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191 – String Theory

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(average: 4.70)
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String Theory is currently one of the most important theories in fundamental physics, with applications to a variety of subfields including black holes and cosmology, nuclear physics others. This episode is an introduction to the core ideas of the field, as well as to some of its applications. Our guest is Alexander Westphal of Germany’s particle physics lab DESY. He does a wonderful job of introducing the very abstract topic in a way that could be understood by non-physicists, at least to some degree.

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157 – Fusion at ITER

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(average: 4.83)
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This episode is about ITER, the international project to build an experimental fusion plant in southern France. While on vacation in that area, I had the opportunity to visit the site and talk to Richard Pitts about many aspects of the project. We focus mostly on the physics and the engineering challenges, but also address some of the organizational aspects of this huge scientific project. Note that this episode is essentially a continuation of omega tau 022 – Nuclear Fusion at MPI für Plasmaphysik; I recommend to listen to this episode first, if you haven’t done so yet.

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135 – High-Energy Neutrinos and the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

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(average: 4.67)
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This episode covers the discovery (strictly speaking, “strong evidence”) for high-energy (astrophysical) neutrinos. The discovery was announced on 22 November 2013. In this episode we talk with DESY‘s Markus Ackermann about the the evidence for astrophysical neutrinos and why they are important. We also discuss how the the IceCube Neutrino Observatory works, which opened up this new field of astronomy. We conclude with a brief conversation about traveling to, and living at the south pole, where IceCube is located.

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134 – Das Cherenkov Telescope Array

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(average: 4.47)
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In dieser Episode unterhalten wir uns im Stefan Schlenstedt vom DESY über Kosmische (Gamma-)Strahlung und das in der Entwicklung befindliche Cherenkov Telescope Array. In der Episode sprechen wir über die Grundlegende Physik der kosmischen Strahlung, welche Forschungsziele mit Gammastrahlenobservatorien verfolgt werden sowie die Herausforderungen bei der Entwicklung des CTA.

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102 – Discovering the Higgs

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(average: 4.81)
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This episode wraps up our recent coverage on particle physics by discussing in some detail the recent discovery of a Higgs particle. Our guest in this episode is Kerstin Borras who heads up the CMS group at DESY. We recap the role of the Higgs very briefly, look in some detail at the two detectors CMS and ATLAS, discuss the importance of the famous five sigma and look at the process by which such a discovery is confirmed and (re-)checked.

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