29 episodes

From the PBS science series NOVA, a biweekly podcast digging into the science behind the headlines. Alok Patel takes you behind the scenes with the people—scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians and more—working to understand our world. Now it's more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and find science-based answers to the most pressing questions of our time.

Subscribe, and learn more by visiting pbs.org/novanowpodcast.

NOVA Now WGBH

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 182 Ratings

From the PBS science series NOVA, a biweekly podcast digging into the science behind the headlines. Alok Patel takes you behind the scenes with the people—scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians and more—working to understand our world. Now it's more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and find science-based answers to the most pressing questions of our time.

Subscribe, and learn more by visiting pbs.org/novanowpodcast.

    The Big Bang: started from inflation, now we’re here

    The Big Bang: started from inflation, now we’re here

    For tens of thousands of years, humans have pondered eternal questions like “How does our world even exist?” and “Where did we come from?” Now, more than ever, scientists are finding answers within the Big Bang theory. About 13.8 billion years ago, in a fraction of a fraction of a second, the universe expanded into being. The event, astronomers believe, was less of an explosion than a transformation of energy into matter: As this so-called inflation slowed, it gave way to matter, radiation, and all we know today. But more questions loom. To learn how scientists came up with the Big Bang theory, Dr. Alok Patel hears from a physicist and a cosmologist about the forces that shaped our early universe and the tools researchers use to peer back in time. And, he learns what scientists’ understanding of the universe’s origins can tell us about its ultimate end.

    • 33 min
    Black holes: to the event horizon and beyond

    Black holes: to the event horizon and beyond

    Black holes: they’re dense, elusive, light-absorbing pockets of spacetime that are critical to our understanding of the universe. But black holes are difficult to peer into, so there’s a lot scientists still don’t know. This leaves some room for science fiction to take over. Tall tales of galactic adventure may pair well with popcorn, but they also blur the lines between fact and fiction. To explore what humanity knows—and what we think we know—about black holes, Dr. Alok Patel and a theoretical cosmologist journey to Earth’s closest black hole: the Milky Way’s own Sagittarius A*, approximately 26,000 light-years away. (Don’t worry; no scientists or science nerds were harmed in the making of this podcast.)

    • 31 min
    The hitchhiker’s guide to exoplanets and alien life

    The hitchhiker’s guide to exoplanets and alien life

    If television shows and movies are any indication, we humans spend a lot of our time subconsciously preparing for UFOs carrying maleficent aliens to descend on Earth. But should we rush to create an intergalactic battle plan? In actuality, finding otherworldly life won’t be so easy (or, hopefully, so dangerous). Already, astronomers and other scientists are using a multitude of techniques to search for planets outside our solar system and any signs of life they carry. With 4,500 exoplanets identified out of what could be hundreds of billions in our galaxy alone, one thing is becoming clear: If we find extraterrestrial life, it likely won’t be anything like Hollywood has imagined. Hearing from two exoplanet experts about the diversity of planets and life in the Milky Way, Dr. Alok Patel learns that Earth is incredibly unique—and surprisingly mundane.

    • 30 min
    How to make a Milky Way: the ultimate galactic recipe

    How to make a Milky Way: the ultimate galactic recipe

    When our ancestors looked up into the night sky, they too saw a great, glimmering band of light splitting the darkness. In Southeast Asia, people called it “the Silver River.” In Southern Africa, “the Backbone of the Night.” And in the West, around 2,500 years ago, it earned the name “the Milky Way.” Across the globe, civilizations had theories of what the band of light was and why it was there. But only recently have humans had the tools to get the full picture. Today we know the Milky Way is our galaxy: two spiral arms filled with more than 100 billion stars, all rotating around a supermassive black hole. And here on our little blue planet, we’re in the middle of it all. Dr. Alok Patel speaks with two galaxy experts to find out how scientists have built the first high-resolution, three-dimensional map of the Milky Way—and what that map reveals about the formation and future of our galactic home.

    • 25 min
    Fusion: Can we recreate the renewable power of stars down on Earth?

    Fusion: Can we recreate the renewable power of stars down on Earth?

    The process that powers our sun was still a mystery about 100 years ago. Bit by bit, scientists have worked out that the fusion of hydrogen at a star’s core can generate enough power to keep it shining for billions of years. Now, armed with this knowledge, researchers around the world are trying to figure out if we can recreate that fusion process here on Earth. (And yes, trying to kickstart fusion—and then contain superheated plasmas that reach temperatures up to 100 million degrees Celsius—is just as hard as it sounds.) If scientists can pull it off, the payoff could be huge: A deep understanding of stellar physics could one day lead to a virtually unlimited supply of clean energy. To discover just how, Dr. Alok Patel hears from an astrophysicist and a fusion scientist.

    • 27 min
    This is NOVA Now Universe Revealed

    This is NOVA Now Universe Revealed

    This is NOVA Now Universe Revealed, hosted by Alok Patel, a physician, science communicator, and somewhat of a space nerd. In this special 5-part podcast series, blast off with us to explore alien worlds, galaxies, stars, black holes, and the start of the universe itself, the Big Bang. NOVA Now Universe Revealed drops on Thursday, November 4th. This podcast has been made possible by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Produced by GBH and PRX.

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
182 Ratings

182 Ratings

A Capella Doll ,

Love the content, but....

The woman expert is very difficult to understand because of her heavy accent. Is there a written form of this podcast?

BrooklynBensonhurst ,

Pavel Ya

Very cheesy.Overreacted and unnecessarily excited. Looks like local TV news with bad and annoying annonser

Charlie pip ,

Black holes

This program would probably be very educational and the pre- podcast review sounded great. However, I can not stand to listen to any program that plays music in the background. It drowns out the verbal content. The minute I start to listen to a program with music interspersed with the verbal content I TURN IT OFF. I can not understand why the producer of these programs feel they must intersperse music. It ruins the entire program. Too bad. This would have been an otherwise interesting episode.

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