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?”

Eclipses: a pump of curiosity?

Even though the wiring of the human brain evolved in an exceptional way, if novelty had remained below a certain threshold, early humans may not have received a sufficient trigger to begin forming the concept of reasons. My accepted manuscript for the Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union Symposium No. 367, 2021, is available underContinue reading “Eclipses: a pump of 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”

Where did our sense of curiosity come from?

My recent article for I-M on solar eclipses and the Fermi paradox is now available online. As Daniel C Dennett, a philosopher and cognitive scientist, has observed, searching for explanations is a central feature of our species. Where does our sense of curiosity come from? As an exercise in fun speculation, I propose it couldContinue reading “Where did our sense of curiosity come from?”

The pump of curiosity

The summer 2020 issue of I-M Intelligent Magazine… … includes “an exercise in fun speculation” by me on a potential link between solar eclipses and the Fermi paradox. According to the Copernican principle, there is nothing special about the earth’s place in the universe. Except for the awkward fact that — on current evidence —Continue reading “The pump of curiosity”