Archive | Physics

Ep. 440: Destroy and Rebuild, Pt. 4: Supervolcanoes!

There are regular volcanoes, and then there are the supervolcanoes. Massive calderas of hot magma of incomprehensible size. Bad news, these things explode randomly and catastrophically. Worse news, there are a bunch around the Earth. We usually record Astronomy Cast every Friday at 1:30 pm Pacific / 4:30 pm Eastern / 8:30 PM UTC (20:30 […]

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Ep. 439: Destroy and Rebuild, Pt. 3: How Do We Terraform Earth?

We always want to talk about how we can make Mars more Earth like, but the reality is that we’re making Earth more Venus-Like. We’re Venusforming Earth. What are the various factors we’re impacting on a global scale, and how can we fix them? We usually record Astronomy Cast every Friday at 1:30 pm Pacific […]

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Ep. 438: Destroy and Rebuild, Pt. 2: Geoengineering

We know humans are having an impact on planet Earth, but what if we really put our backs into it, and intentionally tried to change the entire planet? Either to make it better, or to fix some terrible mistake we’ve made. The technique is called geoengineering. Could it work? We usually record Astronomy Cast every […]

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Ep. 437: Destroy and Rebuild, Pt. 1: The Torino Scale

We love to destroy the universe, and also rebuild it. Today we begin a new series where we destroy and rebuild. Let’s talk about some existential threats we face, and ways we could recover, starting with the sword of Damocles hanging over our head: killer asteroids! We usually record Astronomy Cast every Friday at 1:30 […]

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Ep. 435: The Butterfly Effect

Small changes can have a big impact. But can a butterfly’s wingbeat in the Amazon really impact the weather halfway across the world? And where do small changes have no impact? We usually record Astronomy Cast every Friday at 1:30 pm Pacific / 4:30 pm Eastern / 8:30 PM UTC (20:30 GMT). You can watch […]

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Ep. 421: Space Games!

As you probably know, Fraser is an avid video gamer, especially if it has anything to do with space. Today we turn things around, as Fraser talks about the games he plays, and what he thinks you should be playing too. We usually record Astronomy Cast every Friday at 1:30 pm Pacific / 4:30 pm […]

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Caffeine atom with 3D electron orbitals. Image credit: Ivan S. Ufimtsev, Stanford University

Ep. 395 – Baryons and Beyond the Standard Model

In the last few episodes, we’ve been talking about the standard model of physics, explaining what everything is made up of. But the reality is that we probably don’t know a fraction of how everything is put together. This week we’re going to talk about baryons, the particles made up of quarks. The most famous […]

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Large Hadron Collider

Ep. 394: The Standard Model – Bosons

All fundamental particles are either fermions or bosons. Last week we talked about quarks, which are fermions. This week we’ll talk about bosons, including the famous Higgs boson, recently confirmed by the Large Hadron Collider. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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Ep. 393 – The Standard Model, Leptons & Quarks

Physicists are getting a handle on the structure of the Universe, how everything is made of something else. Molecules are made of atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, etc. Even smaller than that are the quarks and the leptons, which seem to be the basic building blocks of all matter. Download the […]

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Ep. 392: The Standard Model – Intro

Humans, cars and planets are made of molecules. And molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. What are they made of? This is the standard model of particle physics, which explains how everything is put together and the forces that mediate all those particles. Download the show [MP3] | […]

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