I wanted to make an episode on a topic from the history of science for a long time, finally it happened. This is an interview with Etienne Benson, professor of the history of science and technology, on the history of how people of the western world have been seeing, studying and explaining their environment. We talk mostly about his book, Surroundings, but also briefly about his current field of study.
A quick update on why there’s so few episodes from Markus and Nora. In English and German.
In July I visited the Airbus Helicopters factory in Donauwörth and spent time with Antoine van Gent, the Head of Development Flight and Ground testing for Germany. We talked about the helicopter flight testing process, some of the cultural aspects, the collaboration between pilots and the flight test engineer as well as his participation in a landing of an H145 on top of the Aconcagua mountain.
The climate situatation is getting more and more dire, and in order to reach the goals the international community has set for themselves, engineering solutions seem increasingly necessary. After talking about solar geoengineering in episode 385, we will look at direct air capture in this episode. Direct Air Capture is a family of technologies that allow the extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere. My guest Peter Psarras explains the technology, the economics and also the political and moral challenges associated with the technology.
The root cause of global warming is that more and more of the energy supplied by the sun is captured by the atmosphere because of increased amounts of CO2 and other climate gases. One way of fixing this is to make sure that more of that energy is reflected and never even penetrates the lower atmosphere. Solar geoengineering proposes to put particles into the upper atmosphere to increase its reflectivity and thereby reduce the temperature. In the episode I talk with Harvard’s David Keith about some of the technical aspects, which role this technique can play in the overall fight against climate change, some of the political challenges as well as current avenues of research.