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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 19, 2018

We have a special guest on the show today - Stephen Schwartz. Stephen is an expert on nuclear weapons; he has been studying nuclear weapons policy, particularly in the US, for decades. His book - The Atomic Audit - was the first ever survey of the true financial cost of nuclear weapons; he has been the editor and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who manage the famous Doomsday clock and publish scholarly and popular literature on existential threats including nuclear weapons. He edited the Non-Proliferation review, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Middlebury - he also runs an excellent social media feed on Twitter @AtomicAnalyst where he keeps us all up to date on nuclear weapons and political developments. I was delighted to have him on the show: we sat down for an interview about nukes in the modern era and under Trump, the real financial cost of nuclear weapons, the biggest risks that they pose, dispelling nuclear myths, and what we can do to help keep our society safer from these risks. I also find out why he tried to position his college to stock up on suicide pills in the 1980s. I hope you enjoy.


You can follow us on Twitter @physicspod, we have a Facebook page if you're still on that website, and you can always contact us with your comments, questions, and concerns via the contact form over at; I read everything and respond to everything that makes sense, and if you want to tell me what you'd like to hear from the show, I'd love to hear it. You can donate to the show via links on the website to help us cover hosting costs and in case you think it's worth a few dollars, pounds, yen or euros for hours of free, independent content. If you don't want to go through the hassle of doing that, though, please do tell as many people as you can about the show. When we come back, there's going to be an overview of the series that we're just emerged from. Episodes include the apocalypses that didn't happen, the ways we might hope to avoid them in the future, and where to go next.