What Would Happen If All The Earth's Microbes Suddenly Disappeared?

It's generally agreed that life on this planet would not be possible if it weren't for microbes. In a fascinating thought experiment, a pair of biologists scrutinized this assumption to find out. As their paper makes clear, a microbe-free world would be a strange place, indeed. » 12/17/14 9:40am 12/17/14 9:40am

Did Wigner's Friend kill Schrödinger's Cat?

Most of us have heard of the famous Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment. As it turns out, there's a variant, and it involves an irresponsible friend, a possibly dead cat, and an even weirder configuration of quantum mechanics. » 12/30/13 12:20pm 12/30/13 12:20pm

9 Philosophical Thought Experiments That Will Keep You Up at Night

Sometimes, the best way to illustrate a complicated philosophical concept is by framing it as a story or situation. Here are nine such thought experiments with downright disturbing implications. » 9/18/13 10:00am 9/18/13 10:00am

If you had it to do all over again... could you even manage to?

It's become a cliché to say, "If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing." Or, "I'd do the same thing again." But could you actually do that in real life? If you rewound your life to your 16th birthday, would it even be possible to duplicate your past actions? » 8/23/13 11:11am 8/23/13 11:11am

Galileo's Ship was one of the oldest relativity thought experiments

We think it's obvious that the Earth goes around the sun, today, but back before Copernicus, detractors had the most obvious argument possible against heliocentrism. To combat this, in his argument in favor of a sun-centered universe, Galileo came up with a thought experiment about relativity now known as Galileo's… » 5/03/13 4:30pm 5/03/13 4:30pm

Newtonian physicists do it with five bodies

That is, until Einstein comes along and ruins it. Check out this thought experiment that shows how, under Newtonian physics, five bodies can complete a task an infinite number of times in a finite amount of time.
» 6/06/11 7:00am 6/06/11 7:00am

Physicists Prove That Vampires Could Not Exist

Two physicists have published an academic paper where they demonstrate, by virtue of geometric progression, that vampires could not exist, since they would almost immediately deplete their entire food supply (a.k.a, all of us). » 5/05/09 12:17pm 5/05/09 12:17pm

What Do You Look For In Science Fiction?

Science fiction is really a jumble sale of about twenty different genres. We use the term "science fiction" to label a whole range of material, from space opera to near-future dystopias. But what really matters is what you get out of reading or watching it. What do you look for in your science fiction? Click through… » 2/29/08 12:00pm 2/29/08 12:00pm