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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 

Oct 9, 2018

So, as you probably already know by now, the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was awarded to another trio: Gérard Mourou, Arthur Ashkin and Donna Strickland, “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”. Specifically, Arthur Ashkin was awarded the prize ““for the invention of optical tweezers and their application to biological systems” and Mourou and Strickland were awarded the prize for developing chirped pulse amplification, a method of generating very short but very high-intensity pulses of light with lasers.

In this episode, we'll describe how they made these groundbreaking discoveries, and what they meant for science and physics in the years that followed.

But as dismal as the world might seem sometimes, there’s still so much joy to be found in the world of science, the world of physics, and the glorious intricacies of the vast, complex, beautiful and mysterious universe we all live in. And the human ingenuity that has gone into allowing us to discover that, to even make strides towards understanding it, is one of the best parts of our species. Both of these discoveries, chirped pulse amplification and optical tweezers, represent clever tools that we have developed to allow us to probe and explore and understand nature, and there can be few greater undertakings than that. So here’s to the scientists who won the Nobel Prize in 2018, for giving us the tools that can help in many more discoveries to come.

That’s all for this special episode. Remember, if you like the show, which consumes my nights and weekends with its fiery lust, there are plenty of things you can do to support us. Visit the website at where you’ll find a contact form: I read all your email and try to respond where I can, but it’s really the best part about doing this show is actually hearing from listeners, so you can know that if nothing else you’ll make my day by sending your message. Go ahead, punk. There you’ll also find a form where you can donate to the show, or purchase some of our previous bonus episodes. There’s a Patreon where you can subscribe to do that automatically in the future, so you don’t even need to fiddle with Paypal. You can follow us on Twitter @physicspod and on Facebook, Physical Attraction. You can go listen to our sister show, and by our sister show I mean the other thing I record in my free time, Autocracy Now – at – we’re just coming to the end of Stalin’s life, which is a great relief both for me personally and the people of the world in general. But, as I always say, the best thing you can possibly do to support is to tell your friends about the show, and to tell them to listen. I have printed up thousands of postcard-sized flyers, so if you really want to go the extra mile or just give people some merchandise with our logo on, get in touch with me and I can send some of those over to you!