Particle Party Backstage Group Shot
Particle Party Backstage Group Shot

StarTalk Live: The Particle Party (Part 2)

Photo credit: Leslie Mullen

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About This Episode

StarTalk Live’s celebration of the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 11, 2012 continues as CERN physicist Kyle Cranmer clues us in to what’s next in the investigation of the Higgs, now that it turns out it isn’t exactly what they thought it would be. Plus a lively Q&A session with the audience that includes Bill Nye the Science Guy bragging about the spacecraft he’s building and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson waxing poetic about why photons are beautiful. You’ll also learn what Super Symmetry is, and why it may hold the key to understanding Dark Matter. And of course, comic co-host Eugene Mirman and the other Particle Partiers, Scott Adsit and Sara Vowell, do their parts to keep the conversation as lively as a charged particle in the Large Hadron Collider.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk Live: The Particle Party (Part 2).


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  • trueartgirl

    One of the best!!!! I love my weekly (sometimes daily) dose of you guys ^_^ makes me feel a little smarter each time. Thank you so much!

    • Tyler C

      Totally agree with artgirl below me! I love listening to Neil and the comedy is a plus too in my opinion. Learning while laughing, I honestly remember more of what I hear. Thank you guys for all your hard work!

  • Angela Perry

    This is my new favorite thing! I really appreciate that this group of smart people can actually discuss science in a way that is both understandable and engaging. I never felt like any of the guests took pleasure in knowing more than their colleagues OR listeners, but instead everyone really just seemed focused on making the information accessible and enjoyable. I am in love with that photo, by the way. Truly made this nerd’s day!

  • Wonderful podcast. Great guests! Thank you.

  • Steve Black

    I’m glad to see you guys made it through the storm. I love listening to your show while I’m at work.

  • Dionel A. Caban

    i really enjoy that they simplify and have fun while explaining things that are very complicated. i do not have any degree in physics but i have always loved it. it’s hard to explain how i love something that i haven’t studied but every time i read an article about physics, astronomy, chemistry, or anything related i get an indescribable feeling, thats why i love listening to them. 🙂

    • Drew Mcdowell

      “Today, Particles- Tomorrow, Eugene!” I think that WOULD make an awesome slogan.

  • geekynwihoosier

    Boom!!!!!!!15:20 Mind blown!!!!!!!! Pangaea everyone keep going. Pangaea=super epic. Epoch=Most epic Epoch rarely happens.

  • Alec

    Is Neil saying that a bicycle is irreducibly complex?!?!

  • Please allow me to share with you all my “Ode to the Higgs”

    The Higgs boson is my name
    which to you might sound insane
    I came to put order in some mess
    as I give every particle its mass
    I’ve been hidin’ for billions of years
    but now I am in every mouth and ears
    My potential looks like a Mexican hat
    and on it now you know where I’m at
    They made me come out in a cave
    and they’re really kind of brave
    LHC is the machine at CERN
    which did so well since on was turned

    It does not end with me getting to fame
    Coz we’ve only started playing the game
    You won’t wait long for some more fun
    Coz in reality it’s only just begun
    It took 50 years for an idea to test
    Now for sure we can’t just rest
    So much stuff we don’t know yet
    We could call Hawking and make a bet
    Most of the Universe is still obscure
    We need imagination of the most pure
    Our ignorance amounts to a grand 96%
    So we hope for some strange particle event
    To shed some light on the dark sector
    We rely on some smart physics doctor

    If all this doesn’t ring you any bell
    There’s one more thing I’d like to tell
    A weird connection called spinoff
    that we should really not break off
    What we discover due to curiosity
    Turns out to benefit all humanity
    Get then ready for some insanity
    There’s something called hadron-therapy
    That can cure people’s cancers
    With best precision and least dangers
    This is just one meaningful example
    Of a pattern that is quite more ample

    We explore Nature to understand
    What is the picture the most grand
    In trying to know of every piece its place
    we get something you can’t quite replace
    To discover a particle called Higgs Boson
    We opened wide a brand new horizon
    In conclusion that’s the story
    Of why I deserve so much glory
    So the moral of the story is
    Don’t forget what my name is

    [rhymes conceived by Umberto Cannella]

  • Sarah seems highly amused.

  • Why aren’t these being filmed? I like the audio, but we could totally film these things, and they would ROCK that much more! Please start filming these things. Thanks.

  • Heisenberg

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed the show very much. Keep up the good work everybody! As for the discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN, I’m convinced that it was just a demo of LHC’s capabilities. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a great scientific achievement – it took us 50 years to find the goddamn particle – but we must remember that the European accelerator doesn’t even operate at full speed yet. More particle and number crunching is still ahead of us…

  • Eva Caye

    BEST SHOW EVER!!!!! I will probably listen to this daily until I have it memorized word-for-word!

  • js

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is Part-Particle & Part-Party Machine.

  • John A.

    It’s very ignorant in my opinion of this Cramer guy to say that without the Higgs, the universe wouldn’t be “right” because when Neil brought up the bicycle analogy, stating that the universe would be messed up without any one of those particles, that instantly debunked the Higgs being “the particle”.

    • Jeff

      John, I get what you’re saying, that the universe needs all of its components to be “right.” I think what Professor Cranmer was saying was that until they’d found the Higgs, it was the last remaining piece needed to make it right.

  • Deep P

    I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to this podcast, its just brilliant and amazing 🙂 You guys rock!!!

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