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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 

Mar 22, 2019

After the first generation of nuclear fusion reactors had profound instabilities, and couldn't confine the plasma for long enough to achieve their aims, the world began to realise that fusion might not be just ten years away from reality - and the whole field sank into the doldrums... until a very...

Mar 15, 2019

In 1958, to great fanfare, the ZETA experiment at Harwell announced that they had achieved thermonuclear reactions, controlled in the lab. It was considered a huge breakthrough along the road towards nuclear fusion, and tabloids at the time trumpeted the experiment as allowing "limitless energy from sea water",...

Mar 8, 2019

In the early 1950s, optimism surrounding the potential for nuclear fusion in devices like the Stellarator, the pinch devices, and the magnetic mirror were frustrated by plasma instabilities. It turns out that you cannot treat plasmas like charged particles whizzing around in magnetic fields - instead, the complex theory...

Mar 1, 2019

In 1950-1, Argentine dictator Juan Peron and German scientist Ronald Richter announced that they had cracked the secret of limitless energy from nuclear fusion, and would soon sell energy "in pint-sized bottles, like milk" to every household in the nation. 

Of course, the slight problem was that this technology was...