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Successfully predicting the future requires theoretical science

21 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC
Successfully predicting the future requires theoretical science
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Zw II 96 in the constellation of Delphinus, the Dolphin, is an example of a galaxy merger located some 500 million light-years away. Star formation, the population of newly-created stars, the supernova rate and the final state of the elliptical galaxy destined to form are all predictable thanks to the theoretical framework we’ve scientifically established. Image credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University).It isn’t just a theory; it’s the best way we have to make sense of everything that exists.“The physicist is like someone who’s watching people playing chess and, after watching a few games, he may have worked out what the moves in the game are. But understanding the rules is just a trivial preliminary on the long route from being a novice to being a grand master. So even if we understand all the laws of physics, then exploring their consequences in the everyday world where complex structures can exist is a far more daunting task, and that’s an inexhaustible one I’m sure.” -Martin ReesIn 1993, the Hubble Space Telescope had just been serviced, repaired, and upgraded, and was finally taking the incredible images it was designed ...

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