What Jupiter and Saturn did next

This month has been something of an afterparty for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at the end of last year. The two giant planets are still fairly close together, and easy to find. On 2 August Saturn was at opposition, which means it was directly opposite the Sun in the sky, and shiningContinue reading “What Jupiter and Saturn did next”

Did solar eclipses help kick-start human curiosity?

Astronomy magazine has published an article I wrote about the pump of curiosity. For fun, we can ask two questions. First, are the kind of solar eclipses we experience on Earth rare within the universe? Second, have solar eclipses had any impact on the development of nature? In a forthcoming paper in Proceedings of theContinue reading “Did solar eclipses help kick-start human curiosity?”

Extending the Rare Earth hypothesis

I’ll be presenting “Solar eclipses: A pump of curiosity for early humans?” at the International Astronomical Union Symposium 367 next month. The symposium was originally scheduled to take place in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, close to the path of totality for the 14 December solar eclipse. However, covid-19 restrictions mean it will now beContinue reading “Extending the Rare Earth hypothesis”

On awareness and understanding of different cultures

Image: Takobou/Wikimedia Commons The dynamic Keisuke Tabata, of Kobe Shinwa Women’s University, will be talking about our recent Japan-Indonesia-China-Vietnam project at the annual convention of the Japan Association for Educational Media Study in November. The convention is being held at Kagoshima University on the island of Kyushu. Our project involved an online movie read-through withContinue reading “On awareness and understanding of different cultures”

A brief history of cross-border scientific teamwork

This is a 3-minute version of a 1-hour presentation I did at the Association for Science Education Annual Conference earlier this month (University of Reading, UK). The brilliant Galileo was the father of modern science. But he wasn’t exactly the father of cross-border scientific teamwork. He refused to lend a telescope to Johannes Kepler, theContinue reading “A brief history of cross-border scientific teamwork”