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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 12, 2018

One of the best and most enjoyable parts of hosting this show is when my favourite authors are kind enough to speak to me. I'd like to thank Simon for an excellent, enlightening, entertaining discussion: if you enjoy listening to it half as much as I enjoyed the conversation, you're in for a real treat.

Today, as part of our series on science in the USSR, I'm delighted to say that we have an interview with Simon Ings, the author of a wonderful book on the subject - Stalin and the Scientists. Simon began his career writing science fiction stories, novels and films writing books on perception (The Eye: A Natural History), 20th-century radical politics (The Weight of Numbers), the shipping system (Dead Water) and augmented reality (Wolves). He co-founded and edited Arc magazine, a digital publication about the future, before joining New Scientist magazine as its arts editor, and writing Stalin and the Scientists. He very kindly agreed to be interviewed for our little show; as usual, I detained my guest for a very long time, and so I've split the interview into two parts.

The second part of our interview followed scientists through the Soviet Union's tumultuous time under Stalin - through the Gulags and the Great Terror, through the horrors of the Second World War and the Sharaskhi. We discuss the legacy of the Soviet Union and move towards what we can learn about science in our society today. 

If you want to find out more about Simon's work, you can buy Stalin and the Scientists online and at all good bookstores - and I highly recommend you do - and he's online at and also tweets @simonings.

As for us: follow the show @physicspod , or visit the website for more information at : there you'll find a contact form where you can bombard us with questions, comments, concerns, topic suggestions, guest suggestions, praise, anonymous threats - anything you like!

If you've enjoyed the show, you can help us a number of ways. We have a paypal donate link which you'll find on the site. You can subscribe to our Patreon. But most of all, please, please - tell as many people as possible to listen. Tie them down if necessary.