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231 – The Future Circular Collider

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(average: 4.41)
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Particle accelerators are the backbone of today’s particle physics research and help us understand the smallest building blocks our world is made of. To understand this deeper, more powerful accelerators are needed, beyond what is possible with today’s LHC. The world’s physics community is continuously running studies to explore science questions and evaluate the required accelerators; one of those the studies is the Future Circular Collider study led by CERN. In this episode we discuss the science questions as well as the core engineering challenges with the two leaders of the FCC study, Michael Benedikt and Frank Zimmermann.

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229 – (Ant-)Arctic Sea Ice

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(average: 4.33)
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The sea ice in the arctic and antarctic regions of the earth is an especially sensitive indicator of the earth’s climate, and in particular, the current overall atmospheric temperature of the planet. It was recently reported to have reached a new low. Our guest, NASA’s Walt Meier explains why this is the case and which processes govern the increase or decrease of the ice. We then discuss how the ice mass is measured based on satellite and how its thickness is estimated based mostly on in-situ measurements. We cover climate modeling and its connection to sea ice and conclude with an outlook on future research.

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197 – The European XFEL

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(average: 4.31)
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The European XFEL is an x-ray free electron laser currently being built in Hamburg. In this episode we talk with Joachim Schulz about the project itself, the design and construction of the laser and the experiment hall, as well as about some of the science that is expected to be done with XFEL once it is finished.

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196 – Lasers

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(average: 4.32)
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In this episode we cover the fundamentals of lasers with our guest, Fabian Reichert, who works at the Center for Free Electron Lasers at DESY in Hamburg. We cover various ways of how laser beams are produced and what distinguishes lasers from other light sources. We also cover a few application areas of lasers as well as techniques for pulsing lasers.

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191 – String Theory

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(average: 4.62)
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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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