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Big Science FM
A stochastic romp through the big ideas that make the Universe tick
A stochastic romp through the big ideas that make the Universe tick

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Schrodinger's cat — wanted dead or alive... but not BOTH!
Niels Bohr once remarked that those who aren't shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it. This didn't stop the Copenhagen school of quantum mechanics asserting that until the certain characteristics of an object, such as its speed and it's position in space, are measured, those characteristics don't meaningfully exist.

As nuts as this sounds, most physicists have no problem with this interpretation. Or at least have become numb to just how weird its implications are. But what does all this actually mean? Is it possible for a cat to be simultaneously dead AND alive, as the Copenhagen interpretation suggests?

Our guests this week, physicists Terry Rudolph and Matt Pusey, have some ideas. Prepare to be shocked. Or possibly not.
That's tonight at 9pm (London time) on Resonance 104.4 FM. To listen live, go to

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Better living through SCIENCE!

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UK may test new "fast" reactor that gets rid of plutonium--the "element from hell" that can be used to make bombs.

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Racism treated with heart drugs?
Firstly, a statistics of small numbers warning. This study from the University of Oxford is based on 36 patients, half given the heart medication propranolol and the other half given a placebo. This is far too small to say anything definitive, yet.

But, I love the poetry in the idea that heart drugs might treat racism!

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DISAPPOINTING NEWS FLASH: Neutrinos travel at speed of light

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How to generate light 1,000,000x more intense than the Sun
The answer is delicious!
This is totally brilliant, (via +Elements)

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Is there life after Quantum Mechanics?
Vaguely redolent of the question I posed yesterday "Was Heisenberg right?", today our good friend Vlatko Vedral ponders whether there's much more to the world than Quantum Mechanics.

No surprises. The weirdness of Quantum Mechanics has been tested so thoroughly that any theory that would replace it would likely be even more bizarre in its implications. But that's no reason not to keep looking.

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Tune in, turn on, get on the wagon
There are anecdotes from the 50s that suggest that in the right context, a single dose of LSD could cure alcoholism. Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, this was before evidence-based medicine became the rage. So, to date the clinical case had been rather less than firm. But it now seems that there is enough data out there to suggest that the effect could be real.

I did a +Big Science FM show on this with +Mo Costandi late last year, but hadn't yet got around to editing and putting it out as a podcast. I think it may be time.

For more on the clinical use of psychedelics, the best place to start is a piece +Noah Gray posted on his Nature Network blog, Nothing's Shocking:
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