121 episodes

Make Science Fiction. Learn Real Science!

Welcome to our weekly Science and Science Fiction podcast where we learn amazing things by playing a fantastic game: We make a change to the Universe and then, using only real science, we follow the mind bending ramifications as they ripple outward — wherever they lead!

Our brilliant guests are some of the world’s greatest science fiction writers, scientists & science communicators. Strap on your seat belt and let’s leap into a journey to answer the most fascinating question in the Universe… What The IF?

What The If? Philip Shane & Matt Stanley

    • Science

Make Science Fiction. Learn Real Science!

Welcome to our weekly Science and Science Fiction podcast where we learn amazing things by playing a fantastic game: We make a change to the Universe and then, using only real science, we follow the mind bending ramifications as they ripple outward — wherever they lead!

Our brilliant guests are some of the world’s greatest science fiction writers, scientists & science communicators. Strap on your seat belt and let’s leap into a journey to answer the most fascinating question in the Universe… What The IF?

    POWER From PEOPLE??? Bow To Our MATRIX Overlords!

    POWER From PEOPLE??? Bow To Our MATRIX Overlords!

    We answered the ringing telephone in The Matrix and on the line was the great filmmaker, game designer, and composer Robyn Miller with a sizzling good IF! Robyn asks "If you were an evil robot overlord and you wanted to use people as your power source... how'd ya do it? Can people be used as batteries?" Let's find out! Take the correct colored pill and we'll see you on the other side... of the IF!

    * * *

    Share your love for the IF by dropping a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts!

    Have you subscribed? Grab one (always free!) and never miss an episode!

    Keep On IFFin',
    Philip & Matt

    • 52 min
    MEGASTRUCTURES! With Journalist & Science Fiction Author MATT WILLIAMS

    MEGASTRUCTURES! With Journalist & Science Fiction Author MATT WILLIAMS

    SCIENCE JOURNALIST and SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR Matt Williams joins us and asks: What’s the absolute biggest thing you could build… in the entire Universe! Have Aliens beaten us to it? How big does our civilization need to be to outgrow even MEGASTRUCTURES and build even bigger? Can we build GIGASTRUCTURES? What about PETASTRUCTURES? How about a GOOGLESTRUCTURE. We’re gonna need THOR’S HAMMER for this project, and his screwdriver and rivet maker, too! Let’s get to work and make some IF!

    * * *

    MATT WILLIAMS has written many short stories and two full-length novels, all which take place within the same fictional universe. In addition, he’s written over one thousand articles on subjects of science, technology, astronomy, history, literature, pop culture, and general knowledge. His first published novels, The Cronian Incident and its sequel The Jovian Manifesto (published by Castrum Press) can be purchased on Amazon.com, or Castrum Press, or click here to read an excerpt of the books. They are also available as audiobooks through Audible.com.

    * * *

    Share your love for the IF by dropping a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts!

    Have you subscribed? Grab one (always free!) and never miss an episode!

    Keep On IFFin',
    Philip & Matt

    • 53 min
    Can We Open A PUB On MARS? w/the Author of ALCOHOL IN SPACE, Chris Carberry!

    Can We Open A PUB On MARS? w/the Author of ALCOHOL IN SPACE, Chris Carberry!

    We're joined by Chris Carberry, the distinguished CEO of EXPLORE MARS and author of the awesome new book, ALCOHOL IN SPACE... Join us for a fun and fabulous Happy Hour on What The IF!

    * * *

    CHRIS CARBERRY is the CEO and co-founder of Explore Mars, Inc. a nonprofit space advocacy organization that was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. Carberry is a well-respected expert and influential director of strategic alliances in the space community and has been responsible for growing many partnerships, grants and sponsorships for leading industry organizations. Currently, as CEO of Explore Mars, he acts as the main liaison for efforts and project ventures.

    Prior to joining Explore Mars, Carberry served as Executive Director to The Mars Society. In his early career, he acted as a member of the Steering Committee where he organized congressional outreach efforts around the country. He also played a leadership role in congressional outreach events such as the 2007-2017 Space Exploration Alliance Legislative Blitz and has coordinated numerous briefing panels and other events on Capitol Hill over the past two decades.

    In more recent years, he has organized and led successful international conferences including the ISS and Mars Conference in Washington, D.C. and Strasbourg, France, and the Women and Mars Conference in Washington, D.C. In 2012, he represented Explore Mars as a delegate to the Mars500 Symposium in Moscow, Russia, and in 2013, he spearheaded the annual Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, DC that has become the largest annual conference in the world focused on sending humans to Mars. Carberry also helped to launch the Get Curious Campaign in 2012 and the Humans to Mars Report starting in 2015. Carberry is also a co-founder and co-chair of the Mars Achievability and Sustainability workshop series, and he recently launched the 1st AR/VR and Space workshop series. In 2018, under Carberry’s leadership, Explore Mars will also launch programs in Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

    Carberry has presented both oral and written testimony to Congress and has contributed positioning work dealing with space exploration for the Republican Party’s National Platform in 2000. He is the author of scores of articles and Op-Ed pieces that have appeared in such publications as USA Today, US News and World Report, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, San Jose Mercury Times, Foxnews.com, Houston Chronicle, The Hill, The Telegram (UK), The Boston Herald and many other publications. He has been featured on national and international television and radio programs such as NBC Nightly News, Fox News, CNN, BBC World, and NPR and is frequently asked for commentary from print news outlets around the world.

    * * *

    Share your love for the IF by dropping a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts!

    Have you subscribed? Grab one (always free!) and never miss an episode!

    Keep On IFFin',
    Philip & Matt

    • 49 min
    ALASTAIR REYNOLDS: Come Fly With Me... To MARS!

    ALASTAIR REYNOLDS: Come Fly With Me... To MARS!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our listeners around the WORLD! We’re celebrating with an encore presentation of one of our most popular episodes ever, with one of the greatest Science Fiction authors of all time, ALASTAIR REYNOLDS as our guest!

    PRE-ORDER his exciting upcoming novel, BONE SILENCE at your local bookstore or on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0819W4456/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i10

    Al brings a whopper of an IF, loosely inspired by one of his newest stories, "Different Seas" which he wrote for the new prophetic anthology, "TWELVE TOMORROWS" from MIT Press.

    WTiF Elon Musk sent a bunch of dummy bots to the red planet into whose bodies we could transport ourselves, via telepresence, and explore from the comfort of our own home? It's just like being there!

    But WTiF there's other bots being run around the planet, too, by people who's minds may be filled with the itch to cause mischief... or murder??? Watch your back, you n00b!

    ---

    ALASTAIR REYNOLDS is a science fiction writer based in Wales. A former space scientist, he turned from studying pulsars and binary stars to fiction. He's now the author of sixteen novels and more than seventy short stories. His work has been shortlisted for the Hugo, Arthur C Clarke and Sturgeon awards, and he's won the Seiun, Sidewise, European Science Fiction Society and Locus awards. His stories have been adapted for stage and television.

    VISIT his website: alastairreynolds.com

    Check out the TWELVE TOMORROWS anthology: mitpress.mit.edu/books/twelve-tomorrows

    --------

    REVIEW the show: itunes.apple.com/podcast/id1250517051?mt=2&ls=1

    SUBSCRIBE for free: pod.link/1250517051

    Thanks & Keep On IFFin'!-- Philip & Matt

    • 1 hr 2 min
    LIGHTSABERS For Hands! It’s a STAR WARS If!

    LIGHTSABERS For Hands! It’s a STAR WARS If!

    Our listener MIGUEL from South Africa wrote in and asked us, “What The IF… we replaced our HANDS with LIGHTSABERS?”

    This idea was so insane it sat on our list for a year and a half… as we SEARCHED OUR FEELINGS… waiting for the just the right moment to begin this wicked thought experiment..

    We celebrate the conclusion of the Star Wars saga by diving into this great space-operatic question.

    Happy Holidays to ALL our listeners AROUND THE WORLD, you folks are incredible! Keep the cards and letters coming’, it’s great to get to know ya.

    Enjoy your new LIGHTSABERS, listen now and find out how they’re gonna change the galaxy!!!

    MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

    ALWAYS

    * * *

    Share your love for the IF by dropping a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts! https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/id1250517051?ls=1&mt=2

    Have you subscribed? Grab one (always free!) and never miss an episode! https://pod.link/1250517051

    Keep On IFFin',
    Philip & Matt

    • 40 min
    Welcome to LAMARCK-issic Park! No Darwins Allowed!

    Welcome to LAMARCK-issic Park! No Darwins Allowed!

    What the if EVOLUTION were very DIFFERENT? Strap on your pith helmet, and lock the doors! OUR LISTENER Jon from Sweden wrote us and asked: What if Charlie “Eye of the Tiger” DARWIN was wrong and “Hoist Up The” Jean-B. LAMARCK was right? These two scholars had very different ideas about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, and especially about YOU and me’s!

    * * *

    Share your love for the IF by dropping a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/id1250517051?ls=1&mt=2

    Have you subscribed? Grab one (always free!) and never miss an episode! https://pod.link/1250517051

    Keep On IFFin',
    Philip & Matt

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

RocketMan3333 ,

Really cool show!

Really cool show, I learned a ton and laughed a bunch, which is what I want most in my podcasts!

Frances Of Cambridge ,

Enjoy the Knowledge!

Thank you Philip & Matt for explaining everything so clearly and with a sense of humor! I have learned about things that I had no knowledge of before. What a great show, highly recommended.

Shreks Girlfrend ,

This is very interesting!

I love this podcast! As a very curious person, this podcast entertains me whenever I listen to it. These episodes help me think outside the box and question what the if? Would recommend this to anyone who loves science!

Top Podcasts In Science

Listeners Also Subscribed To