25 thoughts on “Contact

    • Firstly love the podcast:

      Episode 24: You mentioned that electrons repel electrons or partials repel each other with photons.. light.. what’s the wave length? when two magnates repel each other I don’t see light? so photons in a very short wavelength?

  1. One thing about the black hole show — you mention singularities without explaining them. People tend to think a singularity is a ‘thing’ like a white dwarf or a toaster. I think you could spend at least half a show clarifying the concept, both in astronomy and in math.

  2. I love the show. It’s humorous change of pace from all the overly sensationalized/reused clips astronomy/physics TV shows we have…I think I counted planet earth blowing up 7 times last time I watched The Universe.

    Episode idea #1: Your take on the ultimate fate of the universe, and what we can do to survive that as a species billions of years down the road (traverse into another universe, dyson sphere, etc.).

    Episode idea #2: What are other universes? What defines their/our “boundaries?” Why do they have different laws of physics? Do we ever run into them? Can they merge? Do they orbit each other? Are they in clusters like galaxies?

    (I’m curious because I had a crazy idea that the reason our universe is expanding is because the other universes are attracting and tugging our universe’s boundaries…but I’m an IT guy with a creative sci-fi mind, not a physicist)

    Episode idea #3: Other dimensions, what are they, what exists in them, how do they explain how dark matter works, how can we detect them

  3. I just discovered this podcast and want to propose marriage to it. I will stand outside its window playing Peter Gabriel on a boombox until it agrees.

  4. Nice show.
    I would like to hear something different than in other podcast. Because Black Holes, Dark Matter and Energy are quite popular among science podcasts. Maybe something from “real physics” which is interesting as well.

    • Thanks Aleksandra!
      what you say is true.
      part of the issue is that my field of expertise is General Relativity, where we study gravity.
      Black holes, Dark matter and energy are super fun topic which the media has done a lot of,
      but they’re also the low hanging fruit for me to talk about. :p
      so it’s a little bit of a coincidence that we’ve done a lot of shows on these topics.

      Please keep listening, I intend to expand the field of topics we discuss in the show over time.

  5. Sorry to take you backwards but a comment on Episode 8 (I came to your podcast late). I found the explanation of the Dirac sea somewhat hard to follow. Clearly quantum mechanics is the most difficult topic to find reasonable visual metaphors so it is understandable. A second listen (the advantage of recorded material!) really helped. But even on the second listen you don’t seem to explain why the “free” electrons in graphene behave in a way consistent with the quantum mechanics explained by the “Dirac Sea”. The analog is both interesting and clearly useful (from a technology and applications perspective) but WHY does this happen? Is it an interesting coincidence, since it seems only to happen within some strict ranges of temperatures if I heard correctly, or is there a deeper connection? Why would subatomic behaviors work similarly in “super-atomic” structure like graphene?

  6. Howdy,
    Episode 24 did not answer my biggest question about the Higgs. I keep thinking that it might be what is sometimes called dark matter,
    Is that plausible?

    • Hi.
      The Higgs boson probably is not dark matter, because it decays into other particles rather quickly.
      could the gravitation of the Higgs field itself be responsible. Maybe. I don’t know.

  7. I absolutely love your podcast! I listen to them as often as I can at work from the “Tune-in” app and often again when I get home afterwards. I often have distractions during the day and the app I use doesn’t allow pausing so it’s always worth the second listen.

    Also, your obsessive use of metaphors and analogies is very helpful in establishing a more intuitive grasp of the principles discussed. I’m completely addicted to the show. I could listen every day. Knowledge and wise implementation of science is the mother of the future of mankind and I think what you do is immensely important. Keep up the great work, guys!

      • No, thank you. Seriously, you guys are great. I listen to pretty much any science podcast I can find. I’ve been through at least a few or more episodes of 3 dozen different shows with different styles. I always come to yours first. I think it’s because of the HONEST discussion of the topics and the general format of the show.

        I love the back-and-forth format of the show. It’s brilliant to force these poor physicists to explain topics to an actual layman on the show. You get such a better explanation when you have someone that’s largely clueless asking questions of the experts. It really works.

        I know you’re not Bill Nye, but one thing I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see more are children guests like the one you had in the episode about why the sky is blue. There’s nothing more hope inspiring than an intuitive child with a great curiosity for science.

  8. Hi Ben,

    First off, great show – I’m loving it!

    Second, I just listened to episode 34 and you referred to the fate of the Earth. Somebody mentioned that eventually the sun will expand and swallow up the Earth (oh noes!). This certainly seems to be the popular answer in society, however I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere that this wouldn’t actually be our fate. I’m told that the sun is constantly losing mass as part of the nuclear fusion process, and eventually it will lose enough mass that the planets in our solar system will go flying off into the deep, dark, void of space before the sun gets to eat us.

    Which theory is right? Will we get swallowed up by the sun, or are we doomed to fly alone through the infinite universe until the end of time?

    Thanks again for the fantastic show! Feel free to have Zach and/or Kelly Weinersmith on as much as you want, as those guys are awesome!


  9. Question arising from an older podcast about relativity. In the twins paradox, the twin who travels close to the speed of light returns and finds his or her twin to have aged more. But one of you, I think it was Dr. Jocelyn, said in a different part of the podcast that if one person (A) is stationary, and another (B) zooms past at relativistic speed, not only would A see B’s clock as running more slowly, but B would likewise see A’s clock as running more slowly. Is this correct, or would B see A’s clock as running FASTER? Since relativity doesn’t privilege one frame of reference over another, Dr. Jocelyn seems correct–but then why does the stay-at-home twin age faster?

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