Reviews for The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe

A "lucid history of early Renaissance science" — The National Post

"...a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of the astronomical knowledge of the era" — The Chronicle-Herald

"Falk takes the reader on an eventful tour through science in the early modern era...It’s an enjoyable read, and will appeal to non-specialists, but nonetheless is based on a comprehensive engagement with the pertinent academic scholarship. The work is well-informed, enthusiastic, and recommended to anyone seeking a new take on the oft-studied Bard." — Chemistry World

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The Tommy dilemma: What are the limits of personhood?

Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2014

A group called the Nonhuman Rights Project is lobbying for “personhood” for chimpanzees and other high-functioning animals – but what are the philosophical implications? My report for The Philosopher’s Zone on Australia’s ABC radio network.

Shakespeare and the Stars

Posted on Saturday, December 6, 2014

Did one of Shakespeare's final plays allude to the astronomical work of Galileo? I examine the question of Shakespeare and the stars in a report for the Australian radio program, The Science Show.

Should Chimpanzees be Considered "Persons"?

Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014

A court in New York has ruled that Tommy, a chimpanzee, doesn't qualify as a legal "person" -- but as I report for Discover magazine's blog, the legal wrangling, and the larger philosophical questions that swirl around human-animal relations, are sure to continue.

 

"Spider" Probes the Early Universe

Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This winter, a balloon-borne probe called "Spider" will study the early universe. It may even find evidence for the gravitational waves that eluded BICEP2 earlier this year. I report on the new experiment for Scientific American.

Eden Mills Writers' Festival

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014

I'll be speaking at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival this weekend; my session will be on Sunday afternoon as part of a non-fiction panel (see the festival's full schedule). And I have more talks coming up this fall in Burlington, Mississauga, and Toronto; see my events page for more information. (Be sure to catch my presentation at Nerd Nite on Oct. 2!)

"Mind and Machine" wins Silver at the New York Festivals

Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm pleased to announce that my two-part Ideas documentary from 2013, Mind and Machine, has won a Silver Award from the New York Festivals. This is the third time that one of my Ideas documentaries has been recognized by the Festivals ("In the Beginning" won a Gold in 2004, and "Living on Oxford Time" won a Silver in 2009).

Kid vs. Computer: Can you spot the bot?

Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Eugene Goostman," a chatbot designed to act like a 13-year-old boy, was recently said to have passed the Turing test. In this segment on Day 6, on CBC Radio One, I chat about chatbots and A.I. with host Brent Bambury, while listeners try to distinguish Eugene from two real 13-year-old boys.

A closer look at the Turing test

Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It was widely reported last weekend that a "chatbot" had passed the famous Turing test for the first time. As I explain in an article for Smithsonian.com, the real story is more complicated. AI is making progress in many areas, but conversation skills remain elusive.

The National Post reviews The Science of Shakespeare

Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2014

Philip Marchand has reviewed The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright's Universe for the National Post, calling the book a "lucid history of early Renaissance science."

The Science of Shakespeare: a short video

Posted on Monday, May 19, 2014

I've made a short video about The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright's Universe, focusing on changing conceptions of the cosmos during the playwright's lifetime.

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