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Monday, March 10, 2014

Cosmos: There's No Place Else Like It

I just saw and loved the first episode of the new Cosmos. A particularly favorable impression was made when, right in the opening, Neil deGrasse Tyson outlined the rules of scientific method as the key to the Universe. Also noteworthy was that, even with all the snazzier special effects, there were some features of the original that couldn't be improved on -- like using a calendar to illustrate comparisons in cosmic time. Or directly quoting Sagan's line, "We are all made of star stuff." So it came as no surprise that he concluded by citing an early meeting with Sagan as an inspiration.

One quibble: Tyson presents, but doesn't critique, Giordano Bruno's argument for the infinity of the Universe. Although he later calls it only an educated guess, he never actually explains what's wrong with it. This is unfortunate inasmuch as it's an example of the sort of "argument from intuition" that people often need to resist in order to accept the counterintuitive findings of modern science.

 

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