174 episodes

Physical Attraction is the show that explores topics in science, technology, and the future - from a physicist's perspective. From the birth of stars to the end of the world, from interviews with experts to meticulously-researched deep dives, we'll explore the topics that shape our world.

Physical Attraction PhysicsPodcast.com

    • Physics
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

Physical Attraction is the show that explores topics in science, technology, and the future - from a physicist's perspective. From the birth of stars to the end of the world, from interviews with experts to meticulously-researched deep dives, we'll explore the topics that shape our world.

    Extremely Thermonuclear Takes: Hints of Life on Venus?

    Extremely Thermonuclear Takes: Hints of Life on Venus?

    So there's a big rumour going around that some scientists may have potentially detected a hint of evidence for phosphine gas on Venus, which they consider to be quite strong evidence of something unexplained, which may be an indicator of microbial life in Venus' atmosphere.

    As the saying goes, Huge If True.

    Because it's been such an awful year, I try to explain this story and indulge in some pretty rampant speculation.

    • 30 min
    Climate Assembly: The World We Want to See

    Climate Assembly: The World We Want to See

    This year, the UK assembled 108 citizens from across all demographics of the society and from around the country to discuss the best ways to address climate change. In September 2020, they reported back.

    In this second episode, we go over the Climate Assembly's mammoth 556-page report, and discuss its recommendations on how the UK should get to Net Zero emissions.

    You can read the report for yourself at www.climateassembly.uk

    • 54 min
    Climate Assembly: What Is A Citizens' Assembly?

    Climate Assembly: What Is A Citizens' Assembly?

    In this mini-series, we'll be discussing the Climate Assembly in the UK - what happens when 100 randomly-selected ordinary citizens are given time and space to debate UK climate change policy.

    In this first episode, I talk about what a Citizens' Assembly is, and some of the pros and cons of this democratic institution. Next time, we'll discuss this specific assembly, the report and recommendations they came up with.

    The Climate Assembly UK released its 556-page report on Thursday 10th September, and it can be read in full here: https://www.climateassembly.uk/

    • 32 min
    Softbank's Blurry Vision, or, How To (Mostly) Burn $100bn: Part I, The Dream of Masoyoshi Son

    Softbank's Blurry Vision, or, How To (Mostly) Burn $100bn: Part I, The Dream of Masoyoshi Son

    In this series, we'll be telling the story of the Softbank Vision Fund, the $100bn technology venture capital fund that was supposed to revolutionise the world and bring forward a glorious techno-future.

    The Vision Fund that now looks like it's inflated a massive, unsustainable bubble in tech companies (and companies that pretend to be tech companies).

    First - the story of Softbank, pre-Vision Fund, and its visionary founder, Masoyoshi Son, who made both the best and worst investments in living memory.

    • 39 min
    Rage Inside The Machine: Algorithmic Bias and What It Means to be Human, with Dr Robert Smith

    Rage Inside The Machine: Algorithmic Bias and What It Means to be Human, with Dr Robert Smith

    I’m very excited today to talk to Dr Robert Elliot Smith, who – after a thirty-year career working in AI and working with algorithms - has written one of the best books I’ve ever read about artificial intelligence and the impact of algorithms on society – Rage Inside the Machine. More than this, though, it’s really about… the dangers that can arise from trying to boil down complex aspects of what it means to be human, or what is valuable and important, to numbers and metrics which can be processed by these machines. Which I think is a much more fundamental issue, and lies at the heart of a great deal of systemic injustice and misunderstanding, even before the age of algorithms came along to turbo-charge all of these problems.

    We had a wonderful, wide-ranging interview and Dr Smith was very patient and willing to deal with my pretty scattershot questions attempting to cover a lot of what is in his book. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed our conversation.



    Thank you for listening to this episode of Physical Attraction, and thanks again for Dr Smith for coming on the show. His book, Rage Inside The Machine, is one of the most brilliant texts you’ll read on AI – a glorious mix between technical detail explained in a way that’s not too oversimplified, personal stories profound insight into this interface between computers and algorithms and what it means to be human. It’s genuinely great, we just scratched the surface here really, and I know I’ll end up reading it multiple times for the full detail of what’s being said… and just because it’s also one of those books where you feel your brain expanding when you read it. In a good way. Do get a copy.

    You can find that at Rage Inside The Machine.com where you will also find Rob’s blog and some of his other appearances on podcasts if you are interested. He’s also an occasional Tweeter at Dr RE Smith, so go check it out.

    As for us, you know what to do! The website is physicspodcast.com, there’s a contact form there where you can get in touch with any comments, questions, concerns, things you liked, and didn’t like, and so forth. You can donate to the show via PayPal, or subscribe to our Patreon, where there are currently over a dozen bonus and early-release episodes for you to enjoy. You won’t be charged on the Patreon until a new paid bonus episode is released – and even then the pledge can be as low as a dollar or two I think – so if you want to support people who create the independent content you enjoy, that’s a good way to do it.

    • 1 hr 24 min
    Statistical Mechanics and Information Entropy

    Statistical Mechanics and Information Entropy

    As a followup to our series on thermodynamics, the briefest of introductions to one of the most fascinating and beautiful areas of physics - Statistical Mechanics.

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

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5 Ratings

Pace2010 ,

Very instructive

This podcast is very instructive and I like it. The tone is perfect. Thank you.

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