Written by IainB

Thursday, 19 July 2012

image for Cosmologists answer science's biggest question: What colour is space?
Space is black. The things within it can be any colour you like with a splash of paint.

Space, according to Douglas Adams at least, is big. Very big. But what does Douglas Adams know? Cosmologists already know it's so much bigger than that. What they didn't know was what colour space was.

They know it smells of fish and tastes of roast beef, but up until this week, they did not know what colour it was.

"The thing about space," said Professor Brian Cox, "is that it is full of nothing. Otherwise, it wouldn't be space. Space is where you can put things, like planets and smarmy TV presenters. It's where things are, not a thing in itself."

This nature of space has meant that many scientists have long maintained that asking what colour space is constitutes a waste of funding that could be used for a new coffee machine in the late night observatory. Not Professor Garibaldi Biskett.

"What Gari has done is truly amazing," said Cox, drawing out amazing into the following day. "He's used the way that space itself affects the light within it to calculate the exact frequency of light. Obviously it must affect light, or the light from a billion trillion suns would make the night as bright as day. And the answer was very surprising. It caught me by surprise, that's for sure."

According to Biskett, space is black.

"Nobody has been able to disprove his maths," said Cox. "This is partly down to most people being busy looking for planets and stuff, and the rest not being good enough at maths. I am now of the opinion that he is right. Space is the absence of anything, and black is the absence of colour. The two are synchronous. It's a beautiful piece of work."

For his work in identifying the colour of space, Biskett has won the BBC Horizon Dumbed Down Science Prize, and has bought the late night observatory a new coffee machine.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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