It’s the TIME of year
to pick the 100 most influential
men and women.
How does “pure science”
thinking measure up?
For that you’ll need to use the DOOR.
Time magazine (May 5/May 12–a double issue, with 4 separate covers!–2014) talked to itself and came up with its predictable favorites: Obama, Kim Jong Un, Miley Cyrus, Jason Collins, Megyn Kelly, Edward Snowden, Mary Barra, Vladimir Putin, John Kerry, Rand Paul, Robert Redford, Pope Francis, Malala Yousafzai, Binyavanga Wainaina, and a lot of significant others with eye-stopping names–many predictable characters, but some delightful surprises.
I made myself read the whole thing…and it took a while. Many of the brief bios were by friends, hagiographic¹ but nonetheless interesting. Annoying, though, were some that figured you already knew about what they were going to tell you. (And if you’re a bit TV or new-movie shy, it’s easy to be bewildered.)
Specs from Editor Nancy Gibbs: There were 41 women, they come from 6 continents, and their ages run from 16 to 78.
From the 100 comes
A big brain on the growing universe
Some 14 billion years ago, a violent burst of antigravity drove space to expand at a blistering rate that momentarily exceeded the speed of light. Or at least that’s what happened according to the so-called inflationary theory. But is the theory right?
If the results announced in March by a team headed by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics hold up, we’ll have the most convincing confirmation yet. [Sound familiar?]
Kovac’s experiment involved observations of what’s known as microwave background radiation, in search of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves, which inflationary theory predicts. Kovac and his team report detecting the ripples through an iconic swirling pattern in the microwave radiation, which may provide the smoking gun for the inflationary model.
We theorists were bowled over. If the results are confirmed, they will join a handful of breakthroughs over the past century that have profoundly shaped our understanding of how the universe began.
[Written by Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University and author of a number of books² We added the blue.]
Our congratulations to John Kovac. Watch…we predict a Nobel Prize coming his way. Few realize the magnitude of discovery in cosmic science just in the past few years…even days.
¹ “Hagiography” is a great word! Look it up.
² Brian Greene is a very readable and able science writer. We recommend him.