Though it sometimes pains me to repeat material, I’ve been preoccupied with work and other non-radio commitments, so I’ve had to raid the archives in the final weeks of aught-twelve. Rest assured, I’m filling the hopper with new material for ‘13. Here’s what we’ve heard in the last couple of shows:
Dec 30, 2012: Getting seriously soulful with singer Gregory Porter
Dec 23, 2012: Mapping the brain with neuroscientist Sebastian Seung
Dec 16, 2012: Bringing music to life (and vice-versa) with composer Elena Kats-Chernin
Dec 9, 2012: Searching for happiness with filmmaker Roko Belic
Did Peter Higgs get teary when the probable discovery of the eponymous Higgs boson was announced at 0700 GMT, or was that just a (non-elementary) particle in his eye?
In any case, remember that the boson is important because it’s a manifestation of the mass-conferring Higgs field, which is a bigger deal than the particle itself. We’ve talked about the Higgs (particle and field) on a number of previous shows, including the two below. Though the Higgs is only explicitly discussed late in the conversations, the interviews as a whole provide good context on why the dang thing matters in the first place:
- Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek on the origins of mass and the fields (including the Higgs) that pervade not-so-empty space. Higgs discussion at 39:30.
- Particle physicist Bruce Schumm on the standard model of particle physics, of which the Higgs has been a key missing piece. Higgs discussion at 53:41. This show was part 2 of a series on the standard model. Here’s Pt 1.
Some reasons why the Higgs is cause for giddiness among physicists:
- ≥ $9 billion – the rough cost of the Large Hadron Collider, which this discovery does much to justify.
- Stunning confirmation from nature that particle physics is and has been on the right track. The inexpressible thrill of shouting a question into the darkness year after year and then, one day, hearing it whisper back, “Yes!”
I’ve always dug these lines from Richard Wilbur’s poem Shad-Time, and they’ve been echoing in my head since I heard the news:
It is a day to guess
What wide-deploying motives of delight
Concert great fields of emptiness
Beneath the mesh of sight
I barely have time for this radio show, so I figured Twitter would be one more demand I couldn’t keep up with. I also dreaded the debasement of begging for followers, and I don’t even like that little bird. But I can’t resist any longer, so now the 7th Avenue Project has its own feed: https://twitter.com/7thaveproject. And yes, since human worth is now measured in follower count, I’m asking you to click the bird’s arse below.
Over the past three weeks we’ve been airing what some in radio euphemistically call “encore performances” (reruns). Don’t worry, new material’s coming next week and beyond. Here’s what we’ve featured in the meantime:
June 3, 2012: Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll on the nature of time.
May 27, 2012: Media-watcher Brooke Gladstone on journalism’s checkered history.
May 20, 2012: Comedian Kumail Nanjiani on life and laughs in Pakistan and the U.S.