Podcast Archive

Voices of the Manhattan Project
July 16, 2014
Hundreds of thousands of people were connected to the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs. Now you can hear a few of their unique perspectives as they reflect on this hugely significant project.

42 Yoctonewtons: The Smallest Recorded Force
July 09, 2014
Physicists have recorded the smallest force yet, and they're barreling toward the theoretical limit of how sensitive measurements can be.

Dark Stars and Cosmic Cocktails
July 02, 2014
Supermassive black holes and mysterious dark matter may share a common source: dark stars.

Stuff Matters
June 25, 2014
The most seemingly mundane materials in our lives, like glass and plastics, actually contain some of the most fascinating physics and richest histories of all.

June News Roundup
June 18, 2014
An asteroid nicknamed "The Beast," Earth's most abundant material, bridgmanite, and the surprisingly strong sight of frogs' eyes roundup this month in physics news.

Trip to the Quark Zoo
June 11, 2014
With the advent of a recently discovered four-quark particle at the LHC, there may be a zoo of exotic new fundamental awaiting us in the near future.

Fresnel and the Lighthouse
June 04, 2014
Shipwrecks abounded in the early 1800's; in fact, over 100 ships wrecked in the English Channel in 1816 alone. So a physicist developed a new type of lens that dramatically increased the range of lighthouses - and the safety of sailors. This is his story.

The World's First Nuclear-Powered Civilian Ship
May 28, 2014
In the 1950's, President Dwight Eisenhower strongly promoted the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. One manifestation of this push was the NS Savannah - the first civilian nuclear-powered ship launched in 1959.

Einstein's Distant Parallelism
May 21, 2014
You may have heard of of Einstein's relativity theories, but what about his distant parallelism theory? This theory was wildly popular during his time, so why didn't it survive to present day?

Hungry Hungry Black Holes
May 14, 2014
For the first time, astronomers will soon see the black hole at the center of our galaxy devouring part of a gas cloud.

Element 117 and the Island of Stability
May 07, 2014
Scientists have recently corroborated the existence of element 117 called Ununseptium. As scientists discover new elemenets like Ununseptium, they're also closing in on an "island" of stable, heavy elements.

The Askaryan Radio Array
April 30, 2014
Buried in frozen Antarctic ice, there's a new kind of radio array larger than Manhattan searching for elusive neutrinos.

The Science of Shakespeare
April 23, 2014
Shakespeare grew up during the scientific revolution, and it may have directly influenced his works. Some even argue that his plays served as allegories for scientific debates.

Earth: The Lucky Planet?
April 10, 2014
Despite estimates that there are trillions of planets in the universe, one scientist argues that we are effectively alone.

The Science of Self
April 02, 2014
Jennifer Ouellette, author of the new book "Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self," shares how physics and neurobiology intersect over the idea of emergence.

Beating the Game of Go
March 26, 2014
Chess masters have been beaten by computers, but machines still can't beat the best Go players. Nonetheless, mathematicians are working to perfect the art and science behind this classic game.

Truth from the Skies
March 19, 2014
Learn how one non-profit uses satellite imagery to uncover potential environmental challenges and facilitate the general public direct participation in scientific research.

Phase Transitions and Bull Sperm
March 12, 2014
New research found a striking resemblance between bull sperm behavior and phase transitions found in physics, and this may lead to applications in contraception and infertility treatments.

Volcanic Cooling
March 05, 2014
Despite their fiery nature, volcanic eruptions actually cool the Earth over time and may explain a recent deceleration in global warming trends.

Virtually Invisible Cochlear Implants
February 26, 2014
Many suffering from hearing loss may soon have access to cochlear implants that are virtually invisible and wirelessly chargeable. Here's how they'll work.

Olympic Snowboard Physics
February 19, 2014
Our resident snowboarding expert James Riordon explains the physics behind one of the most exciting Olympic sports.

Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn
February 12, 2014
What is nothing? Science writer Amanda Gefter explores that question and more in her latest book: Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn.

Listening to the Stars
February 05, 2014
Astronomy data can be converted into beautiful images of galaxies, stars, and distant planets. But researchers can also turn that data into sound - allowing you to experience stars in a whole new way.

Chris Hadfield Interview
January 29, 2014
Astronaut and Youtube star Chris Hadfield shares his perspective on space, science, and sparking the public's imagination.

Women in Physics
January 22, 2014
How can a degree in physics benefit young women, and how can educators shrink the gender gap in physics? Some answers to these questions have emerged at a recent conference for women in physics.

The Mystery of Massive Star Formation
January 15, 2014
With the aid of enormous telescopes, scientists are beginning to unravel the nebulous births of stellar behemoths.

Weather Physics 101
January 08, 2014
Predicting the U.S.'s recent, extreme cold snap helped millions prepare and reminds us of the closely intertwined history of both forecasting and physics.

2013 Roundup
December 18, 2013
Mike and Calla wrap up the year with their favorite physics stories from 2013.

Apollo's Mystery Flashes
December 11, 2013
After seeing mysterious flashes of light in space, Apollo astronauts started one of NASA's strangest experiments.

IceCube Neutrinos
December 04, 2013
Billions of neutrinos pass through us every minute, but physicists recently found 28 neutrinos so special that they got their own names.

Gauss' Missing Brain
November 20, 2013
The great mathematician's brain was mislabeled 150 years ago, leading to a modern day mystery that raises questions about the nature of genius.

No Sign of Primordial Black Holes
November 13, 2013
Black holes that formed in the first few minutes after the big bang could be responsible for dark matter, but new results suggest they must also be extremely small.

Rescue Radar from Dolphin Clicks
November 06, 2013
Can dolphin sonar out-perform man-made sonar? Physicist Tim Leighton has a hunch that it can, and his pursuit of this question helped him create a new take on traditional radar technology.

Thorium Nuclear Power
October 30, 2013
Mike explores the pros and cons of a new kind of nuclear reactor: thorium molten salt reactors.

RHIC
October 23, 2013
The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland found the Higgs Boson last year, a feat that led to a Nobel Prize earlier this month. But there's still one other collider left in the U.S.: Brookhaven Lab's RHIC.

Weightlessness in Movies
October 16, 2013
Alfonso Cuaron, the director of the new movie Gravity, had to re-create weightlessness for his sci-fi thriller. So how do filmmakers simulate weightlessness, and how close is their movie magic to reality?

Life on Mars?
October 09, 2013
The Curiosity Rover has found water on Mars, but no methane in the atmosphere. What does this mean for potential life on Mars?

Does Einstein Deserve More Credit?
October 02, 2013
"God does not play dice with the Universe." This famous Einstein quote displays his staunch rejection of quantum mechanics during his lifetime. But Einstein made huge, under-appreciated contributions to quantum mechanics, even though he renounced his own work.

The Mystery of the Moving Magnetic Field
September 25, 2013
In the 18th century, navigators and scientists noticed that near the equator, the earth's magnetic field is shifting in a westerly direction. 300 years later, we may finally understand why.

Ig Nobels 2013
September 18, 2013
Water walking in reduced gravity, bovine behavior, and shrew swallowing are but a few of the quirky, funny research topics that won awards this year.

Clapping Wet Hands
September 11, 2013
Clapping wet hands together can make a fun and messy game, but it's also a physics experiment. Physicist Sunny Jung discusses how does the thin film of fluid transform into droplets, and what can physicists do with that information.

Greenland's Mega-Canyon
September 04, 2013
Scientists recently uncovered a hidden, 450-mile canyon under Greenland's ice sheet. Here's how physics helped the team discover this mammoth structure.

Bicycle Physics
August 28, 2013
Myths abound in the world of bicycle materials, so Mike has untangled what truly makes for a smooth ride. Is it the material or the design?

Physics for the Blind
August 21, 2013
After losing his sight midway through his physics career, John Gardner developed a technology to help other blind persons in the sciences; but the technology goes far beyond the blind community.

Cosmic Broadcasts
August 14, 2013
We send radio waves into the universe, but some planets also send radio waves toward Earth. Grab your speakers and listen to these creepy cosmic sounds.

Van Allen Belts
August 07, 2013
You may think space is empty, but just outside Earth's atmosphere lies an area teeming with activity.

Comic-Con 2013
July 31, 2013
Mike explores the connection between science and science fiction; he also interviews the stars of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Game of Thrones Weather
July 24, 2013
In the fictional world of Westeros, the duration and severity of the seasons are entirely unpredictable. Is there a real planet that has a similar seasonal pattern?

Mysteries of the Glass Transition
July 15, 2013
Does old cathedral glass really flow over time? Mike investigates this myth and more mysteries surrounding this peculiar material.

Man-Made Earthquakes?
July 10, 2013
Did human activity cause Oklahoma's largest earthquake on record? Scientists say it's possible. Read more on this podcast's blog post

Fibonacci in Nature
July 03, 2013
Calla investigates several surprising instances of math in nature, from rabbit breeding to plant DNA. Read more on this podcast's blog post

The Mad Scientist vs. Superman
June 26, 2013
The latest Superman movie, Man of Steel, lacks a mad scientist villain typical of the franchise. So has media portrayal of scientists changed over the past few decades? Mike investigates. Read more on this podcast's blog post

Cheetah Physics
June 19, 2013
A new study shows that while cheetahs are still the fastest land animal on Earth, it's not their speed that makes the great hunters; it's their acceleration. What's the difference? For that we turn to physics. Read more on this podcast's blog post

The Physics of Vinyl
June 12, 2013
You can make a record out of vinyl, ice, or even wood. So how do record players convert tiny grooves in a material into music and sound?

Tornado Physics
June 05, 2013
Calla investigates the physics tornadoes and how scientists aim to better predict when, where and how twisters form. Read more on this podcast's blog post

SESAME
May 29, 2013
A new particle accelerator project is bringing together enemy nations in the Middle East. Read more on this podcast's blog post

NASCAR Physics
May 22, 2013
See how NASCAR teams use physics to boost speed while keeping their drivers safe on the track. Read more on this podcast's blog post

Red Rover
May 15, 2013
Calla talks with Roger Wiens about NASA's successful and not-so-successful missions, including the recent Curiosity rover. Read more on this podcast's blog post

Listening to the Earth
May 08, 2013
Listening to various waves in the Earth can reveal the source and power of truck bombs, nuclear explosions, and natural disasters. Read more on this podcast's blog post

Super Sticky Gecko Adhesive
May 01, 2013
A material inspired by gecko toe pads might be the ideal household adhesive: it can support hundreds of pounds but peels off easily.

Dating Ancient Water
April 24, 2013
Zheng-Tian Lu and physicists at Argonne National Laboratory can determine the age of water samples from underground sources, pockets of ocean water and glaciers.

The Promise of Fusion
April 17, 2013
Physicists have promised to eventually harness the power of the sun for over fifty years, but are they any closer to their goal today?

The Scientist behind Breaking Bad
April 10, 2013
Donna Nelson is a professor of physics at the University of Oklahoma, and she's also a science adviser on the show Breaking Bad. Today we talk with Nelson about her work on the show.

Physics Sing-Along
April 03, 2013
This musical tradition hosted by physics professor Walter Smith prompts its physicist audience to belt out some of their favorite tunes - with a physics twist.

Mosh Pit Physics
March 27, 2013
Two graduate students have applied their physics coursework to a surprising area: mosh pits at metal shows.

Freeman Dyson: Heretic, Maverick, Visionary
March 20, 2013
Explore nuclear rocket propulsion, WWII bombing strategy, and searches for extraterrestrial life as Mike digs into this fascinating physicist's life.

You Tube Physics Stars
March 13, 2013
Calla goes behind the scenes of You Tube's most popular physics videos including Minute Physics and Veritasium.

Hot Hot Hot
March 07, 2013
Firewalking, Death Valley hiking, and the hottest place on Earth - a physics lab on Long Island - as experienced by author and scientist Bill Streever.

John McNeile Hunter
February 27, 2013
As Black History Month comes to a close, Mike unravels the story of pioneering physicist and educator John McNeile Hunter.

Mussel Strength
February 20, 2013
Scientists are adapting a shellfish's unique ability to latch onto wet surfaces strongly for medical adhesives and new nanoparticles.

Picasso's Mysterious Paint
February 13, 2013
An art historian and physicist recently teamed up to unravel a mystery surrounding one of Picasso's avant-garde painting methods.

The Good, the Bad, the Radiation
February 06, 2013
Authors of the new book "Radiation: What it is, what you need to know" discuss why radiation is not inherently good or bad. Like any technology, it all depends on how we use it.

Destructive Domino Effect
January 31, 2013
Did you know that with the right set-up you could knock down a building with nothing but a breath of air? Find out how on this week's podcast.

Curbing The Panic Virus
January 23, 2013
Seth Mnookin is the author of the new book The Panic Virus, which sheds light on the false allegations that vaccines cause autism. The story looks at how the physics community and broader scientific community needs to handle public relations in the 21st century, and who is to blame when a lie is perpetuated.

Magic in Science with Steve Spangler
January 16, 2013
Non-traditional science educator Steve Spangler talks about his efforts to instill a sense of wonder in his science demos and experiments.

Astro Roundup 2012
January 09, 2013
Mike and Calla recap their favorite astronomy and astrophysics stories of 2012. Two space probes from the 1970's, massive galaxy clusters, the Mars Rover, and a mohawk make the cut.

Best of Physics 2012
December 26, 2012
Mike and Calla provide a run-down of the most important physics stories in 2012. But what makes one science breakthrough more important than another?

A New Higgs World
December 19, 2012
Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll talks about his new book "The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World." We'll discuss why life as we know it would not exist without the Higgs and what it's like being a popular particle in the 21st century.

Winter Physics Roundup
December 12, 2012
Snow is falling, northern lights are glowing, and physics is everywhere this season.

Extreme Cosmos
December 05, 2012
Dr. Bryan Gaensler is the author of the book "Extreme Cosmos: A Guided Tour of the Fastest, Brightest, Hottest, Heaviest, Oldest and Most Amazing Aspects of Our Universe." Gaensler talks to us about the fastest object in the universe, and explains why astronomers don't always aim to break universal records in their research, even if the news headlines can seem a little over-eager to do just that.

Let's go ride a bike
November 28, 2012
Between 1860 and 1885, cyclists who wanted both efficiency and speed rode what we now call "penny farthings," or bicycles with front wheels as large at five feet in diameter. Why the big wheels? And why don't we have bikes like those anymore? The answer, as you might suspect, involves physics.

The Accidental Doomsday Machine
November 14, 2012
Nobel prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek says he has suffered for science. Specifically, he once spent two and a half days at a pay phone in the middle of nowhere assuring people all over the world that a science experiment on Long Island would not destroy the Earth.

Hiding in the Light
November 09, 2012
New research reveals how tiny crystals fish skin help silvery swimmers hide from predators by reflecting more light. The structures responsible for this creative camouflage could be put to use in man-made reflectors as well.

Dance your PhD
October 31, 2012
Today on the physics buzz podcast we talk with Diana Davis, winner of the Dance Your PhD contest in the physics division. Check out Davis' winning entry on our blog, then listen to Davis address misconceptions about math research, and the shape of our universe.

Alpha Centauri Bb
October 24, 2012
Scientists have located an Earth-sized planet orbiting one of the closest stars to our solar system. While the planet is too hot to support life, there may be other planets in the same system where liquid water, and possibly life, exist.

Nobel Prize: Ion Traps
October 17, 2012
This year's Physics Nobel Prize was awarded to researchers for developing ways to manipulate "very fragile quantum states." In this week's podcast, we investigate what exactly that means.

Why do Nobel Prizes Reign Supreme?
October 10, 2012
How did the Nobel Prize come to be the greatest science prize in the world? It's not an easy answer.

The Electromagnetic Universe
October 04, 2012
What if we could see beyond visible light? How would we perceive the universe? Calla takes you on a tour of the electromagnetic universe.

Ig Nobel Prizes
September 26, 2012
The physics of ponytails, the fluid dynamics of coffee cups and zombie fish are just some of the highlights from this year's annual Ig Nobel Prizes, celebrating science that makes you laugh, then makes you think.

Heisenberg in Question
September 19, 2012
Most explanations of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle say something about how we can never measure a quantum system without disrupting it. But new research suggests we can measure a system without disrupting it to the degree that Heisenberg predicted. Is this the end of the famous principle? Or do we just need to change the way we teach it?

Room Temperature Maser
September 12, 2012
A breakthrough 60 years in the making: room temperature masers! Masers can be used as sensors and measuring devices, or as part of an inter-planetary communication system. Today Calla talks with Dr. Mark Oxborrow of Great Britain's National Physical Laboratory about building a room temperature maser, and why physicists are good at sewing.

Operation Crossroads
September 05, 2012
In 1946 the United States tested its first atomic weapon after the end of World War II. Physicists wanted to better understand this new weapon they created, but it turned into a clash between science, spectacle and politics.

Crib Physics
August 30, 2012
Our physical intuition heavily influences how we experience and how we study the world around us. But when and how does this intuition develop? It turns out that is one of the first things our brains start learning when we are born. That's today on the physics buzz podcast.

Animal Compass
August 22, 2012
Fish do it; birds do it; humans do it; even bacteria do it. They all detect the Earth's magnetic field. We actually know very little about the ways that many organisms detect the Earth's magnetic field. Humans use compasses, and in some cases, other organisms may take a similar approach.

Physics in the American Century
August 15, 2012
David C Cassidy talks to Physics Buzz about his book "A Short History of Physics in the American Century," and the role physics played in making the US a world superpower in the 20th century.

Comic Con 2012
August 08, 2012
Mike sees how Physics influenced comic creators Jorge Chaim (PhD Comics) and Bill Amend (Foxtrot)

Science Advisors
July 25, 2012
Even though Hollywood films aren't known for being completely scientifically accurate all of the time, the writers of some of the biggest films and TV shows have been relying on their science advisors to make the science in science fiction all the more believable.

Who is Enrico Fermi?
July 18, 2012
Physicist Enrico Fermi has his name attached to a number of monumental physics items, like Fermilab, fermions and fermium. Who was Fermi, what did he do to earn so much notoriety and the title of "universal physicist"? We'll try to find out in today's podcast.

Higgs! Special Jumbo Edition
July 13, 2012
Last week the ATLAS and CMS experiments announced that they had, i n fact, identified a new particle, which looks a lot like the coveted Higgs Boson. Today on the podcast we'll talk to some people who were at CERN when the announcement was made, we'll tell you why the identity of this particle is still up in the air, and we'll find out what's next for the particle physicists studying the new particle.

The Twitter Method
July 11, 2012
Twitter certainly has become an ever-present part of our lives. Twitter may even be able to tell us what people are really concerned about,what issues are grabbing their attention and what topics are generating the most discussion. Physicists have devised a method to gather this information and give it meaning beyond just a tweet.

How the Hippies Saved Physics
July 04, 2012
Dr. David Kaiser, author of the book "How the Hippies Saved Physics" talks about how the culture of the 1970's influenced physics, and brought the philosophical exploration of quantum mechanics back into the mainstream.

Physics from Prometheus
June 29, 2012
The much-anticipated science fiction movie Prometheus recently opened in theaters. How much of the science presented in the movie was accurate, how much is still in our distant future, and how much was just plain wrong? We'll investigate a some of the science from the movie in this week's Physics Buzz podcast.

A Rocky Planet History
June 21, 2012
NASA's Kepler telescope reveals that planet formation might have begun earlier than previously believed.

Crumpled Paper
June 13, 2012
A single sheet of paper is easy to tear, but why, then, do crumpled balls of newspaper work as cushioning in packing boxes? Physicists are studying this unique architecture that maximizes the inherent strength of paper.

Jim Ottaviani
June 06, 2012
Jim Ottaviani writes comic books (or graphic novels) about famous scientists including Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr, and those involved in the Manhattan Project.

The Physics of Cool
May 30, 2012
Refrigerators and air conditioners are so common these days that many people never stop to wonder: how do we make things cold? Today on the physics buzz podcast we'll talk about some of the clever ways that physics keeps us cool.

Music and Fractals
May 23, 2012
Using visual imagery to describe sound can help us learn about music.

Space Shuttle
May 16, 2012
On April 23, the Space Shuttle Discovery was brought to the Smithsonians Udvar Hazy Center, its final home after 27 years of service.

NASA's Super Black Material
May 09, 2012
Light noise can make it difficult for Astronomers to see the objects they want to study. To help this, engineers have created a material that absorbs 99.8% of incoming light.

Dark Photons
May 02, 2012
There is an enormous portion of our universe that we can't see. Some scientists wonder if this so-called dark sector is bigger than we once thought. Are there any other dark forces out there?

Curling Plant Roots
April 25, 2012
Jesse Silverberg is a physicists studying the way plant roots curl. His research contributes to a larger effort to understand how plants live and grow in unusual environments, like sandy or depleted soil. With the booming global population and the rising demand for food, this kind of research could find its way to your refrigerator very soon.

Naming the Elements
April 18, 2012
Ever wonder how Argon got it's name? Calla Cofield explores how the elements came to be named some very strange names.

The Milky Way's Black Hole
April 11, 2012
Scientists have strong evidence that there is a black hole at the center of our galaxy. But to be totally sure, scientists need to image the black hole. How soon can we hope to do this? That's today on the physics buzz podcast.

Food Science
March 28, 2012
Some of the world's greatest chefs have been lecturing at Harvard to share the science of food with the world.

Soft Robots
March 21, 2012
Soft robots are robots controlled by humans but made of materials that are soft. These robots are so gentle, they can even pick up a mouse.

Snakes and Bombs
March 14, 2012
Calla and Mike pay a visit to the APS March Meeting to learn about scientists studying slithering snakes and to discuss how magnetic fields are leading to better bomb detection.

Physics of Curly Hair
March 07, 2012
Did you know that there is a lot of physics that goes into making animated hair look realistic? Today we chat with MIT graduate student Jay Miller who studies how a single hair curls. But this research goes way beyond animation; it turns out you can apply these same principles to a whole bunch of stuff, like the flagella on bacteria and very long steel pipes.

Superconductivity
February 29, 2012
You can never bring the temperature down to absolute zero, but the quest to get as close as possible to the coldest of the cold has spurred other discoveries such as superconductivity.

Butterlfly IR sensors
February 22, 2012
The Morpho Sulkowsky butterfly uses its flashy iridescent wings to attract attention, but humans could use those wings in applications ranging from homeland security to medical imaging. Researchers at the General Electric Global Research Center attached carbon nanotubes to real Morpho butterfly wings, and used the resulting structures as infrared (IR) light sensors, which have applications in medicine, science, environmental sustainability and the military, to name a few.

Sparkly and Spooky
February 15, 2012
Physicists have entangled two diamonds, some of the most ordinary objects ever entangled. Two entangled objects share a connection such that what happens to one impacts what happens to the other. There are many analogies to explain entanglement, but in today's podcast we'll venture into some of the nitty-gritty physics to explain this peculiar and potentially powerful phenomenon.

Volta Labs
February 08, 2012
In the 1880s some amazing recordings were made at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Labs. A hundred years later, particle physicists decoded them. Listen to history in the remaking.

The Year in Planets
February 01, 2012
2011 was a good year in the hunt for planets outside our solar system. The record for smallest extrasolar planet was broken...twice! Scientists found a diamond planet, a planet straight out of science fiction and orphan planets with no solar system to call home. Today we'll recap some of the highlights of the year.

Physics of the Inversion
January 18, 2012
This time of year some areas of the world, including Salt Lake City Utah, experience an inversion, where cold air gets stuck on the ground underneath a layer of warm air. But doesn't cold air sink and warm air rise? Why is this the exception and not the rule? Learn why the consequences could be dire if it was.

What's in a year?
January 11, 2012
How do you define a year? One trip around the sun? There are actually different ways to define a year, and those definitions yield different values. Listen and learn why a year can be hard to pin down.

Breathing Gas
January 04, 2012
Join Mike Lucibella as he explains the ups and downs of sound and how gasses can change everything.

How Certain is the Higgs?
December 28, 2011
This week on the podcast, we continue our discussion of uncertainty surrounding the Higgs. An announcement from CERN reported an "excess of particles" that could be a hint at the Higgs boson, the particle theorized to give matter mass. Reports on this subject state that the findings are a two sigma result, and a five sigma result would mean a definite discovery. But be warned! This is an oversimplification of the importance of sigma. Hear why, in this week's Physics Buzz podcast.

Higgs 2
December 28, 2011
This week on the podcast, we continue our discussion of uncertainty surrounding the Higgs. An announcement from CERN reported an "excess of particles" that could be a hint at the Higgs boson, the particle theorized to give matter mass. Reports on this subject state that the findings are a two sigma result, and a five sigma result would mean a definite discovery. But be warned! This is an oversimplification of the importance of sigma. Hear why, in this week's Physics Buzz podcast.

Uncertainty and the Higgs
December 21, 2011
Researchers at CERN have announced an excess of particles which might turn out to be the much coveted Higgs boson, the particle theorized to give matter mass. The researchers are excited about the finding, but also say it does not qualify as a discovery. But why all the uncertainty? Why isn't the answer a simple yes or no? Today on the Physics Buzz podcast Calla Cofield talks with Dr. Bob Cousins about the uncertainty surrounding the search for the Higgs boson.

Self Organizing Patterns
December 14, 2011
Researchers have found a way to hide secrete messages inside self-organizing patterns. Self-organizing patterns include zebra stripes, flocks of birds, and termite colonies, to name a few. These examples might seem biological, but it is physicists who study the science of self organizing patterns -- and sometimes hide top secret messages in them.

Fin Power
December 07, 2011
Over billions of years, living creatures have evolved elegant solutions to complex engineering problems that humans are just starting to figure out. Fish and whales have developed ways to swim efficiently in the ocean, which researchers are now hoping to adapt for power generating wind turbines.

Seemingly Unsolvable Mysteries
November 30, 2011
For over 40 years after superconductivity was discovered, scientists wondered if they would ever find the theory behind it. Then suddenly, this seemingly unsolvable mystery was cracked wide open. Leon N Cooper, one of the physicists who won the Nobel Prize for the theory of superconductivity gave a talk emphasizing that we not give up on seemingly unsolvable questions too quickly, and cited many other examples of "unsolvable" mysteries that physics has managed to illuminate.

Too Small to See
November 23, 2011
It's been 100 years since Ernest Rutherford and his lab associates fired helium atoms -- stripped of their electrons -- at a thin sheet of gold, and were shocked to see the atoms bounce back. Rutherford said the results were akin to a bullet bouncing off tissue paper. He realized he'd been given a clue about the structure of the atom -- an object too small to see with light -- and a glimpse into the quantum world.

Lasers Put Pricks in Past
November 16, 2011
A new laser-based technology may one day make it possible for diabetic patients to monitor their blood-sugar levels non-invasively, without drawing a drop of blood. Hear how scientists are using rather simple laser technology, and a few clever tricks, to solve this medical puzzle.

The Dark Twins
November 09, 2011
Dark matter and dark energy are both dark: literally, because they don't interact with light, and figuratively, because they remain mysterious. But we do know that dark matter and dark energy are two totally different things, despite the fact that they are often grouped together. Hear a little more about what makes these two things different, and the things they have in common.

Dust Trail to Alien Life
November 02, 2011
There's a storm of comets bombarding the inner part of the Eta Corvi solar system. What's more? The exact same thing happened to Earth not too long before life started here.

The Physics of ZOMBIES
October 26, 2011
What are your chances of surviving a zombie apocalypse? Calla Cofield explains how physics can help you stay alive.

Accelerating Universe
October 19, 2011
In 2011 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three men, for their work in discovering that the universe is accelerating as it expands. Join Calla Cofield as she sheds some light on this otherwise dark discovery.

Ig Nobel 2011
October 12, 2011
Think, then laugh. How does Wasabi function as an alarm? What does a 40 year old experiment have to do with GPS? What does a tank have to do with parking in the bike lane? Listen as Mike Lucibella and this year's winners of the Ig Nobels discuss their work, you might find yourself laughing in the name of science.

DDT: It's a bang...really
October 05, 2011
What turns a fast-moving fire into a super-sonic explosion that can punch through concrete? Physicists studying the deflagration to detonation transition, or DDT, think they may understand this dangerous phenomenon.

Faster than Light
September 28, 2011
Last week, a group of physicists announced that they had detected neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. Whether the results are accurate or not will have to wait for results from other experiments. In the mean time Calla Cofield gives a little background on just how much nature is willing to bend the "faster than light" rule.

9-11 WTC
September 14, 2011
10 years after the towers fell the reflecting pools are about to open to commemorate this tragic event. Join Calla Cofield as she reflects on the physics of the falling towers and lessons for future presidents.

Earthquake
September 07, 2011
The Physics Central team recently got some first-hand experience with the physics of earthquakes.

The SSC
August 31, 2011
The Superconducting Supercollider was going to be the biggest, most powerful particle accelerator in the world. After major budget overruns and delays, Congress pulled the plug and all that's left today are a bunch of derelict buildings south of Dallas Texas. Where did things go wrong?

Ettore Majorana
August 24, 2011
In 1938, physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a boat for Naples and was never heard from again. Did one of the great geniuses of modern physics choose to end his own life? Or did he have a reason for vanishing? In this edition of the podcast we'll explore a little bit of Ettore's life, his contributions to physics, and his unsolved exit.

Juno to Jupiter
August 19, 2011
The Juno spacecraft lifted off on August 5, 2011 and is now on a five year journey to Jupiter, our solar system's largest planet. From orbit around Jupiter, Juno will gather information that could tell us how our solar system formed.

Coffee Ring Physics
August 11, 2011
Coffee Ring Physics

Summer of Science
August 10, 2011
Science writer Lizzie Wade and photographer Nick Russell drove 15,000 miles visiting physics labs across the country during their Summer of Science.

Living Laser
August 03, 2011
Scientists have created the first "living laser," using a human cell. Calla Cofield explains the basic physics behind traditional lasers, and how the living laser uses the same principles.

Comic-Con
July 29, 2011
From a Richard Feynman comic book to cosmic dung, physics and Comic-Con intersect in some unusual places.

Independence Day
July 20, 2011
Physics is part of America's history. In fact, one of its Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, is also one of America's most well known physicists. Find out if Franklin really did fly a kite in a lightning storm and what turkeys have to do with scientific progress, this week on the Physics Buzz Podcast.

Magnetic Pulse
July 13, 2011
New research by physicists at the University of Philadelphia shows that magnets can reduce the viscosity, or the thickness, of blood. High viscosity can cause heart attack and stroke, so the new results suggest that magnets could one day contribute to treating high blood viscosity.

BigBOSS
July 01, 2011
David Schlegel of Berkeley National Laboratories is leading a team that's making the biggest, most detailed three dimensional map of the known universe. BOSS and its successor BigBOSS will be able to peer back in time to when the universe was young, and dark energy was just starting to appear on the scene.

Quantum Man
June 29, 2011
Richard Feynman is one of the most dynamic and ebullient larger-than-life characters in modern physics. Mike Lucibella sat down with physicist and author Lawrence Krauss to talk about his new biography Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science.

Alligator Faraday Waves
June 22, 2011
Alligators flirt with physics

A Supernova Close to Home
June 15, 2011
Did a supernova recently go off close to our solar system? If it did, how would we know?

Big Bang Theory
June 08, 2011
Hear Bill Prady, writer and producer of 'The Big Bang Theory' speak on using the sitcom platform to get the public excited about science, and respond to criticisms of the popular television show.

Accelerators
June 03, 2011
When one hears the words "particle accelerators," it conjures up the image of giant atom smashers, but really those are the ones that capture the imagination of the press. Mike takes a look at some of the other particle accelerators and how they can be as vital to research as a test tube or a microscope.

Coolest Brown Dwarf
June 01, 2011
Scientists think they may have found the lowest temperature brown dwarf ever detected. What's so cool about that?

Neutrinos for Peace
May 25, 2011
Neutrino scientists are helping to prevent nuclear proliferation.

APS April Meeting
May 18, 2011
Calla and Mike team up to discuss the APS Physics Meeting. Join Calla and Mike as they search for planets, discuss the Higgs Boson and how this research reflects on current science issues.

Magnetic Plants
May 11, 2011
Are plants magnetic? Scientists at the University of Berkeley have recently tried to find out.

IceCUBE
May 06, 2011
At the bottom of the world in the frozen Antarctic ice fields Physicists, like Spencer Klein of Berkeley Lab, are looking for evidence of one of the most exotic fundamental particles in the Universe, the Neutrino.

Carbon Nanotubes
April 27, 2011
Scientists are using carbon nanotubes to detect cancer cells in the bloodstream. The nanotube device is about the size of a dime and could provide a low cost and portable way to test for cancer.

Rodeo Physics
April 20, 2011
Inventor and former rodeo rider Stephen Wharton uses physics to measure the power of bucking bulls.

Solar Storms Part 2
April 13, 2011
What a solar storm looks like from Earth's perspective and what precautions we can take to prevent loss of satellites and power grids? Find out in part two of our podcast on solar weather. For More Information: Space Weather Alerts from NOAA: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/index.html Space Weather Event Categorization: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/ NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/ NASA's STEREO solar observatory: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/main/index.html

Science Comedian
April 08, 2011
Join Mike Lucibella as he interviews Science Comedian, Brian Malow.

Solar Storms Pt. 1
April 06, 2011
Join Calla Cofield as she learns about solar weather and the impact it has on our lives.

Carnivorous Bladderwort
March 23, 2011

The carnivorous bladderwort is the fastest carnivorous plant known to man. It achieves this awesome title with the power of physics.

Gamma Ray Vision
March 16, 2011
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope lets us look at the universe in gamma ray vision: the highest energy, shortest wavelength form of light there is. But what we see in the gamma ray sky presents some big questions. Calla Cofield talks with Keith Bechtol, a researcher with the FGST Collaboration.

The Sound of Stars
March 09, 2011
Mike Lucibella interviews William Chaplin, a researcher at the University of Birmingham who uses asteroseismology, the music of the stars, to study stars' resonance.

AAAS Advances Science
March 02, 2011

From the 177th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mike and Calla report on physics in unexpected places.

Finding Habitable Planets
February 23, 2011
NASA's Kepler mission, launched in March of 2009 to search for extrasolar planets, has found a system with five Earth‑like planets in the habitable zone, where liquid water may exist. Now, Kepler needs your help in the hunt for other planets.

Magnetic Sponge
February 09, 2011
Engineers at Duke and Harvard Universities are working on a new technology that could eventually administer medical drugs to patients via a very small sponge that squishes up under the force of a magnetic field.

The Cat Lap
February 03, 2011
After watching his own cat lapping up its breakfast one morning, MIT Engineer Roman Stocker wanted to know just how the cat moved liquid from the bowl to its mouth. The answer is unexpected, and it involves some interesting physics.

International Year of Chemistry
January 26, 2011
It's the start of the International Year of Chemistry, and it's always good to start with the basics. What is chemistry, and how does it relate to physics?

Black Hole Hunter
January 19, 2011
Join Andrea Ghez in her search for black holes and what kind of mysteries these invisible celestial beings.

Glowing Snail Shells
January 12, 2011
These shells glow! Learn what makes these snails glow and why they glow in this podcast.

Tycho Brahe
January 05, 2011
What killed Tycho Brahe, the Father of Modern Astronomy? Calla Colfield explores the man and the mystery of his death.

How Fast Can Santa Travel?
December 15, 2010
How fast would Santa have to move to be able to deliver all those presents in one night? He may not be traveling fast at all, but rather very slowly.

Iridescent Glass
December 08, 2010
Most of the colors we see everyday arise from chemicals like dyes. Unlike these colors, iridescence arises from structure. Iridescent objects change color depending on the angle that light hits the object. Scientists have been able to create this iridescent structure in glass.

Exotic Particles
December 01, 2010
"Particles going through my body, cosmic rays! That sounds unbelievable; what are these particles flying through the air and how can go they go right through me?" Podcaster, Mike Lucibella asks this and many other questions to try make the unbelievable believable.

Neutron Star
November 17, 2010
Scientists at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) have measured the most massive neutron star ever recorded.

The Granular Gripper Gizmo
November 10, 2010
Soft robots? You heard right. Scientists at the University of Chicago demonstrate a new example of soft robotics, with their "bean bag gripper." Based on the physics of granular materials, this robotic gripper picks up delicate and oddly shaped objects by gently molding to them, then locking in place.

USA Celebrates Science
November 03, 2010
Mike Lucibella takes us on a journey through the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall.

Ig Nobel 2010
October 21, 2010
"Sometimes science needs to laugh at itself and that's where the Ig Nobel Prize comes in." Mike Lucibella takes us there in this weeks installment of the Physics Central Podcast.

Graphene
October 20, 2010
Researchers at the University of Maryland College Park, announced a new record for the fastest spinning object, graphene.

Colliding Planets part 2
October 13, 2010
Mike Lucibella interviews Mark Kuchner about the discovery of a dust cloud around a binary star system, possible evidence of colliding planets.

Colliding Planets part 1
October 06, 2010
In today's podcast, PhysicsBuzz talks to Marc Kuchner from NASA Goddard about planets orbiting around binary stars. Kuchner and his colleagues recently reported their findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope, which showed that planets around binary stars can have a rough life. They discovered a ring of diffuse dust and believe it may be all that's left of an unfortunate planet that was too close to its dying star.

When Black Holes Collide
February 26, 2010
We sat down with the physicist Joan Centrella to talk about how black holes collide.

Poking around a physics meeting
August 24, 2009
A physics meeting can be an intimidating adventure with Nobel laureates and sophisticated talks. Calla and Nadia poke around an APS Meeting in Denver, CO and talk with some students about their experiences at the conference.

Maxwell's Demon is back
June 19, 2009
Researchers are tricking atoms and fooling entropy with lasers. Although their experiments don't actually violate the laws of thermodynamics, they have applications to quantum computing and gravity mapping.

Dr. Chris Monroe on Quantum Superposition
May 19, 2009
The Physics Buzz team takes a trip over to the University of Maryland to visit Dr. Chris Monroe, the leading quantum teleportation physicist. Dr. Monroe uses the strange phenomenon of quantum entanglement, which Einstein called "spooky action at a distance" to instantaneously transport information between two atoms. In this podcast, we get to the heart of this matter and try to understand the curious concept of quantum superposition.

New Years Resolutions Part 3
January 23, 2009
In this podcast we describe some of the major experiments and concepts that physicists hope to resolve this year. This is part 3 of 3.

New Years Physics Resolutions Part 2
January 23, 2009
In this podcast we describe some of the major experiments and concepts that physicists hope to resolve this year. This is part 2 of 3.

New Years Physics Resolutions Part 1
January 23, 2009
In this podcast we describe some of the major experiments and concepts that physicists hope to resolve this year. This is part 1 of 3.

Where the Sun Meets the River
November 27, 2008
Scientists have observed a correlation between solar activity and river flow.

Reconnecting Lightning
October 16, 2008
Bolts of lightning often resemble the forked, branches of trees. However, researchers have figured out the conditions that allow for spark branches to reconnect, overcoming the electrostatic repulsion that usually causes them to separate.

Whale Flipper Bumps
October 02, 2008
Why are humpback whales more agile in the water than other whales? Scientists discovered that the bumps on humpback flippers decrease water turbulence. This allows the humpback whales to tilt their flippers up and achieve greater lift over other whales and hence gives more maneuverability.

Amoeba Reasoning
September 18, 2008
Scientists discovered that some single celled organisms can learn to adapt to their environment. This is an astonishing discovery since single cell organisms don't have a brain. Previously, scientists thought that the learning process required many brain cells working together.

Back Flip Limit
September 04, 2008
Scientists have calculated that 4 back flips is the upper limit for a dare devil motorcyclist. The energy required for the height and rotation of 4 back flips is the maximum amount of energy that the motorcycle can produce.

Diamond Bug
August 21, 2008
A certain bug has a material on its back that reflects light similar to crystal structure of diamonds.

Waves & Bubbles
June 18, 2007
Hear about ocean waves, bubbles, sound, and global warming.

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