Readers Respond to the April 2021 Issue

Sat, 28 Aug 2021 06:00:00 GMT
Scientific American - Science

Letters to the editor from the April 2021 issue of Scientific American

PERCOLATION INSPIRATION. It was an absolute delight to read about percolation theory in "The Math of Making Connections," by Kelsey Houston-Edwards.

I'm not a mathematician, yet I enjoy learning about theory and application.

One approach to developing a theory of quantum gravity is called loop quantum gravity.

Has percolation been applied to advancing LQG and quantum gravity?

HOUSTON-EDWARDS REPLIES: In response to Rosenblatt: In percolation theory, a "Dial" controls the local connectivity of a network.

To apply the theory to LQG, one needs to describe how and why this dial moves to the critical point.

Electrification does not have barriers that are greater than, or even equal to, a zero-carbon gas system, which faces structural limitations.

Even by the gas industry's own estimates, two decades of scaling up all low-carbon gases would displace only about 13 percent of the U.S.'s existing gas demand.

Keeping warming within the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit necessary to avoid catastrophic climate destabilization requires us to reach net-zero emissions, meaning we must leave the majority of the world's existing gas reserves unburned.

Perhaps the most important omission is that decarbonizing gas does not solve the health impacts of combustion.

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