Posts in physical science
Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon capture and storage (also called carbon capture, carbon sequestration, or CCS) is the process of physically capturing carbon dioxide from flue emissions—the “tailpipes” of fossil-fuel plants—and storing it underground so it never reaches the atmosphere. Heralded by some as a win-win—CCS allows for the continued use of relatively cheap and abundant fossil fuels while mitigating the atmospheric impact of by-product carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. But others vigorously debate the long-term utility of this approach, arguing that it is technically impractical or that it could prolong society’s unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels.

Read More
Gravitational Waves

In February 2016, astronomers announced the first-ever direct detection of gravitational waves, a phenomenon originally predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago in his theory of general relativity and sought after by physicists and astronomers for nearly 50 years. The discovery not only confirmed a prediction of general relativity but also opened an entirely new window to understanding the universe: the ability to explore the cosmos relying not just on light, but on gravity itself. 

Read More
physical scienceBecky Hazen
Geoengineering

Talk of using “geoengineering” to reduce the risks of climate change is real—and could grow in volume as climate extremes become increasingly disruptive. A set of scientific papers released in November 2017 offered some of the most sophisticated estimates yet of how injections of aerosolized sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere might mitigate some consequences of climate change, while another paper published a few weeks later pointed to potentially problematic weather disruptions that could occur under certain geoengineering scenarios. 

Read More