Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Physical Attraction

New? Head to the episode guide or drop us a line with the contact form.

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 

Mar 16, 2021

This week, we have a guest on the show - Rodrigo Aguilera. Specifically, we're talking to him about his book "The Glass Half-Empty: Debunking the Myth of Progress in the 21st Century". We shouldn't be happy with a narrow and limited definition of "progress" when we have the capacity to achieve so much more. But if we want to see things like the elimination of poverty, the application of human ingenuity and compassion and rationality and empathy towards solving the problems that exist in the world - this must begin with an accurate assessment of where we actually are, right now; what has led to progress in the past; and how we can get further in the future.


You're about to hear the second part of the interview, where we will dig into the flaws associated with "New Optimism" in more detail, and at the end we have a discussion about how we might hope to make the glass a little bit fuller in the future.