Explorations with Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, science program. GUEST: KEN CROSWELL, a Berkeley astrophysicist, author of "Universe at Midnight: observations illuminating the cosmos." [Free Press, 2001; ISBN: 0684859319] Discussion: theory of the creation and death of the universe and how technology is advancing the field of cosmology. Specific topics and biographical figures addressed in the interview are: 1) The new generation of telescopes such those found at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii 2) The success of the mars Odyssey spacecraft 3) Amatuer astronomy 4) The Loeonid, Perseus, and Geminid meteor showers 5) The Pluto planet/giant comet debate 6) Extra-solar planets 7) The observations of Edwin Hubble and Vesto Slipher regarding galaxies and the universe 8) The expanding universe and attempts to calculate the age of the universe 9) Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, dark energy and the cosmological constant 10) Alan Guth and the Inflationary Universe Theory 11) Olber's Paradox 12) The flat geometry of the universe 13) Wormholes and Hyperspace Other topics covered: George W. Bush spewed out provocative rhetoric as part of his State of the Union Address, referring to an "Axis of Evil" and specifically implicating Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as members. Though the United States has the right to self-defense the overemphasis on military might and unilateral action lend themselves to an historic parallel with the fall of the Roman Empire. The over-reliance on oil has distorted US foreign policy and created conflict points that could be solved through diplomatic rather than military means. Are US citizens receiving the kind of security they want? NASA has allocated $46.5 million for the development of nuclear powered electric rockets and $79 million to build more atomic powered generators. Environmentalists are concerned about potential meltdowns en route or in space rain down on populated areas on Earth. Examples of nuclear powered satellites that have already plunged back to the earth, such as COSMOS 954 and SNAP are cited. Scientists in Stockholm, Sweden have glimpsed into the working brain and seen how placebos can reduce pain. By use of PET scans, they found that the area of the brain that was excited by the painkillers was also excited by the placebo. It is hoped that this research may prove useful where painkillers have lost their effectiveness over time. A new study involving 3,234 people over age 60 shows that durgs like Metformin may reduce the incidence of Type II diabetes as much as diet or exercise. Researchers found that users of drug had a 71% reduction in the onset of the disease as compared to individuals who did not diet or exercise. Some scientists believe that schizophrenia is linked to Vitamin D deficiency. English immigrants from nations around the equator have a 4 times increased risk of suffering from schizophrenia when compared to immigrants from other parts of the world. Theories are that lack of sunlight may contribute to the increased incidence, though many factors including genetic ones may be involved. A caller asks Michio to define String Field Theory. He begins by describing the existing theories such as the Quantum Theory which explains physical phenomena on a very small scale, and General Relativity which explains it on a very large scale. String Theory states that all particles in nature are vibrations of very tiny strings. An analogy is used to help visualize it: Notes of the strings correspond to thousands of different subatomic particles, melodies to atoms and molecules, the laws of physics to harmony, and the universe is a symphony. The current state of the theory is in a form that renders modern mathematics insufficient when used in attempts to unravel its features.
Explorations With Dr. Michio Kaku - February 12, 2002
PRA Archive #:
Date Recorded on:
February 12, 2002
Date Broadcast on:
February 12, 2002
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Los Angeles, Pacifica Radio Archive, 2002
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