Episode 70: Muon, Science cat, Muon

Muons are very small fundamental particles that are much heavier than they should be. their name is pronounced “mew-on” btws.

anyway, they fall apart pretty quickly, but they rain down on us from the upper

atmosphere at almost the speed of light. It’s magical, and fascinating and pretty useful. They cascade down from spaaace!

 

Our Guest this time is Sarah Gailey, the author of “River of Teeth” a story about hippos versus cowboys!!  She also wrote a ton of awesome essays about harry potter and you can also follower her on twitter.

 

Physicists:Dr.Ryan Martin and Diana Cowern (host of Physics girl youtube videos!!!)

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Episode 69: Super Hyper Fire Hose Bucket Challenge

There is a mystery.

in the center of our galaxy is an ENORMOUS black hole.
MILLIONS OF TIMES the mass of the sun.

Stars orbiting the black hole, 4 million times heavier than the sun, at the center of our galaxy

Stars orbiting the black hole, 4 million times heavier than the sun, at the center of our galaxy

so large that it throws enormous stars around like they were pebbles thrown by an elephant. not a human, human’s aren’t heavy enough. an elephant.

but that’s not the mystery.

you know, these are the most powerful things in the universe, and as gas pours into them they are capable of producing light powerful enough to outshine entire galaxies… and we’re not even quite sure how all of that business with the plasma and the gas and the magnetic fields and the spiralling in works.

and that’s a mystery, but it’s not THE mystery.

see… in order for them to reach their ENORMOUS SIZE would, as normal physics would have it, take LONGER THAN THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE. hahaha! what a wonderful thing to discover!

Today our guest is a person I’ve wanted to meet for years: The founder of the Skepchick website, Rebecca Watson. Here is her Twitter, here is her Youtube channel, and here is her Patreon page.

Physicists:Dr. Katie Mack and Hannalore Gerling-Dunsmore

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Episode 68: The Shadow of Creation

Okay, lets get the spelling over first:
“The Sunyaev–Zel’dovich Effect.

The idea is that the photons we see from the cosmic microwave

This is the Picture of Temperatures/Densities in the Cosmic Microwave Background. It was taken by the WMAP satellite!

This is the Picture of Temperatures/Densities in the Cosmic Microwave Background. It was taken by the WMAP satellite!

background will backlight everything that we can see. Most things don’t really interact with these cold photons… but some things can. The hot gasses surrounding giant clusters of galaxies.

and so, we can see the shadows of these things in the cosmic microwave background pattern!

OH MAN OH MAN!

The guest is Ted Leo, the dude who made the intro to our show!!

Physicists: Danica Marsden and Michael Zemcov

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Episode 67: A Phonon Call

Oh man! It’s season 6!

Listen. Today’s episode is bananas.

5e54e2caafb73d7ff65cb5f2e3192ca3

it’s about a type of thing called a “quasiparticle:” a phenomena that acts like a particle.
Today we’re talking about Phonons: quantized vibrations in a crystal.

that’s right. vibrations in a crystal are mathematically particles.

Absolutely bananas.

Today’s guests are Megan and Anthony Leon from Hawaii!!!

Physicists: Fiona Burnell, Darren Peets

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Welcome to the Titanium Physicists Podcast

Featured

Ben Tippett_0142My name is Dr. Ben Tippett, and I have some people I would like you to meet. Over the course of my travels, I have collected a team of the world’s smartest, most clear thinking, and well spoken physicists and astronomers.

I call them my Titanium Physicists!

Every episode, I bring together two of my physicists with some of the most fun and interesting people I have ever met, and we have a conversation about a wizard-level physics topic.  It’s fun, and fascinating, and entirely unique.

If there is a specific physics topic you are interested in learning more about, have a look through our “Topics” section. The blog below will feature our most recent episodes as they are posted.

Episode 66: Life on Mars with Zach Weinersmith

apparently it’s not unreasonable that we should expect to find signs of life on mars. It’s a totally serious and interesting field of astrophysics!Martian_face_viking_cropped

We invite Zach Weinersmith to converse with Dr. Briony Horgan and Dr. Catherine Neish, and we talk about all of the crazy things we know about mars.

listen after the end to hear a bananas conversation about mars probes!!

Physicists: Briony Horgan, Catherine Neish

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

 

Episode 65: New Ways of Looking With Elizabeth Bear

a ccd is a thing inside a camera

hey.
how does a digital camera work?
no, not all the lenses. lenses are baby things.
how do you take the light, and turn it into digital signals?

we’re talking: CCDs,CMOS cameras, MKIDs, and superconducting bolometers!

it’s a wild day on the titanium physicists podcast! we’re talking about how LIGHT SENSING INSTRUMENTS WORK!

Our guest this time is Elizabeth Bear, award winning speculative fiction author.

Physicists: Danica Marsden and Suresh Sivanandam

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Transcript: Ep_65_New_Ways_Of_Looking

 

Episode 64: E and N (The edges of Einstein)

Einstein lived here

Einstein lived here

Okay, so Consider something.
The theory of relativity is bananas. It makes all sorts of really really hard to believe claims about the nature of reality.

So why would we entertain such nonsense?

because it’s “true”? nothing’s ‘true’ in science.

We believe it because it’s SUPPORTED WITH EVIDENCE.
so in this episode, we’re going to look at some of the evidence supporting Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Our guest this time is Maya Inamura, the science and technology writer!

Physicists: Katie Mack, Leo Stein

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Transcript: Ep_64_E_and_N_The_Edges_Of_Einstein

Episode 63: Worldbuilding with Patrick McHale

Hey so.

there are planets around other stars.

We know this for a fact. we can detect them in all sorts of different ways. WE CAN EVEN SEE THEM occasionally.

it's a planet! we have IMAGED a planet around another star. it was taken by the gemini telescope in hawaii in 2008. it's name is 1RSX J160929.1-210524

it’s a planet! we have IMAGED a planet around another star in the infrared. it was taken by the gemini telescope in hawaii in 2008. it’s name is 1RSX J160929.1-210524

the crazy thing is that the other planetary systems out there don’t look very much like our own!

So, we’ve brought in an expert on worldbuilding! It’s Patrick McHale! the genius creator of over the garden wall.

Physicists: Catherine Neish, Brian Jackson

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Transcript: Ep_63_Worldbuilding

*NONEPISODE* ben’s feelings

I Just want to take a moment to celebrate this enormous achievement.

ligo detects gravitational waves, chirp, bu

ligo detects gravitational waves, chirp, ringdown

The LIGO collaboration has just announced that it has directly detected the gravitational wave signal from a pair of colliding black holes.

We have already done a ton of shows on the topic (here is a list), so i’m going to leave the technical explanations of black holes to past and future shows.

this episode is just me, reflecting on the announcement. it was a heroic effort, and a massive accomplishment. The names of the physicists involved  surely will live forever.

congratulations, everyone!

*ADDENDUM*
i just read the paper. so many many people worked so hard on it. and the paper is so well written.

it is indeed a 36 (ish) solar mass black hole colliding with a 29 (ish) solar mass black hole to make a 64 (ish) solar mass black hole. The event is being called “GW150914”. In the end, they were going too fast, and were too close together to be neutron stars.

i want to take a moment and talk about the process, because careful scientists will want to know the probability that this is a false detection.

  1. There are (were) 2 detectors online (at the time), and they both have to detect the same type of signal at about the same time to be taken seriously.
  2. They have TWO independent ways of analyzing the data, to make sure that it’s good. Their data is potentially contaminated with sound waves and vibrations from earth, so a lot of work goes into isolating the system, listening for the earth-based sound waves, and using it to eliminate potential events.
    1. One of the methods listens for things that are weird (both detected it) and loud and definitely aren’t sound waves (based on their other instruments). GW150914 was All of these.
    2. The other method analyzes the data as it comes out of the detector, “listening” for certain signals, as described by a catalogue of 250,000 different templates (theoretical waveforms generated  using numerical simulations of different possible mergers). signals aren’t taken seriously unless both LIGO sites heard the same “type” of signal. GW150914 also passed this test.

So yeah. Both tests detected the same thing, and  they are very very very very confident that what they heard was black holes merging.

The data from the LIGO paper in phys. rev. lett.

The data from the LIGO paper in phys. rev. lett.