Archive | Physics

Ep. 421: Space Games!

This show will air on Monday, 9/24/2016, at 3 pm EDT/ 12 pm PDT – it was rescheduled due to travel delays for Pamela. Join us then! 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 […]

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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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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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Ep. 391: Entropy

Have you ever been doing thermodynamics in a closed system and noticed that there’s a finite number of ways that things can be arranged, and they tend towards disorder? Of course you have, we all have. That’s entropy. And here in our Universe, entropy is on the rise. Let’s learn about entropy in its specific, […]

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Ep. 383: Approaches to Absolute Zero

The coldest possible theoretical temperature is Absolute Zero, this is the point at which no further energy can be extracted from a system. How are physicists working to get as close as possible to this extreme cold? Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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Ep. 382: Degenerate Matter

In some of the most extreme objects in the Universe, white dwarfs and neutron stars, matter gets strange, transforming into a material that physicists call “degenerate matter”. Let’s learn what it is, how it forms. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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Ep. 379: Fermi’s Atom Splitting

When he wasn’t puzzling the mystery of alien civilizations, Enrico Fermi was splitting atoms. He realized that when atoms were split, the neutrons released could go on and split other atoms, creating a chain reaction – and the most powerful weapons ever devised. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript […]

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Ep. 378: Rutherford and Atoms

Physicists knew the interior of the atom contained protons, neutrons and electrons, but they didn’t understand exactly how they were organized. It took Ernest Rutherford to uncover our modern understanding. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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