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

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.


quick note

sorry i haven’t updated lately. i have been super busy at work and i’m currently on vacation at my parents house which has very very slow internet. remember how crackly that episode on quantum computers with comicbookgirl19? that was recorded here. SLOOWWW INTERNET= BAD QUALITY.

instead i’m going to take the month to do the type of organizing that i don’t have much energy for: booking guests for the next few months and updating the website.

in the meantime, go look at a sunset.
now you know how that works, right?

Question Barn 8


a brand new fun question!

sorry i’ve had trouble publishing lately. super busy and had trouble getting everywhere in the same place.

but question barn!





hey, i just received a correspondence from Nirav Mehta, who commented:


I just listened to question barn 8, and thought I’d add my 2 cents here… First, let me say that you an Ken were completely correct to be suspicious of your conclusions in that episode.  It was not very satisfying for good reason, and your intuition was steering you in the right direction.

It all has to do with the fact that the mass of the pi-meson is much lower than the mass of the Higgs. The (neutral) pi-meson has a mass of about 135 MeV, while the Higgs weighs in at a whopping 125 GeV.  When you consider the fact that a nucleon is about 1 GeV, it begins to make sense.  The pi-meson is responsible for the long-range attractive nature of the nucleon-nucleon interaction, and other heavier mesons such as the rho (mass 770 MeV) could play a role in the short-range repulsion.

The Higgs is nearly as massive as a Tellurium atom, and its range should be about 3 orders of magnitude shorter than the range of the pion if we think of it in the Yukawa sense as resulting in a exp(-m*r)/r kind of force.

I am still very interested in Ramiro’s question, as I know very little about the Higgs.  From your conversation, I see no reason why the Higgs can not be the force carrier for some “force”, at lest in the modern sense that forces are a result of some broken symmetry in the Lagrangian.  I liked your discussion about how the Higgs particle is a real, honest-to-goodness excitation of the Higgs field, like the photon is an excitation of the EM field, and that the Higgs observed at the LHC was not a virtual particle, how could it be?!

The Titanium Physicists Podcast

The Visuals are Better in Audio. 



we were taken by this quote.

QUestion Barn 7



Me and Amanda Bauer Answer a question from dave!

“First of all I really enjoy the podcast!  And for a while I’ve been wanting to send in this question and think it would be perfect for the new segment.  My question is:  What direction would one look to see the big bang? Now, I understand that we are in an ever expanding universe and technically the big bang is in all directions but I guess I’m having a hard time mentally grasping the concept. I’ve heard the balloon analogy but I just can’t understand that if I was expanding on an inflating balloon I would still be able to look to the center of said balloon, right?!. Conversely, would it be possible to look away from the big bang and into the space our universe is expanding into?

I hope this hasn’t already been covered but if it has would it be possible to go more in depth with an explanation of the expansion itself. Thanks for such an awesome podcast!


In other news, Amanda has a wikipedia page.  someone should add a thing about the titanium physicists to it. *cough*

Question Barn 6

Hey tiphyters.questionbarn

i’ve been sitting on this one like an egg, and probably shoulda published it a couple weeks ago.

Katie Mack Is Back.

Doctor Katie Mack. 

the question we answer is from bob

Hello again Ben. I’ve found and listened to the QB episodes. Thanks for the help with locating them.

Since you seem to have ready access to a cosmologist, I’d like to offer for QB a trio of related cosmological questions that have bugged me for some time.

1. How do we know that all the matter in the universe came from the big bang?

2. How do we know that the big bang did not expand into an existing precursor universe? (It seems plausible to me that this may be the case but we have no way to know because the hyperinflation immediately after the big bang and accelerating expansion due to dark energy will permanently keep us outside of the light cone of any event in this hypothetical precursor universe. I’m not fond of unfalsifiable theories…)”


cool, cool.

Question Barn 5

me and Geoffrey Lovelace talk about interstellar until we run out of time.

Question Barn 4

Me and Ken clark answer Questies.

Question Barn 3

Me and Mike Zemcov answer questies

Question Barn 2

Me and Ken Clark Answer questies.