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Ep. 381: Hollowing Asteroids in Science and Fiction

When we finally make the jump to fully colonizing the Solar System, we're going to want to use asteroids as stepping stones. We can use them as way stations, research facilities, even as spacecraft to further explore the Solar System. Today we'll talk about the science and science fiction of hollowing out asteroids.

Episode Two: Breaking Bad Habits

This is Episode Two of PsychCrunch, the new podcast from the British Psychological Society's Research Digest. In this episode we speak to psycholgy researchers in the field of habit change to see if their findings can provide real-life tips for people hoping to break bad habits or form new healthy ones. Show More Summary

Ep. 380: The Limits of Optics

Astronomers rely on the optics of their instruments, and there are some basic limits that you just can’t avoid. Whatever we look at is distorted by the optics, in fact, a basic property of light means that we’ll never get perfect optics. Here’s why we can’t “magnify and enhance” forever.

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.

9 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion When You Have Depression

When you’re struggling with depression, the last thing you want to do is be self-compassionate. But this is precisely what can help. Self-compassion is “the capacity to find the wisdom and dignity in one’s experience (particularly suffering), and to respond to it in an appropriately […]

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.

Ep. 377: Thomson finds Electron

At the end of the 19th century, physicists were finally beginning to understand the nature of matter itself, including the discovery of electrons – tiny particles of negative charge that surround the nucleus. Here’s how J.J. Thompson separated the electrons from their atoms and uncovered their nature.

Ep. 376: The Miller-Urey Experiment

Evolution explains how life adapts and evolves over eons. But how did life originate? Chemists Miller and Urey put the raw chemicals of life into a solution, applied an electric charge, and created amino acids – the building blocks of life.

Ep. 375: The Search For Life in the Solar System

With the discovery of water ice in so many locations in the Solar System, scientists are hopeful in the search for life on other worlds. Guest Morgan Rehnberg returns to Astronomy Cast to explain the best places we should be looking for life.

Hegel on Physiognomy and Phrenology

For those of you who actually read Hegel’s Phenomenology in its entirety, it will not come as news that there is a chapter on physiognomy & phrenology, but if you are like me and never made it that far on your first try, discovering his unique approach to criticizing these pseudosciences for the first time … Continue reading Hegel on Physiognomy and Phrenology ?

Ep. 374: Stern-Gerlach Experiment

In the world of quantum mechanics, particles behave in discreet ways. One breakthrough experiment was the Stern-Gerlach Experiment, performed in 1922. They passed silver atoms through a magnetic field and watched how the spin of the atoms caused the particles to deflect in a very specific way.

Cognitive lives scientific

The BBC Radio 4 series The Life Scientific has recently profiled three, count’em, three, cognitive scientists. Because the BBC find the internet confusing I’m just going to link straight to the mp3s to save you scrabbling about on their site. The most recent profile you can grab as an mp3 was artificial intelligence and open […]

Ep. 373: Becquerel Experiment (Radiation)

Antoine Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity completely by accident when he exposed a chunk of uranium to a photographic plate. This opened up a whole new field of research to uncover the source of the mysterious energy.

Ep. 219: Planck Mission

Another mission named after a famous physicist. This time we're looking at the Planck mission, designed to study the Cosmic Microwave Backgorund Radiation over the entire sky. Like the previous WMAP mission, this will help astronomers understand the first moments after the Big Bang.

Ep. 218: Max Planck

It's time for another action-packed double episode, where we meet a man and his mission. This time around its German physicist Max Planck, considered to be the father of quantum theory - he was later granted a Nobel Prize for just that discovery. Let's take a trip back just over 100 years to learn about the man who changed our understanding of the very small.

Ep. 216: Archaeoastronomy

The Sun, Moon, stars and planets are visible to the unaided eye, and so they have been visible to astronomers since before recorded history. Some of the earliest records we do have tell us what the ancient astronomers thought about the heavens, and how they used the changing night sky in their daily lives.

Episode 213: Supermassive Black Holes

It's now believed that there's a supermassive black hole lurking at the heart of every galaxy in the Universe. These monstrous black holes can contain hundreds of millions of times the mass of our own Sun, with event horizons better than the Solar System. Show More Summary

Episode 212: GPS Navigation

Last week we talked about the old way navigators used to find their way around the planet; by looking at objects in the sky, and doing some tricky math. The new navigation system, of course, is the Global Positioning System, and it helps you find your spot on the planet with amazing accuracy. Let's see where the system came from, and how it works.

Episode 208: Spitzer Space Telescope

Last week we talked about Lyman Spitzer, and this week we’ll take a look at the orbiting observatory that bears his name: the Spitzer Space Telescope. Designed to see into the infrared spectrum, Spitzer has returned images of objects that were previously hidden to astronomers by thick shrouds of gas and dust.

Episode 205: Fusion

When the Universe formed after the Big Bang, all we had was hydrogen. But through the process of fusion, these hydrogen atoms were crushed into heavier and heavier elements. Fusion gives us warmth and light from the Sun, destruction with fusion bombs, and might be a source of inexpensive energy. We'll also look into the controversy of cold fusion.

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