Podcasts and Vodcasts by Topic


April 01, 2015
How entropy explains how perpetual motion machines are impossible, why buildings crumble and the ultimate dark fate of the universe.

April 01, 2015
How entropy explains how perpetual motion machines are impossible, why buildings crumble and the ultimate dark fate of the universe.

How Robocats Land on Their Feet
March 25, 2015
How do falling cats always land on their feet? Physicists have been uncovering the answer with some help from a robocat.

Manhattan Project Historical Park
March 18, 2015
History and physics enthusiasts can now rejoice as the U.S. government has commissioned the Manhattan Project National Historical Park located at three important sites critical to the World War II-era program.

Quantum Mechanics in the Minecraft Universe
February 11, 2015
Introducing quantum weirdness to the world of Minecraft with the  qcraft mod.

Radioisotopes in Medicine
January 07, 2015
Radioisotopes have been successfully used to treat a number of cancers, and they're still used today safely as well. But the unethical use of radioisotopes also left a black mark in the history of medicine.

Manh(a)ttan: Bringing Nuclear Physics to Primetime
December 17, 2014
The new primetime TV show based on the Manhattan Project of WWII has drawn praise for its storytelling and scientific accuracy but also some critiques of its historical accuracy.

Citizen Science: Answering the Call
December 10, 2014
When professional scientists have hit road blocks, they've recruited citizen volunteers to help unlock scientific mysteries ranging from the cosmos to the microscopic.

The Infinite Universe
October 22, 2014
Is the universe infinite? Or is it confined to a finite amount of space? And how might the shape of the universe inform our answers to these deep questions?

Game of Thrones Weather (Repost)
October 15, 2014
Note: We Originally published this podcast on July 24, 2013.

In the fictional world of Westeros, the duration and severity of the seasons are entirely unpredictable. Is there a real planet that has a similar seasonal pattern?

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets
October 08, 2014
We sat down with science writer Simon Singh to discuss his latest book, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, which reveals the many math-related Easter eggs hidden throughout the iconic show's 25-year history.

The Ig Nobel Prizes 2014
September 24, 2014
The Ig Nobel Prizes reward the best research that first makes you laugh then makes you think. This year, we interviewed the winners who had research topics ranging from the the alignment of dogs with the Earth's magnetic field when they poo to the correlation between cat bites and depression in humans.

Entangled Photons Illuminate an Object Without Touching It
September 03, 2014
Scientists have capitalized on two mind-boggling quantum mechanics principles to achieve the seemingly impossible: illuminating an object using light that never interacted directly with the object.

Hypervelocity Stars
August 13, 2014
Looking for a one-way trip out of our galaxy? Hitch a ride on a hypervelocity star if you're looking to escape our galaxy's gravity. Listen in this week to see how these super-speedy stars come to be.

The 2014 Flame Challenge
August 06, 2014
We sat down with Youtube star and "Flame Challenge" winner Diana Cowern to discuss her sometimes wacky but always enlightening physics outreach videos.

Comic-Con 2014
July 30, 2014
Our latest trip to Comic-Con International revealed a number of physics-inspired comic books in addition to our own Spectra series.

Voices of the Manhattan Project
July 16, 2014
Hundreds of thousands of people were connected to the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs. Now you can hear a few of their unique perspectives as they reflect on this hugely significant project.

Dark Stars and Cosmic Cocktails
July 02, 2014
Supermassive black holes and mysterious dark matter may share a common source: dark stars.

Hungry Hungry Black Holes
May 14, 2014
For the first time, astronomers will soon see the black hole at the center of our galaxy devouring part of a gas cloud.

The Askaryan Radio Array
April 30, 2014
Buried in frozen Antarctic ice, there's a new kind of radio array larger than Manhattan searching for elusive neutrinos.

The Science of Self
April 02, 2014
Jennifer Ouellette, author of the new book "Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self," shares how physics and neurobiology intersect over the idea of emergence.

Beating the Game of Go
March 26, 2014
Chess masters have been beaten by computers, but machines still can't beat the best Go players. Nonetheless, mathematicians are working to perfect the art and science behind this classic game.

Phase Transitions and Bull Sperm
March 12, 2014
New research found a striking resemblance between bull sperm behavior and phase transitions found in physics, and this may lead to applications in contraception and infertility treatments.

Volcanic Cooling
March 05, 2014
Despite their fiery nature, volcanic eruptions actually cool the Earth over time and may explain a recent deceleration in global warming trends.

Virtually Invisible Cochlear Implants
February 26, 2014
Many suffering from hearing loss may soon have access to cochlear implants that are virtually invisible and wirelessly chargeable. Here's how they'll work.

Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn
February 12, 2014
What is nothing? Science writer Amanda Gefter explores that question and more in her latest book: Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn.

Gauss' Missing Brain
November 20, 2013
The great mathematician's brain was mislabeled 150 years ago, leading to a modern day mystery that raises questions about the nature of genius.

Comic-Con 2013
July 31, 2013
Mike explores the connection between science and science fiction; he also interviews the stars of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Game of Thrones Weather
July 24, 2013
In the fictional world of Westeros, the duration and severity of the seasons are entirely unpredictable. Is there a real planet that has a similar seasonal pattern?

Mysteries of the Glass Transition
July 15, 2013
Does old cathedral glass really flow over time? Mike investigates this myth and more mysteries surrounding this peculiar material.

Man-Made Earthquakes?
July 10, 2013
Did human activity cause Oklahoma's largest earthquake on record? Scientists say it's possible.

<strong>Read more on this podcast's <a href="http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/07/podcast-man-mad-earthquakes.html">blog post</a></strong>

Fibonacci in Nature
July 03, 2013
Calla investigates several surprising instances of math in nature, from rabbit breeding to plant DNA.

<strong>Read more on this podcast's <a href="http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/07/podcast-fibonacci-patterns-in-nature.html">blog post</a></strong>

The Mad Scientist vs. Superman
June 26, 2013
The latest Superman movie, Man of Steel,  lacks a mad scientist villain typical of the franchise. So has media portrayal of scientists changed over the past few decades? Mike investigates.

<strong>Read more on this podcast's <a href="http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/06/podcast-mad-scientist-vs-superman.html">blog post</a></strong>

Cheetah Physics
June 19, 2013
A new study shows that while cheetahs are still the fastest land
animal on Earth, it's not their speed that makes the great hunters;
it's their acceleration. What's the difference? For that we turn to

<strong>Read more on this podcast's <a href="http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/06/podcast-cheetah-physics.html">blog post</a></strong>

Tornado Physics
June 05, 2013
Calla investigates the physics tornadoes and how scientists aim to better predict when, where and how twisters form.

<strong>Read more on this podcast's <a href="http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/06/podcast-tornado-physics.html">blog post</a></strong>

Mosh Pit Physics
March 27, 2013
Two graduate students have applied their physics coursework to a surprising area: mosh pits at metal shows.

Freeman Dyson: Heretic, Maverick, Visionary
March 20, 2013
Explore nuclear rocket propulsion, WWII bombing strategy, and searches for extraterrestrial life as Mike digs into this fascinating physicist's life.

Mussel Strength
February 20, 2013
Scientists are adapting a shellfish's unique ability to latch onto wet surfaces strongly for medical adhesives and new nanoparticles.

The Good, the Bad, the Radiation
February 06, 2013
Authors of the new book "Radiation: What it is, what you need to know" discuss why radiation is not inherently good or bad. Like any technology, it all depends on how we use it.

Destructive Domino Effect
January 31, 2013
Did you know that with the right set-up you could knock down a
building with nothing but a breath of air? Find out how on this week's podcast.

Curbing The Panic Virus
January 23, 2013
Seth Mnookin is the author of the new book The Panic Virus, which sheds light on the false allegations that vaccines cause autism. The story looks at how the physics community and broader scientific community needs to handle public relations in the 21st century, and who is to blame when a lie is perpetuated.

Magic in Science with Steve Spangler
January 16, 2013
Non-traditional science educator Steve Spangler talks about his efforts to instill a sense of wonder in his science demos and experiments.

Best of Physics 2012
December 26, 2012
Mike and Calla provide a run-down of the most important physics stories in 2012. But what makes one science breakthrough more important than another?

Operation Crossroads
September 05, 2012
In 1946 the United States tested its first atomic weapon after the end of World War II. Physicists wanted to better understand this new weapon they created, but it turned into a clash between science, spectacle and politics.

Crib Physics
August 30, 2012
Our physical intuition heavily influences how we experience and how we study the world around us. But when and how does this intuition develop? It turns out that is one of the first things our brains start learning when we are born. That's today on the physics buzz podcast.

Comic Con 2012
August 08, 2012
Mike sees how Physics influenced comic creators Jorge Chaim (PhD Comics) and Bill Amend (Foxtrot)

Science Advisors
July 25, 2012
Even though Hollywood films aren't known for being completely scientifically accurate all of the time, the writers of some of the biggest films and TV shows have been relying on their science advisors to make the science in science fiction all the more believable.

Who is Enrico Fermi?
July 18, 2012
Physicist Enrico Fermi has his name attached to a number of monumental physics items, like Fermilab, fermions and fermium. Who was Fermi, what did he do to earn so much notoriety and the title of "universal physicist"? We'll try to find out in today's podcast.

The Twitter Method
July 11, 2012
Twitter certainly has become an ever-present part of our lives.  Twitter may even be able to tell us what people are really concerned about,what issues are grabbing their attention and what topics are generating the most discussion.  Physicists have devised a method to gather this information and give it meaning beyond just a tweet.

How the Hippies Saved Physics
July 04, 2012
Dr. David Kaiser, author of the book "How the Hippies Saved Physics"
talks about how the culture of the 1970's influenced physics, and
brought the philosophical exploration of quantum mechanics back into
the mainstream.

Crumpled Paper
June 13, 2012
A single sheet of paper is easy to tear, but why, then, do crumpled balls of newspaper work as cushioning in packing boxes? Physicists are studying this unique architecture that maximizes the inherent strength of paper.

The Physics of ZOMBIES
October 26, 2011
What are your chances of surviving a zombie apocalypse? Calla Cofield explains how physics can help you stay alive.

September 07, 2011
The Physics Central team recently got some first-hand experience with the physics of earthquakes.

July 29, 2011
From a Richard Feynman comic book to cosmic dung, physics and Comic-Con intersect in some unusual places.

Ig Nobel 2010
October 21, 2010
"Sometimes science needs to laugh at itself and that's where the Ig Nobel Prize comes in." Mike Lucibella takes us there in this weeks installment of the Physics Central Podcast.

Maxwell's Demon is back
June 19, 2009
Researchers are tricking atoms and fooling entropy with lasers. Although their experiments don't actually violate the laws of thermodynamics, they have applications to quantum computing and gravity mapping.

Whale Flipper Bumps
October 02, 2008
Why are humpback whales more agile in the water than other whales? Scientists discovered that the bumps on humpback flippers decrease water turbulence. This allows the humpback whales to tilt their flippers up  and achieve greater lift over other whales and hence gives more maneuverability.

Podcast Archive


Detecting Earthquakes Faster
December 14, 2012
Seismic measurements coupled with GPS can detect earthquakes in a matter of seconds

Lasers and Cameras Help Drivers Avoid Crashes
November 05, 2012
Mechanical Engineers have combined lasers and cameras into an intelligent co-pilot to help prevent car crashes

Math Helps Forecast Crimes
April 30, 2012
Mathematicians are helping police find the locations where future crime is most likely to occur.

Saving Time, Money & Jobs 
December 13, 2010
Operations researchers improved the efficiency of school bus routes while minimizing the amount of time the students ride. Researchers calculated travel distances to and from various pickup points and consulted census and district maps that show roads, railroads and rivers to find the best routes, eliminating two bus runs and saving thousands of dollars the first year. <br /><br />

Submerged In Oil
October 11, 2010
Physical oceanographers and geophysicists are using a robotic submarine to study the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill in order to find how much oil is hidden beneath the surface. The submarine, a machine engineered to manipulate density and fitted with sensors to detect depth, location and methane levels traveled one mile below the surface and came within three miles of the spill, sampling the water for analysis.

Phantom Traffic Jams
May 24, 2010
Mathematicians explain how traffic jams form without apparent cause.

Life On Mars
April 12, 2010
Atmospheric scientists and physicists discover lightning on mars using a unique detector

Inside the Wind
November 20, 2009
Aerospace engineers use wind tunnel to study hurricane-strength winds.

Smart Bridge Keeping Drivers Safe
November 06, 2009
Civil engineers installed approximately 400 sensors in a bridge to monitor how corrosion, temperature and traffic loans impact the structure.

Making Rain
July 17, 2009
Researchers found that bacteria can initiate ice formation when super-cooled water droplets condense around the microbes and found evidence of these microbes in snow and rain samples from around the world.

Big Quakes Trigger Small Quakes
February 06, 2009
Seismologists find large earthquakes can trigger smaller ones in unlikely locations.

Jupiter's Little Red Spot
December 08, 2008
Planetary scientists detected strong winds in anticyclone on Jupiter.

Evacuation Routes go Hi-Tech
November 24, 2008
Civil engineers designed a disaster evacuation system.

Predicting When Tornadoes Will Strike
November 10, 2008
Meteorologists examined relationship of El Nino and winter tornadoes in the U.S.

Science of Origami
September 26, 2008
Mathematicians and Artists Use Algorithms to Make Complicated Paper Sculptures

Man-Made Hurricanes
September 15, 2008
Civil Engineers Create High-Powered Hurricane Simulator

NASA Saving Lives
September 12, 2008
Earth Scientists and Meteorologists Create Historically-Based, Realistic Weather Animations

Knowing Where Tornadoes Will Strike
August 01, 2008
Meteorologists recently studied the effect of gravity waves on tornado formation. They found that when gravity waves push down on rotating thunderstorms the storm compresses and spins faster. Being able to recognize and track gravity waves before they reach thunderclouds allows meteorologists to better predict tornadoes, increasing both the accuracy of their predictions and the amount of warning time that they can provide.

Creating 21st Century Video Games
November 01, 2007
A computer science student created an updated form of the classic video game Pong. The ball appears to move unpredictably, but is actually governed by algorithms that analyze the fluid dynamics of actual plasmas. Careful programming that considers the plasmaýs mathematical properties allows players to activate a vacuum effect or plasma jet that moves the ball in physically realistic ways as well.

Ice, Ice, Baby!
February 01, 2007
When droplets of melted snow drip down an icicle, they release small amounts of heat as they freeze. Heated air travels upwards and helps slow down the growth of the icicle's top, while the tip is growing rapidly. Knowledge of the mathematical equations that govern icicle growth -- the same that apply to stalactites -- could help in the prevention of icicle formation on power lines.

Rip Current Secrets Revealed
August 01, 2006
Rip currents flow in very erratic patterns, not in steady courses as previously believed -- which may help explain why they can be so dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Oceanographers have discovered the behavior by tracking the motion of colored dye added to a wave pool generating rip currents.

The Mystery of Black Holes
December 01, 2005
A satellite called Swift is revealing that black holes have a messier birth than previously thought. Instead of being created in one instant, astrophysicists now believe after a star dies and collapses -- ultimately forming a black hole -- it continues to cause havoc. The baby black hole devours material while at the same time spewing it back out, a process that is revealed in multiple outbursts of gamma rays.

Underwater Weather Watchers
January 01, 2005
Researchers are now collecting valuable information about ocean weather from a fleet of cost-effective instruments called Argo floats. Using hydraulic fluid in internal and external sacs, each float sinks about a mile and a half underwater. Every ten days, the float rises to the surface and transmits information on the ocean temperature and salt content. Researchers hope Argo will improve the ability to forecast the paths of hurricanes and where they will make their landfall.