April 11, 2019 8:09 pm

Friday, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice Explore the Physics All Around Us

“[Physics] is actually the understanding of your own experiences.” Chuck Nice pretty much summed up our newest episode when he said this. Physics is everywhere, at work all around us, all the time. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck answer your fan-submitted questions about the physics of life.

Offnfopt’s Simple Periodic Table of the Elements, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

In the first segment, Neil gets a question about the periodic table of elements that sends him into a classic “Neil” answer, spanning multiple scientific disciplines with a little hint of poetic language along the way. You’ll learn about the asymmetry of nature and why that translates to the periodic table. We explore the beauty that comes from asymmetry. You’ll also discover more about Maxwell’s equations.

Moving on, we ask, what might intelligent aliens admire about humans if they visited Earth? Would they admire anything at all? Would they just kill us? Laugh at us? (If they laugh). We also discuss the Big Bang and ponder how close a black hole would be in order for the solar system to fall into it. Side note – if you haven’t seen the news, you’re missing out on the first real life picture of a black hole ever.

You’ll hear about the positives and negatives of earning a physics degree and a mathematics degree, and Neil shares which one he thinks can take you farther. Investigate why there haven’t been a greater number of advancements in solar energy. Ponder the slow progress of battery development. Find out what causes thunder. Lastly, you’ll learn about the use of the word “theory” and why, when a hypothesis elevates to theory level, it does not change, it only expands in understanding. All that, plus, Neil explains why he wants people to stop using the word “theory” when they should be saying “hypothesis.”

Please join us tomorrow night for Cosmic Queries – Physics All Around Us at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
-Ian Mullen