His new book, A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves, was inspired by a course Alvarez taught for five years, until his retirement in 2011, called “Big History,” in which he approached human history from a geologic and ultimately cosmic perspective, stretching back to the universe’s origin 13.8 billion years ago. The book is his attempt to make the scientific background of big history accessible to those without a science background, specifically historians and other humanists, through personal stories.
With the help of an automated supernova-hunting pipeline and a galaxy sitting 2 billion light years away from Earth that’s acting as a “magnifying glass,’’ astronomers have captured multiple images of a Type Ia supernova—the brilliant explosion of a star—appearing in four different locations on the sky. So far this is the only Type Ia discovered that has exhibited this effect.
The U.S. Geological Survey and its university, state and private partners this week announced the rollout of the latest version of the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system, bringing it to all West Coast states.
A radio telescope array being built in South Africa to explore the period after stars first formed in the early universe has received $5.8 million in new funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.