The Star Spot

Lawrence Krauss joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss nothing, and how a universe can arise from it. Covering Krauss' earlier book "The Physics of Star Trek," the two discuss warp drives, time travel and transporters, and then reflect on the likelihood of a space exploration future anywhere like that of the Star Trek universe. Arguing that not only matter, space and time, but the laws of physics themselves, can all be ultimately explained, Krauss defends his assertion that the ultimate question "Why is there something rather than nothing" properly belongs to the realm of science, responding to critiques from philosophers and some in the religious communities. The conversation also focuses on quantum gravity, the anthropic principle, and what it means about our place in the universe that in the very long run, our universe seems to be heading back in the direction of nothingness.

Professor Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He grew up in Toronto and studied at Carleton University, then received a PhD in physics at MIT. He served on President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign science policy committee, and has received awards from the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics. He is the author of a number of books, including Hiding in the Mirror, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science, The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe From Nothing: Why there is something rather than nothing.

Direct download: Ep20-LawrenceKrauss-FullEpisode.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Luis Lehner joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss his work in numerical relativity and his search for elusive gravity waves. Since they are not scattered by intervening objects but carrying pure information from their points of origin, gravity waves would be a revolutionary new way to study everything from the Big Bang to supermassive black holes. The two also discuss future missions to search for gravity waves, like the Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (LISA) and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). Finally Lehner explains his theoretical work on strongly gravitating systems in higher compactified dimensions where exotic objects called "black strings" may connect string theory, quantum gravity and black holes.

Luis Lehner completed his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and then held Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Briitsh Columbia. He is currently Professor at the University of Guelph and Associate Faculty at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. Lehner received the Nicholas Metropolis Award from the American Physical Society and a ellowship from the Sloan Foundation. He sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, and he was named among the Top 40 Under 40 by the Baton Rouge Business Report. Lehner lives by advice his father once gave him, who said: "Anyone can get a university degree. It takes work and study for a few years, and then one ends up with a degree forever. But to a be a gentleman or a gentlewoman one must work on it forever."


Direct download: LuisLehner-CompleteEpisode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

The Star Spot is excited to announce a new development: video. Today’s episode of The Star Spot also features a special video edition to be posted on our recently launched YouTube channel, "TheStarSpotTV." There you can watch a video recording of our interview with today’s guest, Bob McDonald, as well as coverage of the 50 year anniversary celebration of the launch of Alouette 1, Canada’s first space satellite, the event at which Bob’s interview was conducted. We invite you to check out the video and subscribe to our new channel. Older episodes of our program will also be posted there in the near future.

Bob McDonald is Canada’s best known science journalist. A long standing fixture on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks which draws half a million listeners each week, Bob Mcdonald is the author of the book Measuring the earth with a stick: science as I've seen it, which was short listed for the chadian science writers association book award. He is the the recipient of a variety of awards for science communication, including the 2005 McNeil Medal for the public awareness of science from the royal society of canada and the 2001 michael smith award for science promotion from NSERC. The university drop out who wound up with 6 honorary doctoral degrees - and counting - sits down with Justin Trottier to discuss how unique opportunities have shaped his life, the value of story telling in selling science, and his experiences on the CBC.

Direct download: Episode18_-_Bob_McDonald.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT