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Stephen Hawking: An Astonishing Triumph Over Adversity

Martin Rees looks back on a colleague’s spectacular success against all odds.Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke with great difficulty. This was Stephen Hawking. He had recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disease, and it was thought that he might not survive long enough even to finish his PhD. But he lived to the age of 76, passing away on March 14, 2018.

Why Drones Delivering Packages in Cities Won’t Take Off

The practical reality of using drones in cities remains far away and is getting ever more distant.You may have gasped with disbelief the first time you saw a photograph of a drone home-delivering a box from Amazon or cakes from a bakery or carrying a bag of chips. Until recently, this was the stuff of science fiction. Your initial reaction was probably: “Amazing … but will it ever take off?”

Truth and Beauty: The Two Faces of Science

Scientists are often steered by their sense of beauty in developing new theories. Science is truth, candor, fidelity, damage and destruction — a loud and clear call of modern civilization — more so, in today’s context, the epoch of wonders and also devastation. It bids fair to a maxim erroneously accredited to Friedrich Nietzsche, that aesthetics, in art or science, is no longer a question of “I do my thing, you do yours.” Yet, in a point of fact, integrating artistic verdict with truth, prettiness and forthrightness is, in the times we now live in, more than obligatory than ever before. Not only because the United States, or our whole world, has woken up to reality and vowed to exterminate Frankenstein’s monsters that it once created or encouraged.

Let’s Head to the Moon

The moon is a safer bet, not Mars. Well, at least for now.I still remember the night when my siblings, my father, some workers on the farm and I sat around a fire on a cold night in the middle of a jungle, and listened to a decrepit old radio. It was the late 1960s in western India and we were all very excited.