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COMPUTING SCIENCE

A Box of Universe

Watch the cosmos evolve in a cube one billion light-years wide

Brian Hayes

Bruno’s Legacy

Four hundred years ago, the idea that the Earth goes around the Sun rather than vice versa was not just a scientific breakthrough but also a cultural bombshell. People were asked to reimagine the world they were living in. Not everyone welcomed the opportunity. Books were burned. In the case of Giordano Bruno, an author was burned.

In the modern world, cosmological revolutions seem to cause hardly a ripple in public consciousness. Inflation, dark matter, dark energy—these ideas also call for a reimagining of the world we live in, but they have provoked very little fuss outside the community of science. It’s certainly a relief that no one will be burned at the stake over matters of cosmological doctrine. But are we really more liberal and open-minded, or just not paying attention?

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