90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Physics On The Fringe

Physics on the fringe. The exotic history of amateur explanations of the universe.

A plasma ball. (Wysz/Flickr)

A plasma ball. (Wysz/Flickr)

Late at night, while you’re asleep, guys with no PhDs sit around trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe. Guys like Jim Carter in his trailer court on the Green River Gorge in Washington State. Doing physics on the fringe. Ever since Copernicus, science has moved in on religion to explain the cosmos.

To frame and map reality. To some ordinary folks, that is too important to leave to a priesthood of science stars. So they dig in. With some very wild ideas. Are they wrong?

This hour On Point: physics on the fringe, and the exotic realm of amateur explanations of the universe.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Margaret Wertheim, author of “Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything.”

C Segment: How The Hippies Saved Physics

David Kaiser, physicist and science historian, head of the “Science, Technology, and Society,” program at MIT. He’s the author of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival.

Margaret Wertheim's TED talk
Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 28, 2014
Kaname Hayashi, a project leader of Humanoid Robots "Pepper," talks with the robot at SoftBank Mobile shop in Tokyo, Friday, June 6, 2014. The cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions has been unveiled in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son who says robots should be tender and make people smile. (AP)

Robot love, robot work, “killer robots” – we get the latest on robots moving deeper into life.

Nov 28, 2014
Poet Malcolm London. (Courtesy Malcolm London)

From Chicago, a young, new poet gives voice to one of America’s great cities, and its tough streets. Malcolm London joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 28, 2014
Poet Malcolm London. (Courtesy Malcolm London)

From Chicago, a young, new poet gives voice to one of America’s great cities, and its tough streets. Malcolm London joins us.

 
Nov 28, 2014
Kaname Hayashi, a project leader of Humanoid Robots "Pepper," talks with the robot at SoftBank Mobile shop in Tokyo, Friday, June 6, 2014. The cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions has been unveiled in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son who says robots should be tender and make people smile. (AP)

Robot love, robot work, “killer robots” – we get the latest on robots moving deeper into life.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Luxury
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Our three Thanksgiving chefs offer up their best bets for delicious, last-minute holiday helpers, including a crunchy celery salad and maple glazed carrots.

More »
Comment
 
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
1 Comment