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The Science of Everything Podcast

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The Science of Everything podcast examines the scientific evidence for and explanations of a wide variety of phenomena from the natural and social sciences.

The Science of Everything podcast examines the scientific evidence for and explanations of a wide variety of phenomena from the natural and social sciences.
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The Science of Everything podcast examines the scientific evidence for and explanations of a wide variety of phenomena from the natural and social sciences.




Episode 98: Electromagnetic Radiation

An overview of the nature and properties of electromagnetic radiation, including a discussion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the nature of photons, the speed of light, near and far field radiation, and technological applications of electromagnetic radiation in AM and FM radiation and microwave ovens. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 61: Magnetism and Episode 57: Electric Current and Circuits.


Episode 97: Plant Structure and Function

An overview of the basic morphology and physiology of plants, including a discussion of the main types of plants, stems, roots, leaves, plant transport, meristems, plant nutrition, and plant sensory systems.


Special Episode - Jared Bauer on Science and Philosophy in Movies

In this special episode I am joined by Jared Bauer, cofounder of Wisecrack, to discuss science and philosophy in movies and popular culture. We cover a range of topics including how science is portrayed in movies, how the film medium leads to science and history being presented in particular ways, and how movies and popular culture can be used as a vehicle for promoting scientific and philosophical inquiry.


Episode 96: How Computers Work Part VI - High Level Programming and Software

In the final episode of our series on computers, I give an introduction to high-level programming languages, how they relate to assembly language and machine code, and how the compiler converts high level programs into a form that can be executed by the processor. I then outline some of the key components to high-level programming, such as data structures, control structures, and algorithms, before sketching an example implementation of a simple game. I conclude with an integrative summary...


Episode 95: How Computers Work Part V - Assembly Language and the Operating System

In this the fifth episode of the series 'how computers work', I begin with a summary of some of the major methods of improving the performance of the central processing unit, including pipelining, cache memory, branch prediction, and parallel processing. Following a brief introduction to assembly langague and its relationship to the machine code, I then discuss the operating system and how it interfaces with the hardware to manage program memory, system calls, input/output, and processes.


Episode 94: How Computers Work Part IV - Processor Architecture and Machine Code

In this fourth part in our series on computers, I begin with an overview of the von Neumann architecture used in most modern computers. This leads in a discussion of the structure and operation of the central processing unit, covering the instruction register, the program counter, main memory, the data and address buses, the ALU, and the control Unit. I then discuss the purpose and implementation of a number of key operations in the instruction set architecture, including arithmetic...


Episode 93: How Computers Work Part III - Logic Gates and Components

In this third part of the series on computers I begin with an overview of Boolean algebra, including a discussion of key logic functions such as NOT, AND, and OR, and also discuss how CMOS logic gates implementing these functions are fabricated from transistors. I then survey the wide variety of logic components used in electronic circuits, including the multiplexor, adder, tristate buffer, flip-flops, comparator, and clock generator, and discuss the functions fulfilled by these devices in...


Episode 92: How Computers Work Part II - Silicon and Transistors

In this second episode in the series, I explain binary digital coding to motivate a discussion of the operation of transistors. Beginning with an examination of the properties of semiconductors and why they are useful for constructing transistors, I then examine how MOSFET transistors are constructed by combining pMOS and nMOS semiconductors.


Episode 91: How Computers Work Part I - What is a Computer?

We begin our series discussing how computers work with an overview of the theory of computation, including a discussion of Turing machines and Turing completeness, and a brief history of early analog and digital computers. I also provide an introduction to the key components of a modern computer, and review the different levels in the hierarchy of computer organisation.


Episode 90: Climate Systems

An analysis of the major factors influencing climactic variation over Earth's surface, including a discussion of the effect of differential heating at different latitudes, the impact of continentality and sea breezes, the causes of monsoons, the coriolis effect, atmospheric circulation cells, the jet streams, and thermohaline circulation currents in Earth's oceans. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 88: Cartography and Earths Seasons, and Episode 89: The Atmosphere.


Episode 89: The Atmosphere

An overview of the composition and layers of the Earth's atmosphere, including a discussion of the exosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere, and troposphere. I also discuss the ozone layer and ozone depletion, the Karman line which marks the boundary of space, and the ionosphere. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 42: Gases and Gas Laws.


Episode 88: Cartography and Earths Seasons

A discussion of the shape of the Earth and the difficulties and conventions involved in describing a three-dimensional surface on a two-dimensional map, including an overview of some of the major map projections and their various limitations. This leads in to an overview of Earth's axial tilt and variation in solar insolation by latitude as an explanation for the seasonal variation in weather across the planet. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 87: The Geography of Planet Earth.


Episode 87: The Geography of Planet Earth

An overview of some of the key geographic features of planet Earth, including a discussion of the concept and classification of continents, the major mountain ranges and major river basins around the planet. I also discuss the major world biomes, their major climactic and botanical features, and their relative locations across the Earth.


Episode 86: The Evidence for Evolution

An outline of the various lines of evidence in favour of the theory of evolution by natural selection, including a discussion of natural and artificial examples of natural selection in action, as well as a review of the evidence from the fossil record, comparative anatomy, biogeography, and molecular evidence. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 21: Introduction to Evolution.


Episode 85: Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

A discussion of some of the major conceptual aspects of Quantum Field Theory, including the concept of a quantum field, classical field theory, harmonic oscillators, second quantisation, interacting theories, and the relationship of QFT to other branches of physics. Recommended pre-listening is Episodes 83 and 84, Advanced Quantum Mechanics parts I and II.


Episode 84: Advanced Quantum Mechanics Part II

Continuing on from the previous episode, here I discuss some more advanced topics in Quantum Mechanics, including Noether’s theorem, the particle statistics of Bosons and Fermions, perturbation theory, and the EPR paradox. Recommended Pre-listening is Episode 83: Advanced Quantum Mechanics Part I.


Episode 83: Advanced Quantum Mechanics Part 1

An examination of some more advanced concepts of quantum mechanics, focusing on describing Dirac's bra-ket formulation of quantum theory. I discuss the formulation of quantum mechanics in terms of vectors in Hilbert spaces, Hermitian operators as corresponding to observables, orthogonality of eigenstates, incompatible observables, and Schrodinger's equation. Recommeded pre-listening is Episode 14: Principles of Quantum Mechanics.


Episode 82: Racial Differences in Intelligence

A discussion of the evidence and methodological issues pertaining to explaining the causes of racial differences in intelligence, with a focus on evaluating the hereditarian hypothesis that such differences are largely genetic. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 81: Intelligence Part 2.


Episode 81: Intelligence Part 2

Continuing the series on intelligence, in this episode I discuss the genetic and neurological correlated of intelligences, the efficacy of measures to increase intelligence, and the causes and consequences of the Flynn effect. Also includes an analysis of the heritability of intelligence and how to properly interpret heritabilty research. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 80: Intelligence Part 1.


Episode 80: Intelligence Part 1

The first in a three part series on human intelligence, covering debates about the definition of intelligence, how intelligence is measured, factor analysis and the origin of the g factor, and interpretations of the g factor as corresponding to intelligence. Also includes an analysis of Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, and the cross-cultural validity of intelligence tests. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 79: Basic Concepts in Statistics.