Faculty in the News In the News

March 8, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Hicks in Dispatch | ‘Microlensing’ Technique Might Reveal Planets in Other Galaxies

Dr. Kenneth Hicks, portrait

Dr. Kenneth Hicks

Dr. Kenneth Hicks, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, wrote an article on “Astronomy: ‘Microlensing’ technique might reveal planets in other galaxies” in the Feb. 28 Columbus Dispatch.

We know that planets orbit stars in our own galaxy, but what about in other galaxies? It seems reasonable that other galaxies should be similar to our own Milky Way, but how can we be sure?

The mediocrity principle, from the field of philosophy, states that an object sampled at random from a larger set is most likely to come from the most common category. For example, in a set of 100 balls, with 98 of them green and two red, a ball chosen at random is likely to be green. Of course, it’s still possible you could draw a red one.

This principle has been used to argue that Earth, our sun and our solar system are not special. If life evolved here on Earth, then the mediocrity principle suggests there is life on planets orbiting other stars.

The problem with the principle of mediocrity is that it’s not always correct….

Read the entire article in the Columbus Dispatch.


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