Marcelo Gleiser

Marcelo Gleiser is a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. He is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College.

Gleiser is the author of the books The Prophet and the Astronomer (Norton & Company, 2003); The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang (Dartmouth, 2005); A Tear at the Edge of Creation (Free Press, 2010); and The Island of Knowledge (Basic Books, 2014). He is a frequent presence in TV documentaries and writes often for magazines, blogs and newspapers on various aspects of science and culture.

He has authored over 100 refereed articles, is a Fellow and General Councilor of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House and the National Science Foundation.

Pages

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:21 am
Wed July 29, 2015

'Unity': Are We There Yet?

Unity is a film from the writer and director of Earthlings.
Nation Earth

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 2:52 pm

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:58 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Game Of Quarks: A Guide For The Perplexed

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 5:21 pm

Nature is the ultimate puzzle player, as scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) found out last week.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
2:40 pm
Wed July 15, 2015

Pluto Encounter Is A Legacy Of Our Generation

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 3:17 pm

It finally happened. On Tuesday, the space probe New Horizons passed by a mere 7,800 miles from Pluto, the closest encounter ever with a world that is, on average, 3.7 billion miles from Earth.

It took nine years for the very fast probe to get there, something that our 13.7 blogger Adam Frank estimated would take some 6,923 years by car "give or take a few decades."

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:08 am
Wed July 8, 2015

The Brain's Remarkable Sculpting Of Memories

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 8, 2015 3:13 pm

It is a remarkable fact that the brain, made of neurons and their connections to one another named synapses, is able to remember.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:32 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Designing Superhumans

iStockphoto

The age of genetic design is here.

It is now possible to edit genes of diverse organisms — almost like we edit a string of text — by cutting and pasting (splicing) genes at desired locations. A recent technology known as CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) allows for the targeted control over cellular organization, regulation and behavior. CRISPR has its origins in the immune systems of bacteria, using short RNA sequences to disrupt the genetic structure of foreign attackers.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:27 am
Wed June 24, 2015

The Never-Learned Lesson In 'Jurassic World'

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of Jurassic World on June 9.
Jordan Strauss AP

Originally published on Wed June 24, 2015 6:05 pm

It's hard to have missed the explosive launching of Jurassic World, the new dinosaurs vs. humans bout in Steven Spielberg's venerable series. (This time he is executive producer, while Colin Trevorrow directs.) The movie made history already by being the highest grossing film ever in its first weekend, taking in more than $500 million worldwide.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:43 am
Wed June 17, 2015

After Long Slumber, Philae Says Hi To The World

An artist impression shows Philae on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
ESA/ATG medialab AP

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 9:17 am

In a technological feat that moved the world, last November the European Space Agency landed the small probe Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which is cruising at some 100,000 miles per hour toward the sun. Excitement turned to high drama when the landing put the probe away from the sun's rays and, thus, from its energy source.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:50 am
Wed June 10, 2015

If You Don't Know You Are Held Captive, Does It Matter?

iStockphoto

Last week, I held a class discussion on the issue of freedom. This was the closing lecture of my Dartmouth course "Question Reality!," an examination of the nature of physical reality and the limits of knowledge.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:53 am
Wed June 3, 2015

The High Price Of What We Eat

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 12:26 pm

On World Water Day, March 22, I wrote here at 13.7 that water — particularly its scarcity — should be one of our top worries for the coming decades. We listed a website with many disturbing facts about water or lack thereof, across the globe.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:03 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Viewing A Universe In Flux

The cluster and star-forming region Westerlund 2.
NASA/ESA

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 4:36 pm

The phenomenally successful Hubble Space Telescope turned 25 last month.

To celebrate the occasion, the Hubble team released a spectacular photo of a "stellar nursery," a region of space where huge amounts of gas and dust churn dramatically under gravity's never-resting arms to create new stars and, with them, new planets. Known as Westerlund 2 in the constellation Carina, it houses some 3,000 stars, some of them the hottest and brightest in our galaxy.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:43 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Merging Global Values In A More Secular America

The percentage of Americans affiliated with a religion is declining, according to a new study.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:54 pm

We have an African-American president and may soon have a female president. But would Americans ever elect an atheist or agnostic president?

Perhaps in a decade or so.

A new Pew Research Center survey, dramatically titled "America's Changing Religious Landscape," has painted a somewhat surprising picture of the decline of Christians as a share of the population since 2007, contrasted with the rise of those claiming to be unaffiliated to any particular religion.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:49 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Are We To Become Gods, The Destroyers Of Our World?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 10:53 am

In the stylish new sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, Frankenstein's old theme re-emerges in a beautifully designed setting: Instead of the Gothic castle we have a spectacular estate in a vast mountainous wilderness, home of the recluse genius who wants to create the first true artificial intelligence.

As in Mary Shelley's classic, cutting-edge science serves as inspiration to a moral tale, one that explores the boundary between humans and gods.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:27 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Pope's Coming Statement On Global Warming Will Be Significant

Alessandra Tarantino AP

It is fitting that Pope Francis I, who chose his name from St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals and the environment, is preparing to publish an encyclical this summer on the effects of climate change on the poor, and the need to protect Earth and its environment.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:10 am
Wed April 22, 2015

'Planetary' Calls For A Global Vision Shift For Earthlings

A view of a phytoplankton bloom near Alaska's Pribilof Islands. The milky green and light blue shading of the water indicates the presence of vast populations of microscopic phytoplankton.
NASA

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 4:31 pm

As today is Earth Day, it may be that nothing is more appropriate than watching, here, at 13.7, a preview of the documentary Planetary.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:58 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Einstein's Universe Turns 100

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 8:50 am

One hundred years ago, a 36-year-old Albert Einstein presented the complete formulation of the General Theory of Relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Across the world, events and conferences will be celebrating what is considered, without hyperbole, the most beautiful of physical theories, marrying mathematics with physical concepts in deeply meaningful and elegant ways. Some consider it the highest intellectual achievement in history.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:14 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

What The 'God Of The Gaps' Teaches Us About Science

Scientist Isaac Newton on an engraving from the 1800s.
iStockphoto

"God of the Gaps": When God is invoked to fill in the blanks in scientific knowledge. An old-fashioned and doomed theological approach, but one that is nevertheless very much alive in the minds of many.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:30 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Van Gogh's Turbulent Mind Captured Turbulence

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:16 pm

This week marked Vincent van Gogh's 162nd birthday. The always-illuminating Maria Popova celebrated in her Brainpickings newsletter by bringing back studies linking van Gogh's celebrated 1889 painting The Starry Night -- where light and clouds flow in turbulent swirls on the night sky — with studies of turbulence in fluid flows.

How this works is one of the hardest questions in modern physics.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:53 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Should You Trust That New Medical Study?

Alexander Raths iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:36 pm

News of medical studies fill the headlines and airwaves — often in blatant contradiction. We've all seen it: One week, coffee helps cure cancer; the next, it causes it.

From a consumer's perspective, the situation can be very confusing and potentially damaging — for example, in a case where someone with a serious illness believes and follows the wrong lead.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:54 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

Take A Shorter Shower — It's World Water Day

iStockphoto

Even though water scarcity is probably among the top of our list of 21st century worries, few people stress about it unless directly lacking a safe source of ample water.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:08 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Much Rests On The Enhanced Large Hadron Collider

Part of the Large Hadron Collider.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 1:11 pm

Get ready to look at the universe through a new window.

Read more

Pages