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Promoting the Planck Club: How Defiant Youth, Irreverent Researchers and Liberated Universities Can Foster Prosperity Indefinitely by Donald Braben

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9

Peter Mitchell: A High-Minded Creative and Courageous Bioenergetics Accountant

Energy generation and exchange are central to every process in the universe. Most observations are based on light from the visible part of the radiation spectrum that interacts with our eyes or instruments, but that spectrum is virtually infinite and much of it is still unexplored. Each of us is bombarded by many billions of neutrinos every second. These are the most weakly interacting particles known, so the overwhelming majority continues harmlessly on their way. The minutest fraction, however, do not; and we have little idea of the effects they might cause. Strongly interacting cosmic rays also arrive in large numbers, but the Earth's atmosphere and magnetism can be efficient shields. We can sometimes see the spectacular evidence of their effectiveness in the rippling aurorae. Some of these rays are more than ten million times as energetic as the highest we can generate on Earth, but we do not know how they are produced or from where they come. It is my current understanding that the universe should also be full of reverberating gravitational waves arising from the possible infinity of cataclysmic upheavals that have punctuated its long and turbulent history. Detection of these ghostlike waves would create perhaps the ultimate test of human ingenuity. Even with equipment capable of detecting strain sensitivities* of 10−21, so far we have not been able to identify a single wave positively.

But all ...

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