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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.  

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 

Apr 5, 2019

Taking a break from our nuclear fusion odyssey this week, I have a very special episode for you today. This week, our guest is Dr Kate Devlin. She’s a senior lecturer in computer science who studies artificial intelligence and human-robot interaction, and she wrote a magnificent book: Turned On, Science, Sex and Robots. Now, the tagline is that the book is about love and sex with robots – and there is a great deal of fascinating stuff in there about that – but it’s also a wonderful history of humanoid robotics, in reality and in fiction, and a great survey of the academic research into human-robot interactions in general. As artificial intelligence and chatbots become more omnipresent, and also take on a bigger role in our culture, whole new fields of psychology and sociology open up. We’ve already talked a little about chatbots in past episodes, and Dr Devlin’s book was one of the best and most entertaining works that I’ve read about artificial intelligence and robots in a long time, so I was super excited to get this interview.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Physical Attraction, and many thanks to our guest, Dr Kate Devlin. You can find her book – Turned On, Science, Sex and Robots – where-ever good books are sold, but I also highly recommend the audiobook… if, like me, you’re getting those monthly Audible credits, it’s wonderfully narrated by the author. You can also find out more about her work at , and if you Google around, there are some Ted Talks and things of that variety to keep you entertained.

And now for our housekeeping. A reminder that I’m still planning this 100th episode competition, but the due date is being continually extended – send your answers to the question “What Is Physics?” in text or audio format via the contact form on our website, and you’ll be in with a chance to win books from some of our previous interview guests and a place on the show.

The nuclear fusion series will be resuming shortly, and I can’t wait to share it all with you, but I’m also not averse to puncturing it with a few off-topic breaks now and then as a palate-cleanser. But if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the show, you can contact us via the contact form at, and you can find me on Twitter @physicspod. If you want to support the show, we have a Patreon account, at – and I’ve actually just put up some “b-sides”, there, shows that I recorded but didn’t release for one reason or another, that subscribers can now enjoy listening to – alongside all the bonus episodes on Alien Attacks, Free Energy Scams, and failed end-of-the-world-predictions. Of course, if you don’t want to donate, the best thing you can do to support us is always always to tell as many people about the show as you possibly can.

Until next time, then, take care!