Science and Nature

PBS Space Time

PBS Space Time explores the outer reaches of space, the craziness of astrophysics, the possibilities of sci-fi, and anything else you can think of beyond Planet Earth. Host Matt O'Dowd breaks down the both the basic and incredibly complex sides of space and time.

What If the Galactic Habitable Zone LIMITS Intelligent Life?

14m 48s

Our solar system is a tiny bubble of habitability suspended in a vast universe that mostly wants to kill us. In fact, a good fraction of our own galaxy turns out to be utterly uninhabitable, even for sun—like stellar systems. Is this why .. most of us .. haven’t seen aliens?

Episodes

  • What If the Galactic Habitable Zone LIMITS Intelligent Life?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What If the Galactic Habitable Zone LIMITS Intelligent Life?

    S8 E15 - 14m 48s

    Our solar system is a tiny bubble of habitability suspended in a vast universe that mostly wants to kill us. In fact, a good fraction of our own galaxy turns out to be utterly uninhabitable, even for sun—like stellar systems. Is this why .. most of us .. haven’t seen aliens?

  • Space DOES NOT Expand Everywhere: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Space DOES NOT Expand Everywhere

    S8 E14 - 13m 51s

    Space is big, and it’s getting bigger. But where does all that new space actually come from? And is it popping into existence all around you right now? Is that why the remote control is always further away than I thought?

  • How the Higgs Mechanism Give Things Mass: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How the Higgs Mechanism Give Things Mass

    S8 E13 - 17m 26s

    Fermilab physicists really care about the mass of the W boson. They spent nearly a decade recording collisions in the Tevatron collider and another decade analyzing the data. This culminated in the April 7 announcement that this obscure particle’s mass seems to be heavier than expected. Understanding why this particle even has mass was one of the most important breakthroughs in our understanding.

  • Does the Universe Create Itself?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Does the Universe Create Itself?

    S8 E12 - 13m 46s

    Imagine you’re leading a game of 20 questions and you forget the thing you chose half way through. You have to keep answering yesses and nos and hope that you think of something that’s consistent with all your previous questions before the game is done. Well it could be that’s what the entire universe is doing. I hope it thinks of something good before we run out of questions.

  • Could The Universe Be Inside A Black Hole?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Could The Universe Be Inside A Black Hole?

    S8 E11 - 12m 47s

    What is inside a black hole? Inevitable crushing doom? Gateways to other universes? Weird, multidimensional libraries? If you’ve ever wanted to know then you might be in luck - Some physicists have argued that you’re inside one right now.

  • Where Is The Center of The Universe?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Where Is The Center of The Universe?

    S8 E10 - 14m 21s

    We ask a simple-seeming question that will lead to so pretty wacky places. The question is this: If the universe has a center, where is it?

  • What If Charge is NOT Fundamental?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What If Charge is NOT Fundamental?

    S8 E9 - 13m 47s

    If you've studied any physics you know that like charges repel and opposite charges attract. But why? It's as though this thing - electric charge - is as fundamental a property of an object as its mass. It just sort of ... is. Well it turns out if you dig deep enough, the fundamental-ness of charge unravels, and in many things, including mass itself, are unraveled with it.

  • Is the Proxima System Our Best Hope For Another Earth?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Is the Proxima System Our Best Hope For Another Earth?

    S8 E8 - 15m 33s

    At just four light years away, Proxima Centauri is our closest solar neighbor. The recent discovery of the new exoplanet Proxima D, has reopened the discussion of whether the proxima system is our best chance at reaching another Earth. How did we discover Proxima D? How do we know what the conditions are on planets so far away? Watch the episode to learn more.

  • Is The Wave Function The Building Block of Reality?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Is The Wave Function The Building Block of Reality?

    S8 E6 - 13m 31s

    Objective Collapse Theories offer a explanation of quantum mechanics that is at once brand new and based in classical mechanics. It’s no big deal for particles to be in multiple different states at the same time, or to teleport between locations, or to influence each other faster than light. But somehow, none of this strangeness makes its way to the familiar scale of human beings.

  • How Does Gravity Escape A Black Hole?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Does Gravity Escape A Black Hole?

    S8 E5 - 12m 36s

    Fact: in a black hole, all of the mass is concentrated at the singularity at the very center. Fact: every black hole singularity is surrounded by an event horizon. Nothing can escape from within the event horizon unless it can travel faster than light. Fact: gravity travels at the speed of light. So how does a black hole manage to communicate its gravitational force to the outside universe?

  • How To Build The Universe in a Computer: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How To Build The Universe in a Computer

    S8 E4 - 12m 26s

    We routinely simulate the universe on all of its scales, from planets to large fractions of the cosmos. We’re going to see how it’s possible to build a universe in a computer - and see whether there’s a limit to what we can simulate.

  • How To Simulate The Universe With DFT: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How To Simulate The Universe With DFT

    S8 E3 - 14m 14s

    If you used every particle in the observable universe to do a full quantum simulation, how big would that simulation be? At best a large molecule. That’s how insanely information dense the quantum wave function really is. And yet we routinely simulate systems with thousands, even millions of particles. How? By cheating. Using the ultimate compression algorithm: Density Functional Theory (DFT).

Extras + Features

  • Quantum Physics in a Mirror Universe: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Quantum Physics in a Mirror Universe

    S5 - 12m 19s

    When you look in mirror, and see what you think is a perfect reflection, you might be looking at universe whose laws are fundamentally different.

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