We could all use a little humility

As job titles go, it’s difficult to find one more formidable than Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University, so we can’t be surprised when a longtime occupant of that post finally wins the Nobel Prize.

At 84, Phillip James Edwin Peebles - Jim, to friends and colleagues - shares this year’s prize for his work that helped to explain more than ninetenths of everything that exists.

You read that right. All that humans had ever seen or sensed - from the tallest mountain and brightest star to the tiniest speck under the most powerful microscope; everything weighed, measured, mapped or compassed; the entire cloud of humanity’s common database - amounts to only about five percent of the universe.

Peebles, building on the work of others as all scientists do, transformed the way we understand the rest of it: dark energy and dark matter.

 

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