Category archives: History

The dawn of what?

The dawn of what?

AnthropologyHistory

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

For the intellectual history of our century, one of the most important books published in 2021 will probably be David Graeber’s and David Wengrow’s The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity , a monumental description of the evolution of the first human societies and of our understanding thereof. The book is conceived as […]

How snake oil got a bad name

How snake oil got a bad name

History

By Invited Researcher

During the pandemic, the pejorative term “snake-oil salesman” has been bandied about a lot. It’s been used, perhaps with a tinge of 1980s nostalgia, to describe convicted fraudster and serial opportunist Jim Bakker, whose colloidal Silver Solution required only some deft rebranding to become a specific curative for COVID-19. For this, the televangelist found himself […]

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

GeosciencesHistory

By Invited Researcher

Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, University of Pretoria On many beaches around the Indian Ocean, keen observers may spot bits of broken pottery. Washed smooth by the ocean, these shards are in all likelihood hundreds of years old, from centres of ceramic production like the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the […]

The death of History

The death of History

History

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

Doing Ancient History is a difficult job. You may be thinking about the lot of hard work historians have to perform in order to learn just a little bit of what happened millennia ago, but I would like to invite you to consider another more fundamental obstacle in a discipline like this: the fact that […]

The road to quantum gravity (4): The flow of time for massive objects

The road to quantum gravity (4): The flow of time for massive objects

CosmologyHistoryTheoretical physics

By Daniel Fernández

We started this series discussing the basic ingredients of the Universe: events, spacetime, causality. In the last chapter , we introduced massive objects (and thus, matter), which appear as a generalization of the so-called photon box. As it moves, any object traces a path. Physicists call it worldline . We established that a massive object […]

The road to quantum gravity (3): The speed of light and the origin of mass

The road to quantum gravity (3): The speed of light and the origin of mass

CosmologyHistoryTheoretical physics

By Daniel Fernández

In the previous chapter of this series, we went over the subjective, relative separation of the network of events known as Spacetime into space and time. The speed of light played a major role in the discussion. In particular, we divided Spacetime into three regions (with respect to a particular event) defined by the existence […]

The spreading of science news, from Arthur Eddington (1919) to black holes (2019).

The spreading of science news, from Arthur Eddington (1919) to black holes (2019).

HistoryPhilosophy of science

By Invited Researcher

On April 10 th 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope project released the first image ever of a black hole. Five simultaneous press conferences, in Brussels, Taipei, Santiago de Chile, Tokyo and Washington were broadcast live, staging a global media event for astrophysics. Besides the inevitable memes in the so-called social media, more serious press outlets […]

The Road to Quantum Gravity (2):  The emergence of Space and Time

The Road to Quantum Gravity (2): The emergence of Space and Time

CosmologyHistoryTheoretical physics

By Daniel Fernández

The division of past and future In Part 1 of this series, we presented the empirical fact that under extreme circumstances, a certain observer’s past can be in another observer’s future. To explain this, we introduced the network of cause and consequence relations as the fixed background structure of reality. This network constitutes Spacetime. Causality […]