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Physical Attraction

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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.

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We had a sister podcast, Autocracy Now, which deals with the lives of famous historical dictators. You can find some of their episodes on our feed, or the show itself at 

Apr 5, 2018

One of the best and most enjoyable parts of hosting this show is when my favourite authors are kind enough to speak to me. I'd like to thank Simon for an excellent, enlightening, entertaining discussion: if you enjoy listening to it half as much as I enjoyed the conversation, you're in for a real treat.

Today, as part of our series on science in the USSR, I'm delighted to say that we have an interview with Simon Ings, the author of a wonderful book on the subject - Stalin and the Scientists. Simon began his career writing science fiction stories, novels and films writing books on perception (The Eye: A Natural History), 20th-century radical politics (The Weight of Numbers), the shipping system (Dead Water) and augmented reality (Wolves). He co-founded and edited Arc magazine, a digital publication about the future, before joining New Scientist magazine as its arts editor, and writing Stalin and the Scientists. He very kindly agreed to be interviewed for our little show; as usual, I detained my guest for a very long time, and so I've split the interview into two parts.

The first part of our discussion focuses on the Bolshevik philosophy of science and the Russian Revolution more generally.

If you want to find out more about Simon's work, you can buy Stalin and the Scientists online and at all good bookstores - and I highly recommend you do - and he's online at and also tweets @simonings.

As for us: follow the show @physicspod , or visit the website for more information at : there you'll find a contact form where you can bombard us with questions, comments, concerns, topic suggestions, guest suggestions, praise, anonymous threats - anything you like!

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Next time, we'll talk about genetics and science in general in the USSR, and what lessons it might have for the future.