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.

 

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 

Transcript: Ep_62_Black_Bells

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 

Transcript: Ep_61_Levitating_Trains

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 

Transcript: Ep_60_Meters_Of_Interference

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

A_Multi-Wavelength_View_of_Radio_Galaxy_Hercules_A