Hello, and welcome to Physical Attraction.
We produce some pretty eclectic material, mostly surrounding physics, but science, technology, climate change, and even economics have all been major focuses in the past. Here's a guide to some of the episodes we've done so far and what words to search for to track them down:
- A series on the life-cycles of stars (Hot and Heavy)
- The Climate 201 series, covering topics in climate change - from the different greenhouse gases , carbon budgets, and climate scenarios
- A massive series on possible apocalyptic events (the TEOTWAWKI specials) including earthquakes, supervolcanoes, pandemics (natural and engineered), nuclear war, artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare, climate change, peak oil, malthusian collapse, and asteroid collisions... as well as how we deal with these issues in general!
- A series on the Laws of Thermodynamics
- A series, Concealing a Hadron, about basic particle physics
- A massive, 25-part series on the history and future of nuclear fusion, from the 19th century to the 21st!
- A four-part series on the life and times of Isaac Newton as well as some interviews with a leading Newton scholar
- A two-part series on dimensional analysis and the unit systems that we use in science, which is honestly much more fascinating than it sounds
- A two-part series on the future of work and another two-part series on malicious uses for artificial intelligence
- A four-part series about technology, inequality, and global catastrophic risks
- Ongoing scientific and, um, opinion coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic
- A two-part episode speculating on the meaning of life and what it might mean in the fantasy techno-utopias of the future
- A series about Softbank's $100bn Vision Fund, which aimed to revolutionise the future of tech, and where it - and the wider technology industry - went wrong
- The UK's Citizen Assembly on Climate Change
There have also been a variety of standalone episodes on topics ranging from superconductivity and the direct detection of dark matter to interstellar travel.
We produce a kind of bonus episode occasionally called "Thermonuclear Takes" (or TT). These episodes cover stories that are in the science and technology press - anything that's caught my eye that I think is worth discussing, or that relates to topics which we've been talking about on the show recently. The idea of these episodes is that they are slightly looser, slightly less scripted, and intended to be more "timely" and less "timeless". It doesn't always work out that way!
In addition to the scripted episodes that we've produced, we have also done many interviews with experts, including:
- Amy Westervelt on Drilled, the True Crime podcast about climate denial
- Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, on the future of humanity, the future of science, and cosmology
- Martin Pfieffer on the anthropology of nuclear weapons
- Professor Rebecca Willis on the democratic challenge of climate change
- Stephen Schwartz on the history of nuclear weapons
- Phil Torres on existential risks and the end of the world (twice)!
- Gemma Milne on technological hype and how to see past it
- Ben Franta on climate science, divestment, and the history of fossil fuel companies
- CJ Schilt on the life and times of Isaac Newton
- Britt Wray on CRISPR and de-extinction
- Brynley Pearlstone on gravitational waves and science communication
- Professor Steve Keen on the appallingly bad neoclassical economics of climate change
- Edward Ongweso Jr. of This Machine Kills on Softbank, Masoyoshi Son's visions of a Singularity, and "the world made ripe for his taking"
- Paul Gambill, CEO of Nori, a carbon dioxide removal startup
- Felicity Boardman on the ethics of genome editing and genetic screening
- Simon Ings on Stalin and the Scientists - science in the soviet union
- Zach Weinersmith on the technologies that will be here... Soonish
- Kit Yates on the Maths of Life and Death and COVID-19
- Justin Parisi and Jason Ball on the Future of Fusion Energy
- Kate Devlin on "Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots"
- Stuart Armstrong on AI and the Future of Humanity
- Lewis Dartnell on what would be needed to reboot civilization, and the prospects for alien life in the Universe
- Stewart Lansley on Universal Basic Income
- Robert Elliott Smith on "Rage Inside the Machine" - Algorithmic Bias, and what it means to be human
- Christian Reilly and Patricia Pino from the Modern Monetary Theory podcast on Modern Monetary Theory
Support The Show
If you enjoy what we do here, you can help us keep the lights on!
You can donate to the show via:
and for bonus and early episodes - often months in advance of publication for free! - you can subscribe to the Patreon feed at
Doing so will cost a tiny fee - as little as $1/month - and you will help to support the show, independent podcasting, and get access to many early and bonus episodes besides.
If you are interested in sponsoring the show, please get in touch via the contact form and we can discuss this in more detail.
But the best things you can do is listen, enjoy, and tell other people about the show. Whisper it, shout it, badger them until they listen; that kind of thing. Because if everyone who listens tells one other person about it, within thirty episodes, I will have a trillion listeners. That's the power of exponential growth.
Finally, I have been publishing some of the transcripts of the episodes over at Medium. Here is a partial index of published transcripts:
Climate 201: Project Drawdown’s Climate Solutions
Climate 201: What on Earth is a Carbon Budget?
Climate 201: What’s Driving Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
Climate 201: What On Earth is a Climate Change Scenario?
Climate 201: What on Earth are Greenhouse Gases?
DESERTEC and the dream of a Solar Sahara — podcast script edition
Subprime Attention Crisis and the Timebomb at the Heart of the Internet — Interview with Tim Hwang…
UK Citizens’ Assembly on Climate
Softbank’s Blurry Vision: Parts I-VI
Interview with Lord Martin Rees — Tran
The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories in US Public Life
Direct Detection of Dark Matter
Technology, inequality, and global catastrophic risks
COVID-19 and Climate Change: Parallels
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Podcast Script
Who Wants to Live Forever?
Drexler’s Model of CAIS
What Four-Year-Olds Can do That AI Can’t
Nuclear Fusion: The Last 20 Episodes [Podcast Scripts]
Nuclear Fusion, Episode IV: Teller’s Dream
Nuclear Fusion: The Semi-Empirical Mass Formula
Nuclear Fusion, Episodes I and II
Free Energy Scams (Episode Scripts)
The Laws of Thermodynamics [Podcast Scripts]
Interstellar, Starshot The Challenges of Interstellar Travel , the Starshot Project
Malicious AI Report
Nobel Prize 2017 Edition, Podcast Transcri
Concealing a Hadron — Particle Physics
Hothouse Earth and Heatwaves
Dimensional Analysis and Units
How Can We Save The World? Existential risks, and the philosophy of the end
TEOTWAWKI Bonus: Failed Predictions
The Rise and Fall of Nectome [Podcast Transcript]
We Can Always Shoot Them Later — 2018 Podcast Transcript
Stephen Hawking, The Voice of Physics [Podcast Transcript]
TEOTWAWKI Bonus: Alien Attack
TEOTWAWKI I: Nuclear Weapons
TEOTWAWKI II: Climate Change, Ecotastrophe
TEOTWAWKI Episode 3 — The Singularity (2017 Podcast Script)
TEOTWAWKI 4) Pandemics, Natural and Bioengineered (2017 Podcast Script)
TEOTWAWKI 5: Peak Oil (2017 Podcast Transcript)
TEOTWAWKI 7: Supervolcanoes (2017
TEOTWAWKI 8: Cyberwarfare (2017 Podcast Transcript)
[Only partial transcript available]
TEOTWAWKI 9: It Came From Outer Space (2017 Podcast Transcript)
TEOTWAWKI 10: Earthquakes (2017 Podcast Transcript)
Dimensional Analysis and Units
Isaac Newton (Episodes I-IV): Podcast Scripts
Fermi and Drake (2017 podcast script)
Extremely Thermonuclear Takes: Is There Life on Venus?
Progress on a post-COVID Green Stimulus: Physical Attraction Podcast Script
Technology, Inequality and Global Catastrophic Risks: Podcast Script
Will COVID-19 be a turning point on climate change?
Rutherford’s Atom — Podcast Script
The Psychology of The End
Good Vibrations: The Simple Harmonic Oscillator
Spontaneous Emission: The Radiation Episode
Hot and Heavy — The story of Stellar Formation
Stay safe and be kind to each other.