Actually, no, he said, “Study math, kids!” and that’s the problem. Because I don’t really do maths. Words? Sure, no problem but maths, or indeed, math?* No thanks. Which is a shame because maths is the basis of science and science is the basis of awesome, so it’s always felt a little like I’m missing out.
( * Yeah, I don’t get why Americans say “math” and not “maths” either; after all you wouldn’t say something “You should study mathematic”, would you? Even in America? – ed )
Enter, stage left, The Titanium Physicists . They have a plan. The Titanium Physicists is a podcast run by Doctor Ben Tippett, a physicist who is as wholeheartedly geeky as he is Canadian. Ben has written papers on superhero physics, zombies (of course) and most memorably proving that the events of HP Lovecraft story Call Of Cthulhu are scientifically possible. He’s endlessly enthusiastic, very funny and spends at least as much time thinking about who’d win in a fight between the Thing and the Hulk as most people. Just, I suspect with more diagrams.
Ben is also the head of a veritable Impossible Mission Force of scientists, a constantly rotating team of geniuses who’s different specialities include accretion discs around black holes, relativity, experimental cosmology and the speed at which the universe is expanding. Each episode also features a special guest including authors like Kelly Link, Cory Doctorow and Elizabeth Bear, comedians like the legendary Greg Proops and journalists and podcasters like Anne Shibata Casselman, Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast and… me, in my capacity as host of Pseudopod, the weekly horror fiction podcast. In each case, the guest poses questions on a set topic to the physicists and they explain the wonder and awe of the universe to us hapless mortals with humour, enthusiasm and in my case, by using Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing Danny DeVito into a black hole to explain time dilation.
They’re brilliant. Literally, they’re all massively qualified scientists, and I’ve never encountered a science podcast so boundlessly enthusiastic, wilfully silly (seriously, I laughed most of the way through the show I appeared on with Ben, David Tsang and Joceylyn Read) and hugely educational. So if you have a question, if it’s scientific, and if you have access to the internet, go ask the TItianium Physicists. They can help. And they’ll probably use Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny De Vito to do it.
• Titanium Physicists Podcast: http://titaniumphysicists.brachiolopemedia.com
• Ben’s Call of Cthulhu paper: http://titaniumphysicists.brachiolopemedia.com/2012/10/29/ia-ia-cthulhu-fhtagn/
• Kelly Link: http://kellylink.net/
• Cory Doctorow: http://boingboing.net/author/cory_doctorow_1
• Elizabeth Bear: http://www.elizabethbear.com/
• Greg Proops: http://www.gregproops.com/blog/smartest-man-in-the-world-podcast/
• Anne Shibata Casselman: http://www.annecasselman.com/
• Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey: http://hppodcraft.com/
• Pseudopod: www.pseudopod.org