In the previous issue of SciMy Magazine, Sylvia shared her experiences in exploring alternative careers whilst working as a postdoctoral researcher. In this article, she delves into her genuine opinions on postdoctoral training in the US.
On February 15, 2013, a 17 meter-long meteor exploded in the air above Chelyabinsk, Russia, releasing energy equivalent to the detonation of approximately 30 Hiroshima bombs, and injured over a thousand people. According to NASA, it was the largest meteor impact in about 100 years. The following day, the asteroid DA14, measuring three times as large, zipped past the earth at a hair’s breadth of 17,100 miles. Had it collided with the Earth, it would have no doubt triggered an even more cataclysmic aftermath. The unexpectedness of the Russian meteor and the temporal proximity of both events have captured the imagination of the public regarding apocalyptic large impacts. But just how often do large impacts occur and how greatly do they pose as existential threats to life on earth?
In Mapping Mars, Oliver Morton tells the story of what happens with these reams of data sent back by the few dozen missions to Mars over the past half-century, from the low-resolution Mariner images until Mars Global Surveyor of the early 2000s (when this book was published). This contains two parallel histories: the history of humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet, and models of how Mars’s own history could have created what we see today.
The concepts of invisibility, teleportation, faster-than-light travel, and the book title itself are the topics highlighted in Slow Light by Sidney Perkowitz, a professor emeritus of physics at Emory University. We are always amazed when we see these phenomena in action as depicted in sci-fi or fantasy movies, especially the famed Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak or Star Trek’s warp drive. Ever wonder how close science and technology are to achieve these “magic”? If you have, then this is the book to whet your curiosity palate.
It might not be wise to compress a three-hour epic into a mere two-page review when the film consists of six distinct yet interwoven stories spanning across different centuries (from 1849 to 2321), with diverse elements comprising of sci-fi, comedy, romance, action, thriller, and ultimately philosophy. Despite its vast ambitions, Cloud Atlas could be, ironically, one of the most overlooked films of 2012.