Galileo, by looking through a telescope, doing some drawings and thinking about what he saw, helped to undermine centuries of autocratic idiocy and woolly thinking. In doing so, he got himself locked up – but he also bridged the gap between Copernicus and Kepler, and paved the way for Isaac Newton and ultimately Albert Einstein to construct a complete description of the universe and our place within it.
—  Brian Cox, Human Universe

Today we’re treated to video proof of something the great Galileo predicted all the way back in the 16th century:

Galileo proposed that a falling body would fall with a uniform acceleration, as long as the resistance of the medium through which it was falling remained negligible, or in the limiting case of its falling through a vacuum.

Physicist Brian Cox visited NASA’s Space Power Facility in Cleveland, Ohio, where they house their Space Simulation Chamber, the world’s largest vacuum chamber, to demonstrate that any two objects dropped in a vacuum will fall at the same rate. Cox and a team of engineers used the vacuum chamger to drop a bowling ball and a bunch of feathers from the same height at the same time. Even though we all know what’s supposed to happen, actually watching happen with your own eyes is truly incredible.

The best thing about this video is the reaction it elicits from Cox and the engineers. Everyone knows how the experiment will end. Like us, they’ve been told what to expect. Like us, many of them have seen it demonstrated on a smaller scale. But something about watching a bowling ball and feathers fall from a great height, together, side by side, makes them gawk, giggle, and grin like children. I think that’s kind of wonderful.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, science is super awesome.

[via io9]

The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it. The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!
—  Brian Cox, musician, physicist, and freethinker