A recent Hubble image of the galaxy IC 335 shows it to be a star-filled galaxy with a flat shape not unlike our own Milky Way. But whereas the Milky Way contains vast collections of nebulae and dust clouds, IC 335 seems to have none. A look behind the curtain gives us clues to how two similar galaxies like IC 335 and the Milky Way could turn out so differently.
Have you seen Christopher Nolan's Interstellar yet? It's generating a lot of discussion both about the story and the science, and as one of the characters explains in the movie, the science focuses around Einstein's theory of relativity. As the author of a new book about that theory, I thought I should weigh in on the movie.
At an international conference in Mexico a few years ago, Richard Dawkins, having expounded at length on how sexual natural selection explains life on Earth without any need for a "creator," went on to say, "And I am sure that something like the principle of natural selection operates in the physical universe as well." Sounds totally silly? Well, there's more to it: a huge irony.