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 

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 

*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.

 

GRAVITATIONAL WAVES

So.
before this coming thursday, ye might be interested in refreshing yourself on the topic of GRAVITATIONAL WAVES.

I should probably do an episode on them
OH WAIT I ALREADY DID!

you will need to know four things
1. how gravitational wave interferometers (LIGO) work 

2. The Laws of black hole merger. 

3. The “sound” made by two black holes about to merge together. 

4. The “sound” made by a black hole after it collides.

 

LISTEN TO TWO A DAY, and you’ll be ready for thursday.

-bn

Episode 62: Black Bells with Brent Knopf and Matt Sheehy

Take a black hole
and throw something into it.
it doesn’t matter what. A phone. A Neighbour. A Taco. Whatever.

listen when the black bell rings.

listen when the black bell rings.

As it falls in, the black hole will start to emit gravitational waves.
at a very specific tone.

like a bell.

You can tell what kind of black hole it is by the tone its ringing.

On this episode, we’re talking about Quasinormal Blackhole ‘ringdown’.

 

To aide us in our Efforts, we’ve brought in our old friends Brent Knopf (from Ramona falls, and El Vy they were on Stephen Colbert!!) Matt Sheehy (from lost lander)!!! This show is amazing.

 

Physicists: Chiara Mingarelli, Leo Stein

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Episode 61: Levitating Trains with Erika Ensign

So I was all “hey Darren what should we do a show on.”
and he was like “vortex super conductors”

this is free clip art of thomas the tank engine. it is a train.

this is free clip art of thomas the tank engine.
it is a train.  Also, it’s past my bedtime.

 

 

i think what he probably actually said was “magnetic vortices in type 2 superconductors”
but by then i wasn’t listening because those words together are awesome.

How was I to know how awesome and complicated this topic is?

but we are super brave.

our guest today is Erika Ensign from twitter , and verity, and lazy doctor who, and uncanny magazine.

Physicists: Darren Peets, Abby Shockley

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

 

 

Episode 60: Meters of Interference with Ben Acker

AWWW YEAAAHHHH

Apparently if you get enough short-sighted old folks together, and keep them talking: they can, as a group, see better than anyone.

this is an artists rendition of the ALMA interferometer array that we talk about on the show. i got it off wikipedia.

this is an artists rendition of the ALMA interferometer array that we talk about on the show. i got it off wikipedia.

It sounds crazy, but our radio telescopes use it to see very very clearly. The trick called “radio interferometry”, and it’s used to see so deep into the dark, you can’t even IMAGINE!

it’s an AWESOME episode, and our guest is one of our eras greatest podcasters! It’s Ben Acker one of the co-authors of the thrilling adventure hour, which now exists as comic books and live shows.

One of our experts this week is sabrina stierwalt, host of the everyday einstein podcast. So why doesn’t rupinder have a podcast?

Physicists: Rupinder Brar, Sabrina Stierwalt

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

 

also, just for fun, here’s a photo of Hercules A, a radiogalaxy.

A_Multi-Wavelength_View_of_Radio_Galaxy_Hercules_A

Episode 59: Strange Truth and Charming Beauty with Ryan North

THERE IS NOTHING STRONGER THAN THE STRONG FORCE!!

IT IS THE STRONGEST FORCE THERE IS!

THE STRONG FORCE

THE STRONG FORCE

it’s a force that’s so strong that its residue is what sticks positive charges together in a nucleus.

We’re talking QUARKS! we’re talking GLUONS! we’re talking STRANGE CHARGE and the EIGHTFOLD WAY and TRUTH AND BEAUTY and QUANTUM CHROMODYNAMICS.

this episode requires true power. So I’ve chosen our most powerful guest, MR RYAN NORTH! author of THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL, and Qwantz.com. this show is excellent!

 

Physicists: Tia Miceli, Ken Clark

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

 

IN OTHER NEWS, give us itunes reviews (and them email me about it) or interact with our facebook page,  before december 15 for a chance to win a signed copy of this book.

Episode 58: Extraordinary Evidence with Kathryn Cogert and Tim Dobbs

How do we know there was a big bang?

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!

i mean: how, specifically do we know?

that’s what we talk about today! EVIDENCE! OBSERVATION RUNS! SCIENCE!

Hubble, The cosmic microwave background, COBE, The Sloan Digital Sky Survey,  WMAP, Planck! we even talk about the future of observational cosmology!

Oh man, it’s so much fun! and our guests? Kathryn Cogert and Tim Dobbs of the Encyclopedia Brunch Podcast!

Physicists: Katie Mack and Michael Zemcov

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Episode 57: Two Photons Walk Into An H-Bar with Brian Cross

Okay So.

You make an lensing system which lets you COMPLETELY BATHE a single point in a TON of identical photons.

I took this photo from one of Nicole's Papers. LOOK AT ALL THIS DANG STUFF!

I took this photo from one of Nicole’s Papers. LOOK AT ALL THIS DANG STUFF!

And then? If everything works out, TWO OF THE PHOTONS GET EATEN LIKE A HUNGRY HUNGY HIPPO, and then spit out as a single photon with twice THE ENERGY. it has twice the frequency, so it’s a MUCH DIFFERENT COLOUR from everything around it.

SO CRAZY. SO AWESOME. you can use it to look at stuff inside a cell.

our guest today is a STAR FROM BROADWAY!! so fancy! If you’re in new york around now, he’s in a play called “Desire” at 59e59 theater !

Physicists: Nicole Prent, Jacqueline Townsend

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice