Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Physical Attraction

New? Head to the episode guide or drop us a line with the contact form.

We are a physics podcast. But not just that - interviews with scientists, scholars, authors and reflections on the history and future of science and technology are all in the wheelhouse. Over the years, for over 200 episodes, we've had shows on the astrophysics of stars, a comprehensive history of nuclear fusion, thermodynamics, particle physics, climate change, economics, philosophy, the psychology of conspiracy theories, and even the lives of Louisiana Senator Huey Long, or scientists under Stalin in the Soviet Union. 

We are an independent show: everything you hear is created by one person out of passion and love. My aim in producing this show is never to talk down to people, but instead to discuss fascinating and vital subjects with scientific rigour, compassion, and an eye for narrative: to educate, inform, and entertain. I hope that you, the listener, will find something you like here. 

You can read about us here, which includes a comprehensive episode guide for new listeners covering all of the shows that we've done, as well as links to transcripts of many of the episodes.  

You can contact us here - everything goes through to my email and I try to answer each one. Your comments and questions help me to improve the show and also motivate me to carry on, so I highly appreciate reading anything you feel like sending. 

If you like what we do and want to help us keep doing it, you can donate here. I am extremely grateful for those of you who have done so. 

You can also subscribe to the Physical Attraction: Extra! Feed over at Patreon: - where for a small fee per bonus episode, you can help to support the show, and get some juicy bonus content too. The Patreon includes unique bonus episodes that stand alone, or alongside our existing series. But you will also get episodes as soon as I finish producing them, which is often months in advance: so, if you can't wait for your fix, that's where to go. 

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 

Feb 14, 2018

We have a guest on the show today - Ben Franta. Ben is a scientist, science historian, science writer, and activist. He studied for a PhD at Harvard working on solar cells; while he was at Harvard, he became involved in the movement to persuade that University to divest from fossil fuels. After finishing his first PhD, he moved to Stanford to take up a PhD in the History of Science, where he now studies the history of climate politics, and the influence of fossil fuel companies on that politics. His recent article in the Guardian, published on New Year's Day, explained how Edward Teller knew about global warming in 1959 and warned the fossil fuel industry - thirty years before it hit the mainstream.

The first half, which you're about to hear, is a general discussion of the politics of climate change: why has this problem proved so difficult to deal with?

If you enjoyed what our guest had to say, you can find his work via
his LinkedIn
"Benjamin Franta":

and follow him on Twitter @BenFranta.

The article that Ben referred to, which details the case for climate activism, was written by Geoffrey Supran and Ploy Achakulwisut; it's on Mashable, and it's called "How You Can Fight Climate Change."

As always, you can follow us on Twitter @physicspod, and go to our website at, where you'll find a donate link that will help you support the show if you're so inclined. Until next time.

*** Erratum: 
Ben mentioned that the UK currently gets some of its electricity imported from Iceland: this is actually a proposed scheme that's not currently operating, but hopefully will in the near future. There is indeed a cable between the UK and France that helps both countries match supply and demand, and the same is true between Denmark and Norway, which both draw the majority of their power from wind and hydroelectricity respectively. It's the way forward!