical world, early Christianity condemned it as a sin, and now, in the modern world, it is seen as an essential part of human nature. Somewhere between the late 1500s and 1700s attitudes in Europe changed. The change, according to Phillip Ball in Curiosity, was gradual […]

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Just on 30 years ago I came across an intriguing book, the then relatively unknown Gaia: A new look at life on Earth (OUP 1979) by an ‘independent scientist’, J.E. Lovelock. My earliest impression of it may seem surprising to many people now. I was infuriated. I was infuriated not by Lovelock’s hypothesis per se, […]


Ahead of his time: the genius of Nikola Tesla

Posted February 2, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

There is a dominant theme in the life of Nikola Tesla. His undoubted genius. Tesla pioneered, if not invented; AC motors, AC power generation and transmission, high voltage generation (Tesla coil), wireless transmission of power and information, radio controlled boats, cold discharge fluorescent lighting, and the ‘death-ray’. It also meant that he was ahead of […]

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NASA’s Curiosity shows there’s more to life than life

Posted December 13, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Helen Maynard-Casely, Australian Synchrotron The Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, driven around, started its scientific mission and, as of 4am today (AEDT), started reporting integrated science results. In a news conference at the American Geophysical Union NASA’s Curiosity mission team presented a measured, low-key and hype-free discussion […]

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The (nuclear) alchemists of Darmstadt and the doubly magic tin-100 nucleus

Posted September 19, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

An international group of researchers announced in the journal Nature that they had succeeded in creating tin-100.   This experiment helps us understand how heavy elements have formed.  A few minutes after the Big Bang the universe contained no other elements than the lightest; hydrogen and helium. We, the objects around us, the Earth and the […]

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It is the year 2023 and humans have settled on Mars

Posted June 24, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Do you wish to become a Martizen, a citizen of Mars, anytime in the near future?  If you are serious about this then Dutchman, Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One, is your man. Bas Lansdorp is a person with an audacious ambition.  Through his company, Mars One, he plans to establish the first human settlement […]

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There is no doubt in the mind of Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, the future will be shaped by science technology, engineering and mathematics.  Unfortunately, he finds that at present the standing of science, as an expert authority, is being challenged.  Furthermore, Ian Chubb finds that the science message is getting lost in the […]

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How much does antimatter weigh?

Posted March 19, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

A pulse of particles speeds into the vacuum chamber.  Positrons, 20,000,000 antimatter particles, clumped in a pulse one nanosecond deep.  Like a silent, angry swarm they are targeted into a porous silica target.  The positrons are confined by a magnetic field, increasing their interaction with the silica.  Some attract electrons and synthesize into positronium, a […]

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Anticipation of stressful events may cause cellular ageing

Posted February 24, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Psychologists have found people most threatened by the anticipation of stressful tasks looked older at the cellular level.  The ability to anticipate future events allows us to plan and exert control over our lives.  Anticipation may also contribute to stress-related increased risk for the diseases of aging, according to this study. The researchers studied 50 […]

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A computer program of the genius category

Posted February 20, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Researchers have developed a computer programme more intelligent than 96% of the human population.  Intelligence is often measured through IQ tests where the average score for humans is 100.  The computer programme can score 150, putting it in the ‘genius’ category. The programme is smarter than George W Bush, but not as smart as Stephen […]

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The origins of life: made on Earth or not?

Posted September 8, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Two recent discoveries have strengthened the hypothesis that life on earth may have originated from organic material seeded by asteroids and meteorites.  The first comes from a new analysis of 12 meteorites and the second of dust from an asteroid.  The case for this has been building since the 1960s when scientists first started analysing […]

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A philosopher, a physicist and a time-traveller walk into a bar

Posted July 31, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

The conference “XIIIth Galifreyan conference on a cross-disciplinary approach to Time and Space” had reached an afternoon poster session and three of the participants entered a welcoming bar adjacent to the conference centre. Leibniz: “Ahhh much better, that cafe was way to noisy.  Couldn’t hear myself think, not alone hold a meaningful conversation.” Clarke:  “Very […]

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