Big Picture Science – Invisible Worlds

by Gary Niederhoff on April 27, 2015

Big Picture Science – Invisible Worlds

You can’t see it, but it’s there, whether an atom, a gravity wave, or the bottom of the ocean … but we have technology that allows us to detect what eludes our sight. When we do, whole worlds open up.

Without telescopes, asteroids become visible only three seconds before they slam into the Earth. Find out how we track them long before that happens. Also, could pulsars help us detect the gravity waves that Einstein’s theory predicts?

Plus, why string theory and parallel universes may remain just interesting ideas … the story of Marie Tharp, the woman who mapped the ocean floor … and why the disappearance of honeybees may change what you eat.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: David Morrison / Near Earth Asteroids
Part 2: May Berenbaum / Disappearing Bees
Part 3: Scott Ransom / Gravity Waves
Part 4: Lee Smolin / Physics’ Crises
Part 5: Hali Felt / Marie Tharp

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Steve Bergman February 25, 2016 at 11:21 am

Smolin is so ever-annoying. At 33:12 he moans “…and the right way to put them together is Loop Quantum Gravity.”, despite the facts that LQG is completely done on blackboards, and that after decades of theoretical work, has utterly failed to produce a testable hypothesis. (But remember, it’s the right theory!) and whimpers that his is analogous to the situation that scientists pre-Einstein were in with regards to the existence of atoms.

Then at 34:40 the topic changes to String Theory (which Smolin hates because it gets more funding than his pet model) and he abruptly switches gears, whinging about how String Theory hasn’t produced any testable hypotheses, characterizing that as a real problem.

Now, Smolin and his whiny ways would annoy me even if he were just griping about the weather. But when he goes off on these wailing tirades I just fast forward over his drivel.

The guy clearly needs to take a public speaking course and get his story together regarding what science is.

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