(Cross-posted from the IdeaFestival web log). Addressing an audience familiar with basketball, Princeton Astrophysicist and Kentucky native, J. Richard Gott, gets right to the point. How much time might be on the clock?
He explains the Copernican Principle, derived from the discovery by Nicolaus Copernicus that our solar system is heliocentric rather than Earth-centered. The essential idea is that there is nothing special about this human time in history or this physical vantage point.
And as if what Copernicus discovered wasn't enough, the ordinariness of our place in the universe has been spectacularly confirmed by the discovery and distribution of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which has proved the Copernican principle on the largest of scales.