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Physical Attraction

A weekly Science, Natural Sciences and Education podcast
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Episodes of Physical Attraction

"Give me a tanker full of iron, and I'll give you a new Ice Age." It might sound like something Hank Scorpio would say, but this episode will deal with the very real idea of stimulating plankton blooms to remove CO2 from the atmosphere - ocean
How could grinding up rocks and sprinkling the dust over vast areas help to combat climate change? In this episode, we deal with "enhanced weathering" as a potential source of negative emissions.
Mention carbon capture, and the refrain you'll often hear is "why invent a machine that captures CO2? We already have one - it's called a tree." But is large-scale afforestation as a negative emissions solution so simple? We dig into its potent
N/B: Owing to a ridiculously hectic schedule until the end of the year, episodes will continue to be released on a fortnightly basis until further notice - thanks for understanding.  We hear an awful lot about carbon capture, utilisation, and
In this episode, we get into some of the specific technologies that might be called upon to deliver negative emissions at scale. Specifically, we're looking at the advantages, disadvantages, and concerns surrounding BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon
In this episode, we discuss whether the promises that some new technology - like negative emissions - will come along and "solve climate change" for us are genuine, or if they have instead shaped climate policy into prevarication and procrastin
Increasing levels of negative emissions are envisioned by models in climate-change scenarios that are compatible with the Paris Agreements. In this episode, we talk about some of the geopolitical implications for trying to deliver this, and the
Negative emissions technologies (NETs), also called carbon dioxide removal (CDR), are seen by many as an increasingly essential part of climate change mitigation. Many of the scenarios that the IPCC suggests for meeting the Paris Agreement goal
The book club returns, with a two-part review and overview of anthropologist Jason Hickel's book "The Divide", about global inequality, its historical origins, and possible solutions in the future.
The book club returns, with a two-part review and overview of anthropologist Jason Hickel's book "The Divide", about global inequality, its historical origins, and possible solutions in the future.
In this episode, we discuss the ongoing battle throughout the 1930s and 1940s between those who believed in a steady-state Universe, and those who thought it was expanding - and how it took more observations to overcome these cosmological contr
To close out this series of news episodes, we discuss the depressing failure of carbon capture and storage projects in Australia, as well as the far-too-slow approach to climate change adaptation across the world.
In this episode of Thermonuclear Takes, we tackle a couple of recent climate-related news stories - the "tipping point" carbon flux measurements from the Amazon rainforest, and the IEA's progress report on a global green recovery.
Updates on the Softbank Vision Fund and the sad fate of Pepper the robot.
In this news episode, I discuss recent anomalies around the muon - B-particles decaying into muons, and the muon's anomalous magnetic moment - and whether they herald the glorious dawn of a new era of physics, or are just a mistake.
In this news-y episode, I will give you some updates on how the show is progressing, share some listener emails on our cosmology series, and set up next episode's discussion of some recent results in high-energy physics.
In this episode, we cover the different kinds of universal horizon, whether the Universe has an edge, and talk about how theoretical physicists pondered how it all might've began.
At the dawn of theoretical cosmology, Einstein introduced the so-called "Cosmological Constant" into his equations to explain how the Universe could be static and unchanging in time. He would later say that it was his greatest mistake.
In this episode, we look at how Einstein's theory of general relativity gave rise to a theoretical framework for examining cosmology - the evolution of space, time, and the Universe in general - as a whole.
In 1929, Edwin Hubble published his findings. The redshifts from distant galaxies were proportional to their distance away from us. Theoretical cosmologists would pounce on them as evidence that the Universe must be expanding.
Everything we have been able to infer about the Universe began in total ignorance. Many early theories about how the Universe was structured were wildly incorrect - but astronomers were building up the toolkits that would later allow us to unde
When you're trying to narrate the history of the entire Universe, where do you begin? I decided to start in a radio studio in London in March 1949, when the term "Big Bang" was first coined, in the first on our series on cosmology. 
Arguments surrounding climate change have become subtler. Outright denial is gradually shifting to rhetoric that supports delaying urgent action. In this review of a paper by Steinberger, Lamb et al, I run down the new "discourses of climate de
As the climate change debate has advanced, the arguments surrounding it have become more subtle. Outright denial of the climate problem is rare - so rhetoric has shifted to delaying urgent action. In this review of a paper by Steinberger, Lamb
Why should we listen to scientists? Well, because they're right a lot of the time. But also because - ideally - the institutions of science embody values that everyone can agree are good in a system for working out what's true.
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