Physics and Chemistry

Physics and Chemistry


Interviews with physicist and chemists about their new books.

Kevin Lambert, "Symbols and Things: Material Mathematics in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2021)

April 15, 2024

Symbols and Things

Kevin Lambert
Hosted by Cory Brunson

The stereotype of the solitary mathematician is widespread, but practicing users and producers of mathematics know well that our work depends heavily …

Claudia de Rham, "The Beauty of Falling: A Life in Pursuit of Gravity" (Princeton UP, 2024)

April 1, 2024

The Beauty of Falling

Claudia de Rham
Hosted by Mark Klobas

Claudia de Rham has been playing with gravity her entire life. As a diver, experimenting with her body's buoyancy in the Indian Ocean. As a pilot, soa…

Philip Goff, "Why? The Purpose of the Universe" (Oxford UP, 2023)

December 10, 2023

Why? The Purpose of the Universe

Philip Goff
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Does the universe have a purpose? If it does, how is this connected to the meaningfulness that we seek in our lives? In Why? The Purpose of the Univer…

Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer" (Vintage, 2006)

October 21, 2023

American Prometheus

Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
Hosted by Andrew Pace

The inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s major motion picture, Oppenheimer, this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography explores the life and times of J. R…

Herlinde Koelbl, "Fascination of Science: 60 Encounters with Pioneering Researchers of Our Time" (MIT Press, 2023)

September 8, 2023

Fascination of Science

Herlinde Koelbl
Hosted by Caleb Zakarin

An intimate collection of portraits of internationally renowned scientists and Nobel Prize winners, paired with interviews and personal stories. What …

Barbara Sattler, "The Concept of Motion in Ancient Greek Thought: Foundations in Logic, Method, and Mathematics" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

August 28, 2023

The Concept of Motion in Ancient Greek Thought

Barbara Sattler

Barbara M. Sattler's book The Concept of Motion in Ancient Greek Thought: Foundations in Logic, Method, and Mathematics (Cambridge UP, 2020) examines …

Vincanne Adams, "Glyphosate and the Swirl: An Agroindustrial Chemical on the Move" (Duke UP, 2023)

July 25, 2023

Glyphosate and the Swirl

Vincanne Adams

Vincanne Adams's book Glyphosate and the Swirl: An Agroindustrial Chemical on the Move (Duke UP, 2023) is part of a broader trend in anthropology that…

Janna Levin, "How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space" (Princeton UP, 2023)

July 15, 2023

How the Universe Got Its Spots

Janna Levin
Hosted by Mark Klobas

Is the universe infinite or just really big? With this question, cosmologist Janna Levin announces the central theme of this book, which established h…

Working on Mars: Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers

July 15, 2023

Working on Mars

William J. Clancey
Hosted by MIT Press

Geologists in the field climb hills and hang onto craggy outcrops; they put their fingers in sand and scratch, smell, and even taste rocks. Beginning …

Chris Impey, "Worlds Without End: Exoplanets, Habitability, and the Future of Humanity" (MIT Press, 2023)

June 16, 2023

Worlds Without End

Chris Impey
Hosted by Caleb Zakarin

The science of finding habitable planets beyond our solar system and the prospects for establishing human civilization away from our ever-less-habitab…

Athene Donald, "Not Just for the Boys: Why We Need More Women in Science" (Oxford UP, 2023)

June 7, 2023

Not Just for the Boys

Athene Donald

Why are girls discouraged from doing science? Why do so many promising women leave science in early and mid-career? Why do women not prosper in the sc…

Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, "Split and Splice: A Phenomenology of Experimentation" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

May 20, 2023

Split and Splice

Hans-Jörg Rheinberger
Hosted by Victor Monnin

In Split & Splice: A Phenomenology of Experimentation (University of Chicago Press, 2023), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, director emeritus at the Max Planck …

Felix Flicker, "The Magick of Physics: Uncovering the Fantastical Phenomena in Everyday Life" (Simon and Schuster, 2023)

May 2, 2023

The Magick of Physics

Felix Flicker
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

If you were to present the feats of modern science to someone from the past, those feats would surely be considered magic. In The Magick of Physics: U…

Seeing Truth in Physics: A Conversation with Professor of Physics Stephon Alexander

April 6, 2023

Seeing Truth in Physics

Stephon Alexander
Hosted by Alexis Boylan

Stephon Alexander talks about a better way of thinking about the interconnections between music, physics, and creativity and how as someone often seen…

Brian Villmoare, "The Evolution of Everything: The Patterns and Causes of Big History" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

April 3, 2023

The Evolution of Everything

Brian Villmoare
Hosted by Galina Limorenko

Big History seeks to retell the human story in light of scientific advances by such methods as radiocarbon dating and genetic analysis. Brian Villmoar…

Water Is in the Air: Physics, Politics, and Poetics of Water in the Arts

March 30, 2023

Water Is in the Air

Hosted by MIT Press

Our contributors discuss their work in the arts and sciences, which is showcased in the new article collection, Water Is in the Air: Physics, Politics…

Art and Atoms

March 27, 2023

Art and Atoms

Hosted by MIT Press

Our contributors discuss the connections between science, specifically chemistry, and art, and talk about how materials traditionally identified with …

Star Ladder or, How Far Away are the Stars?

March 9, 2023

Star Ladder or, How Far Away are the Stars?

Hosted by Zachary Davis

Scientists discovered that some stars have heartbeats and that some of them can be used to measure the longest distances that exist. This episode was…

Mohs or, How Hard Are Rocks?

March 4, 2023

Mohs or, How Hard Are Rocks?

Hosted by Zachary Davis

We’re hitting up against the very nature of measurement: How can we best describe the world around us, in its infinite complexity, with finite measure…

Gravity's Kiss: The Detection of Gravitational Waves

March 3, 2023

Gravity's Kiss

Harry Collins
Hosted by MIT Press

The detection of gravitational waves in 2015 rocked the science community. In this episode, Chris Gondek spoke with author Harry Collins, whose book G…