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Will SpaceX Be On Its Way to Mars by 2018? Maybe. But That’s Not the Point.

In May of 2016, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX would be sending a Dragon capsule on its way to Mars by the end of 2018. That’s pretty ambitious. After all, 2018 is soon. But is it too soon? I wrote an article about Musk’s plan to go to Mars, and I still think SpaceX can do it. Show More Summary

Ep. 407: Galactic Cannibalism

Remember when we told you that the Universe is a big place, and anything that can go wrong, inevitably does? Today we talk about what happens when galaxies come together. This is particularly pertinent because our Milky Way will collide with Andromeda in the future!

Ep. 406: Stellar Cannibalism

Most of the time stars hang around for billions of years. But the Universe is a big place, and anything that can go wrong, inevitably does. Today we talk about what happens when these stars come together. The outcome is violent, and fortunately for you, also interesting.

Ep. 405: Method Not Found

Last week we talked about knowledge, what we do and don’t know. This week we talk about questions which are impossible to ask, where the answers don’t actually exist.

Ep. 404: The Difference Between: Can’t Know, Don’t Know, and Just Awaiting Better Tech

There the things we know, the things we don’t know, and the things we can’t know. How do we know which one is when when we’re deciding to fund research and direct our scientific inquiry.

Ep. 403: Funding Big Science: from Alma to LIGO to TMT

How much of a challenge is it to get funding for large projects like LIGO? Fraser and Pamela discuss the difficult issues finding “Big Money.”

Ep. 402: Gravity Eyes: See The Invisible With The Force

What kinds of things can we see using gravity, that we may not otherwise be able to see? Pamela will fill us in on the Great Attractor, etc!

Ep. 401: Future Predictions

What do Pamela and Fraser think will happen or be discovered in 2016? What would they like to see in the near future?

Ep. 400: The State of the Universe

It’s time for us to go back and catch up with all of the projects, news stories, weird star systems, and other topics that need updating!

On the Radio Yet Again, on Nightlife

Last night (Wednesday 27 January), I was on ABC Nightlife talking with Rod Quinn about the safety of plastics and bisphenol A in the light of the latest Australian Total Diet Study.For those of you who missed my radio performance last...Show More Summary

Ep. 399: Women in Science

Science is typically a male dominated profession, mostly dudes, not a lot of ladies. From researchers to professors, to law makers, woman have a tough time gaining traction in such a heavily gendered field. Today we’re going to talkShow More Summary

Ep. 398: Seeing Things: Emitting, Reflecting, Ionizing Light

Astronomers gather electromagnetic radiation with the telescopes: mostly visible light. But sometimes they've got to be clever about where they look for these elusive photons. Light can get emitted, absorbed, reflected, and each method tells astronomers a little more about what they're looking at.

Ep. 397: A Universe From Nothing

One of the biggest, most basic questions you can ask is: “why is there something and not nothing?” The reality is that we don’t know the answer, we might never know the answer. Today we’ll investigate this mystery, recently covered by the physicist Lawrence Krauss in his book of the same name.

Ep. 396: Family Astronomy for the Holidays

Every year, it’s the same dilemma: what gift should you get for the super space nerd in the family? And if someone has a budding interest in space and astronomy, what can you do to feed their hunger for knowledge? Today we’ll talk telescopes, books and planispheres. Everything you need to avoid a holiday gift disaster.

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. Show More Summary

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.

Ep. 393: The Standard Model, Leptons and 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.

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.

Ep. 391: Entrophy

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. Show More Summary

Ep. 390: Occam’s Razor and the Problem with Probabilities

I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens. Actually, it’s almost certainly not aliens, or a wormhole, or a multiverse. When scientists discover something unusual, they make guesses about what’s happening. But Occam’s Razor encourages us to consider the probabilities of different events before making any concrete predictions.

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