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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. 

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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 

Oct 14, 2020

Very excited to say we have a special guest on the show today. Tom Collina has had a long and storied career in nuclear disarmament for many years, in the Director of Policy at the Plougshares Fund, a non-profit foundation dedicated to trying to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons. With former Secretary of Defence Bill Perry, he has just written a book called "The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman To Trump", which is about the past, present, and future of nuclear weapons. This is an area long-term listeners will remember from our TEOTWAWKI series, and the interviews with Martin Pfeiffer and Stephen Schwartz.

If you're interested in this, there are plenty of things you can do. Ploughshares has their own podcast on nuclear issues, Press The Button, which Tom co-hosts, as does Bill Perry, "At The Brink", which both discuss incidents from nuclear history and nuclear policy in more detail. You can of course obtain the book The Button - there's also a great audiobook which I can personally attest is well-done. There's so much fascinating nuclear history and details of policy in there which we didn't have time to get to in this interview, so it's well worth your while to pick that book up. You can follow Tom Collina @TomCollina on Twitter, and you can get involved with the Ploughshares Foundation as well.

There are plenty of ways to stay engaged with these issues, but ultimately I think it is a question of demanding the simple changes that need to take place to make us all safer. We don't need ICBMs, we don't need first strike authority, and we don't need launch on warning: the world would be vastly better off without these things, and you could still easily have a nuclear deterrent that would be capable of retaliation.