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Physical Attraction


Maybe you've seen a thousand science documentaries and you're tired of hearing about the same subjects; or maybe you don't know the first thing about physics, but would love to learn. My aim with this show is to explore the vast range of topics in physics, from quantum mechanics and relativity to the physics of stars, galaxies and black holes. We will explore brand-new topics in science and technology as I learn about them. Whether you know the story already or are learning it all for the first time, my aim is to "educate, inform, and entertain!" 

We are a physics podcast. But not just a physics podcast - interviews with scientists, scholars, authors and reflections on the history and future of science and technology are all in the wheelhouse.

You can read about us here, contact us here and if you like what we do and want to help us keep doing it, you can donate here. You can subscribe to the Physical Attraction: Extra! Feed over at Patreon: www.patreon.com/PhysicalAttraction - where for $2 per bonus episode, you can help to support the show, and get some juicy bonus content too. If you donate $2+ via the Paypal Link, I can also send you a direct download link to a bonus episode of your choice. Just leave your email, and the episode you want. Bonus episodes released so far: Alien Attack, Part II (45m), Failed TEOTWAWKI Predictions, Part II (1hr). 

We have a sister podcast, Autocracy Now, which deals with the lives of famous historical dictators. (Why host one podcast when you can host two?) You can find some of their episodes on our feed, or the show itself at www.autocracynow.libsyn.com 

Feb 7, 2019

You can get too caught up in praising the beauty of science and conflating that with praising the individual. I think we should recognise and appreciate brilliance, but stop short of hero-worship. It’s reductive. It diminishes people. It removes important parts of who they were. It can, in its worst excesses, be downright dangerous.

Nevertheless, that’s not a problem I have today, even though I’m going to tell this story partly biographically. Because Edward Teller, for all his brilliance in physics, is not the kind of person you’d want to worship as a hero. Yet it’s Teller, for good or ill, rightly or wrongly, who is most associated with the first successful large-scale harnessing of the power of fusion by human beings: the hydrogen bomb.

If you’ve ever seen the film Dr Strangelove, or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb”, you’ll know something of the popular perception of Teller. If you haven’t, you should immediately find a copy and watch it. From the moment that Teller was brought onto the Manhattan project, he was pushing for it to expand – not just to create a bomb that would harness the power of nuclear fission, but a fusion bomb. A hydrogen bomb, that would – according to theoretical calculations – be thousands of times more powerful. It would begin a long career in physics and the military that would see Teller consistently and endlessly advocate for more and more powerful weapons – total nuclear supremacy over the Soviet Union. It was an obsessive quest that led some of his oldest friends and colleagues to turn on him, in the end. The physicist Isidore Rabi later said: “He is a danger to all that is important. I do really feel it would have been a better world without Teller.”

 

 


Physical Attraction is the podcast about physics, science, and technology. You can find further details about the show at www.physicspodcast.com - where you'll find the contact form, for any comments, questions, or concerns you may have. [I'm very good at responding to stuff that isn't spam.] 

You can also donate to the show via www.paypal.me/physicspodcast and you can subscribe to our Patreon via www.patreon.com/PhysicalAttraction . Both will give you the opportunity to purchase our past bonus episodes for a nominal donation! 

The best way you can support the show, though, is to tell as many people about it as you possibly can. 

You can engage with us on social media - Twitter @physicspod and Facebook, Physical Attraction. 

Until next time, take care.