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Author Archive: "Jack Nisbet"

David Douglas and Deep Time

When we were growing up, my brother and I devoured all kinds of science fiction. One moment we were waiting at the comic book store for the new pulp installment of the "slow glass" series; the next we spent trying to break down the radioactive process behind a B movie that allowed giant ants to wreak havoc on board a ship at sea. Even as those ants led me circuitously to a focus on natural history, I never lost interest in the kind of playful stellar and particle physics that inspired the classic genre offerings we loved.

As an adult, still without any technical basis at all, I continued to track whatever new wrinkle in physics entered the popular sphere. Like many people, I was able to hang with most of them right up to the appearance of string theory, whose tangled math and murky infinite outcomes dampened my ability to see it as fun. But that was before the work of David Douglas presented me, right in the midst of my home landscape, with its own endlessly variable possibilities.

Anyone who delves into the natural history of North ...

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