LassenNPS’ photo of the Milky Way over Lassen Peak.
LassenNPS’ photo of the Milky Way over Lassen Peak.

Cosmic Queries – Summer School

The Milky Way over Lassen Peak. Credit: LassenNPS.
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LassenNPS’ photo of the Milky Way over Lassen Peak.

About This Episode

So, you’ve got to go to summer school? Well, don’t worry, because your favorite astrophysicist just happens to be the teacher. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Matt Kirshen, and astrophysicist Charles Liu, PhD, answer your fan-submitted questions on your favorite science subjects.  

You’ll learn if mathematics was an invention, a discovery, or a little bit of both. We dive into the Big Bang. Are there any credible theories other than the Big Bang that can explain what happened? Neil tells us why scientists prefer answers to be clear, but sometimes you have to play the hand you’re dealt. We consider if the mystery of the universe will ever be solved. 

Find out why we’re not expanding with the universe even though we are a part of it. Ponder how the Earth is falling into the Sun…but not really. Join us as we go back to the basics and discuss the laws of physics. Discover why physics textbooks are always smaller in volume than accounting books. You’ll also learn more about neutrinos and the Homestake experiment. 

Of course Pluto comes into the conversation when a fan asks if, ignoring the issue of extreme cold, a settlement could survive on the surface of Pluto. We discuss the idea behind the center of the Milky Way smelling like raspberries. Get a lesson in relativity as Charles puts time dilation into easy terms we can understand. We also explore whether time has a purpose if the universe is infinite. Lastly, you’ll learn how everyday science students can turn into extraordinary science teachers. All that, plus, Neil and Charles emphasize the inseparable relationship between science and art. 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries – Summer School.

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