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Physical Attraction

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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.  

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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 

Sep 20, 2018

Everything is made up of fundamental particles. You have the leptons: that’s the electron, muon, tau, and their ghostly neutrinos that help us to conserve momentum. You have the quarks, which make up all of the hadrons. The up, down, and strange quarks: and their heavier cousins, the top, bottom, and charm quarks. Mixing quarks can give you baryons, like the proton and neutron. It can give you mesons, like the pion particles.

But you also have four forces.

There’s gravity, which pulls on everything with mass. There’s electromagnetism, which pulls on everything with charge. There’s the weak nuclear force, which is involved in the decay of neutrons and other particles, and it’s also how the ghostly neutrinos interact. And, finally, there’s the strong nuclear force: which binds the protons and neutrons together in the nucleus, and binds the quarks within each proton and neutron.

It turns out that the final part of the Standard Model is associated with these forces. Because, although we can imagine force fields that extend throughout space like Maxwell did, it turns out that forces have ‘carriers’. In some sense, when one particle exerts a force on another, another particle jumps between them to spread that influence. These force carriers are bosons.

In this episode, we'll complete our picture of the Standard Model by adding the force carriers and the Higgs Boson into the mix. And then, we'll dive into the terrifying world of BDSM - BeyonD the Standard Model.

You can listen to all of our archived episodes up at or listen to our sister podcast, Autocracy Now, at

On the physicspodcast website, you will find a contact form where you can discuss any comments, questions, concerns, suggestions for future show topics or interview guests - we'd love to hear from you.

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