Archive | Physics

Ep. 45: The Important Numbers in the Universe

This week we wanted to give you a basic physics lesson. This isn’t easy physics, this is a lesson on the basic numbers of the Universe. Each of these numbers define a key aspect of our Universe. If they had different values, the Universe would be a changed place, and life here on Earth would […]




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Ep. 44: Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

If you remember way back to Episode 9, we covered Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity. Well, that’s only half of the relativity picture. The great scientist made an even more profound impact on physics with his theory of general relativity, replacing Newton with a better model for gravity. Episode 44: Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity […]




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Ep. 42: Magnetism Everywhere

You probably don’t realise it, but magnetic fields are everywhere. We’re not talking about the magnets in your speakers, your electronic equipment or on the fridge door. We’re talking about the gigantic magnetic fields that surround planets, stars, galaxies and some of the most exotic objects in the Universe.  Episode 42: Magnetism Everywhere (13.5MB) 




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Ep. 37: Gravitational Lensing

Astronomers are always trying to get their hands on bigger and more powerful telescopes. But the most powerful telescopes in the Universe are completely natural, and the size of a galaxy cluster. When you use the gravity of a galaxy as a lens, you can peer right back to the edges of the observable Universe. […]




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Ep. 36: Gamma-Ray Bursts

Gamma ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe, releasing more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will put out in its lifetime. It’s only been in the last few years that astronomers are finally starting to unravel the cataclysmic events that cause these energetic explosions. Episode 36: Gamma-Ray Bursts (14MB) […]




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Ep. 32: The Search for Neutrinos

Trillions of neutrinos are produced in our Sun through its nuclear reactions. These particles stream out at nearly the speed of light, and pass right through any matter they encounter. In fact, there are billions of them passing through your body right now. Learn how this elusive particle was first theorized and finally discovered.   […]




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Ep. 31: String Theory, Time Travel, White Holes, Warp Speed, Multiple Dimensions, and Before the Big Bang

We get questions every week about string theory and topics popularized by science fiction. Here’s the problem. There’s just no evidence. Each of these is based on wonderful and well-formed mathematical equations, or wishful thinking, but they’re very hard (if not impossible) to test in the real Universe. Episode 31: String Theory, Time Travel, White […]




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Ep. 28: What is the universe expanding into?

Come on, admit it, you’ve had this question. If the Universe is expanding from the Big Bang, what is it expanding into? What’s outside the Universe? Ask any astronomer and you’ll get an unsatisfying answer. We give you the same unsatisfying answer, but really explain it, so your unsatisfaction doesn’t haunt you any more. Episode […]




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Ep. 16: Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum

We see the Universe in visible light with our photon detecting eyes. We can feel infrared heat with our photon detecting hands, and we get sunburns with our ultraviolet photon detecting skin (ouch). But there’s a whole spectrum of photons out there, from radio waves to gamma rays that astronomers use to understand the Universe. […]




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Ep. 10: Measuring Distance in the Universe

You hear distances all the time in astronomy. This star is 10 light-years away; that galaxy is 50 million light-years away; that Big Bang over there happened 13.7 billion years ago. But how did astronomers actually figure out how far away everything is? It’s not a single measuring stick. Instead, astronomers have built up a […]




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