The History and Philosophy of Physics PodcastMay 24, 2021
Bonus 5: You Are My Sun-Line (Intelligent Speech Conference 2022)
Hello! It's been a while, but I'm back with some updates and with a new bonus episode for you all :)
I was happy to be invited back to the Intelligent Speech podcasting conference, held on June 25, 2022. I took part in the STEM roundtable discussion and also presented a talk entitled "You Are My Sun-Line: Solar Spectroscopy and an Early Spectroscope". I discuss the history of solar spectroscopy, from rainbows to Newton to intergalactic stellar analysis, as well as two 19th century spectroscopes held by the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge.
How do we know what stars are made of? What have lines got to do with it? This talk will answer these questions and more, with the help of a 19th century spectroscope (or two!).
You can watch the video recording on the Intelligent Speech Conference YouTube channel.
Bonus 4: Stein a Little Light
This bonus episode is about the photoelectric effect and features a couple revolutionary and Nobel prize winning concepts - the quantization of energy and of light. From the ultraviolet catastrophe to the revolutionary beginnings of modern physics. Grab a "quantum" coffee and give this episode a listen! (Also, Happy New Year!!)
012: Where Are We, Anyhow?
In this episode, I take a bit of a broader look at ancient Greece in the 7th - 4th centuries BCE (Archaic and Classical Greece) and discuss some of the reasons why natural philosophy arose here at this time.
011: Mix and Mingle Like Nothing is Single
This episode is about Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, the final Presocratic I'm planning on covering! He thought there was a little bit of everything in everything and that mind set the universe in motion. He also did some observational science and is credited as the first to correctly explain the cause of eclipses.
010: It's Elementary
This episode is about Empedocles, who tried to solve the Parmenidean problem in a different way than his near contemporaries - the atomists. Empedocles launched the ancient Greek theory of the four classical elements (earth, air, fire, and water).
009: The Original Atomic Age
Welcome to Season 2! This episode is on the original atomists, Leucippus and Democritus, and their original atomic theory from way back in the 5th century BCE. I discuss the nature of the void and ancient atoms, how they relate to the matter we can also sense, and how this theory relates to some of the work discussed earlier in the podcast (especially the work of Parmenides).
Announcement - Season 2
Hello again! It's been a while (sorry!), but I am finally back to producing podcast episodes and will start releasing them in a couple of weeks. This short announcement will have a bit more information about the (seasonal) release schedule for Season 2 and my exciting news about school next year :D
Bonus 3: Gender and Sexual Orientation Among STEM Nobel Prize Laureates
This is an audio-friendly version of the talk I gave at the UBC Gender Equity & STEM Virtual Conference on November 14, 2020.
One of the most famous awards in history, the Nobel prizes are given for the most important academic, cultural, and scientific advances around the world. Nobel laureates are some of the top scientists worldwide, however, of the 624 prizes in science awarded to date, only 23 have gone to women. The prizes also reflect the underrepresentation of other groups in scientific fields. There is a documented racial/ethnic disparity among laureates and there have been no LGBTQ+ Nobel laureates in science (though there have been 6 in Literature and 1 in Peace). Important groups of people are being left out of the prizes and their contributions to science are not being recognized through the Nobel program. In this short talk, I will discuss the Nobel prize statistics, some of the reasons for the disparities, as well as some actions that have been and can be taken to improve diversity among Nobel laureates.
Promo: UBC Gender Equity & STEM Virtual Conference
Since I don't yet have the next proper podcast episode recorded and ready, I wanted to share with you all one of the other things I've been working on the last little while. I'm the founder and president of a volunteer group called the UBC Young Women for STEM which seeks to reduce the gender gap in STEM. One of my group's events is an annual conference and this year's conference was postponed from March and transitioned online to make it safer.
Bonus 2: Four Women from Scientific History (Intelligent Speech Conference 2020)
This bonus episode is a recording of the talk I gave at the Intelligent Speech Summer 2020 online podcasting conference!
I speak about four women from scientific history: Hypatia of Alexandria, St. Hildegard of Bingen, Ada Lovelace, and Tu Youyou. They lived in time periods as far apart as Ancient Greece and the Modern Day and their work paved the way for women studying science today while changing science, and our world, for the better.
You can check out the video recording of the presentation on the Intelligent Speech Conference's YouTube channel (you can search it or just follow the link on the podcast's website and social media pages).
008: To Infinity and Absurdity
This episode is on Zeno of Elea (born c. 490 BCE) - student of Parmenides, namesake of the quantum Zeno effect, and originator of some puzzling paradoxes. I'll focus on Zeno's arguments against plurality and his paradoxes of motion as recorded by Simplicius and Aristotle.
007: He Never Changes His Mind
Let's get metaphysical! This episode focuses primarily on Parmenides (6th - mid-5th century BCE), the "father of metaphysics". He believed that a lot of what we see and believe in (concepts such as creation and movement) are actually an illusion and that reality is unchanging.
I'll discuss Parmenides's theory, argument, and influence and take some side-trips into the philosophy of physics - looking at theories of what was before the Big Bang and (my favourite topic) the nature of time!
006: He's Always Changing His Mind
Can you step in the same river twice? This episode will give an answer to this question by discussing Heraclitus, the "philosopher of flux". I'll focus mostly on his doctrines of flux and the unity of opposites, but also mention some of his writings on ethics, politics, and theology. Supposedly self-taught and quite critical of earlier thinkers, Heraclitus would influence a number of important Greek philosophers.
Bonus 1: The Most Epic Math Club Ever
This is a bonus episode on Pythagoreanism, AKA the Most Epic Math Club Ever. A religious cult and school of mathematics combined, Pythagoreanism has had a lasting impact on science and philosophy. I'll discuss the religious influences on Pythagoreanism, early Pythagorean beliefs, some of the most famous early Pythagoreans, its link to medieval European education, and its influence on some key thinkers during the Renaissance period. Join me this episode and learn how mathematics can purify your immortal soul!
005: That One Thing From Grade School Math
This episode focuses on Pythagoras of Samos (c. 590 - c. 470 BCE) - the man, the primarily myth, the legend with a golden thigh. A surprisingly controversial figure, what do we know or not know about the namesake for one of the most well-known theorems in all of mathematics?
004: All That Matter(s) Part 2
This episode continues Part 1's discussion of the first Greek philosophers with Anaximander ("father of cosmology") and Anaximenes (sadly, no catchy title) of Miletus.
003: All That Matter(s) Part 1
This episode and the following episode focus on the beginnings of Western philosophy in the Ionian city of Miletus. Part 1 is on Thales, the first known philosopher of the Greek tradition.
I also have an exciting announcement at the end about the upcoming Intelligent Speech Conference!
002: How to Philosophy??
This is another background episode, covering some "philosophy for science" that I think will be important. It focuses mainly on logic (deduction, induction) and the analysis of arguments.
001: Keeping Up with the Babylonians
This episode provides a bit of background to the history of physics. It focuses on the Babylonians and some of their important developments in the fields of mathematics and astronomy.
Welcome to The History and Philosophy of Physics Podcast! This episode is just a short introduction to the topic and why I was interested in starting up this project.