Archive | Forces


Ep. 312: The Inverse-Square Law and Other Strangeness

Why don’t we have insects the size of horses? Why do bubbles form spheres? Why does it take so much energy to broadcast to every star? Let’s take a look at some non-linear mathematical relationships and see how they impact your day-to-day life. (more…)

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Ep. 270: Inertia

An object at rest tends to stay at rest. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Isaac Newton dismantled the traditional idea that objects would tend to slow down over time, and described the concept of inertia: the amount an object will resist changes in its motion.

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Ep. 165: Doppler Effect

You know how a police siren changes sound when it passes by you? That’s the doppler effect. It works for sound waves and it works for light waves. Astronomers use the doppler effect to study the motion of objects across the Universe, from nearby extrasolar planets to the expansion of distant galaxies. Doppler shift is […]

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Ep. 106: The Search for the Theory of Everything

At the earliest moments of the Universe, there were no separate forces, energy or matter. It was all just the same stuff. And then the different forces froze out, differentiating into electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. Today we’ll look at the problem that has puzzled physicists for generations: is there a single […]

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Ep. 105: The Strong and Weak Nuclear Forces

After a quick Dragon*Con break, we’re back to our tour through the fundamental forces of the Universe. We’ve covered gravity and electromagnetism, and now we’re moving onto the strong and weak nuclear forces. We didn’t think they’d really need to be separate episodes, so we’re putting them together. And then we’ll cap the whole series […]

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Ep 102: Gravity

You seem to like a nice series, so here’s a new one we’ve been thinking about. Over the course of the next 4 weeks, we’re going to cover each of the basic forces in the Universe. And this week, we’re going to start with gravity; the force you’re most familiar with. Gravity happens when masses […]

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Ep. 76: Lagrange Points

Gravity is always pulling you down, but there are places in the solar system where gravity balances out. These are called Lagrange points and space agencies use them as stable places to put spacecraft. Nature is on to them and has already been using them for billions of years. (more…)

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Ep. 73: Questions Show #8

We’ve been so crazy following our own whims through the universe that we’ve neglected your questions. That ends today. It’s time to dig deep into our overflowing email box to retrieve the puzzling questions our listeners have sent in. Episode 73: Questions Show #8 (16.8MB)

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Ep. 48: Tidal Forces Across the Universe

Last week we talked about tidal forces within our solar system. This week we’re going to expand our view and encompass the entire universe. Some of the most dramatic events originate from tidal forces caused by gravity: other worlds, galaxies, black holes and even entire clusters of galaxies are under this influence.  Episode 48: Tidal […]

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