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Sir Martin Rees, Sunday, 6-17-12 June 18, 2012

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Sir Martin Rees, Sunday, 6-17-12


Guest:  Sir Martin Rees.  Topics:  Science in our society, space development, political leadership, education & more.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed back Sir Martin Rees to discuss his new book, “From Here To Infinity: A Vision For The Future Of Science.” Please remember that if you order this book from Amazon using www.amazon.com/Here-Infinity-Vision-Future-Science/dp/0393063070/ref=onegiantlea20, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/One Giant Leap Foundation.  Lord Rees started our discussion by talking about the amazing things we have learned about the cosmos in a very short period of time.  He also explained that this new book is based on a series of lectures he did with BBC Radio.  We also talked about science reporting in the media but we focused on teacher issues, both in the UK and the U.S.  Another topic covered in his book was religion and science conflicts. An example cited was creationism.  We also talked about space as a spiritual experience.  We then talked about commercial space development with companies such as SpaceX, the high risk averseness of NASA, and the fact that private companies can take on more risks.  Lord Rees expressed the view that for human spaceflight for sure, we will see more and more of it being done by the private sector. Our guest was asked about science on the ISS & he said it was hard to justify the ISS on the grounds of science.  Jack called in to ask talk about the outstanding history programs on the Royal Society website, http://royalsociety.org/Podcasts-of-Library-events.  He also mentioned famous sci-fi author Neal Stephenson, www.amazon.com/Quicksilver-The-Baroque-Cycle-Vol/dp/0380977427.  Jack’s call was followed by John in Atlanta who talked about spirituality, consciousness, religion and the work of Roger Penrose.  This led to an interesting discussion about the search for the unified theory and the difference in perspective with cosmology and fundamental physics.  Our next topic was in response to a note from Fred about political leadership and space/science issues.  Out last topic of the segment dealt with the Kepler Space Telescope (KST) and the search for extraterrestrial life.  We asked questions about the impact on cultures were life off Earth discovered.  Sir Martin had much to say about this subject.

In our second segment, we started out talking about science fiction.  Sir Martin is fascinated by the ideas in science fiction so don’t miss his comments on this subject.  Harold in Los Angeles asked if we might be slowing down in our rate of discovery of new science & space information.  This is another terrific discussion.  We then talked about the Earth’s population growth and the intellectual shift to Asia away from the west.  Lord Rees talked about the need to balance out science and development in the under developed regions, focusing on Africa for example  Later in the segment, we talked about bringing space resources back to Earth & our guest said the economics of doing this are still up in the air.  Space settlement and returning to the Moon came up as did private missions to Mars and the asteroids.  Our guest suggested that one way Mars missions might be possible in the future, but the probability of doing it near term & funding such a mission remains somewhat low at this time.  Our guest also mentioned genetic modification for those that do settle off Earth but thought the ethics of doing it on Earth would make it unlikely to happen here.

If you have comments/questions for Sir Martin Rees, please post them on The Space Show blog.

Dr. Peter Shaver, Monday, 1-23-12 January 23, 2012

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Dr. Peter Shaver, Monday, 1-23-12


Guest:  Dr. Peter Shaver.  Topics:  Dr. Shaver’s boo, “Cosmic Heritage,” the universe, cosmology, consciousness, cognition.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed Dr. Peter Shaver to the show to discuss his new book, “Cosmic Heritage: Evolution from the Big Bang to Conscious Life.  Dr. Shaver started our discussion by telling us what motivated him to write this book as well as the search for answers to the Big Three questions:  (1) What are the origins of life; (2) What is the nature of life; (2) To understand consciousness.  We talked about the big bang, the microwave background and the early phases of the universe.  We also discussed cosmology & the inter-disciplinary nature of his book, including the fields of psychology, consciousness, and biology.  We talked about the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years.  Dr. Shaver then described the timeline by referencing the Sagan Calendar. I asked him about a section of his book, “Are There Questions That Science Can Never Address?” starting on page 238.  Dr. Shaver talked about taboos and the limits of science. Recurring events or experiences in the natural world can be subject to the scientific method.  A once-only event may not be due the inability to repeat the experiment.  Also, if something is outside the natural world, the paranormal for example, science would not likely be able to address that issue or question. Later, Dr. Shaver was asked what came before the Big Bang.  Here, he introduced us to multiverse theories.  He mentioned the work being done with the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the search for the Higgs-boson particle. Another project he mentioned was the European Space Agency Planck Satellite designed to observe the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background.  A listener asked about the political nature of science, especially science funding.  Dr. Shaver had much to say in response to this question, including the use of peer review.  Other listener questions asked him about big science projects and their value compared to cost such as the James Webb Space Telescope.  Cognition and consciousness were discussed in the context of his book which addresses the field of neuroscience.  Terry called to ask we will see in telescopes as we get closer to the big bang. Will we still see stars, planets, or just matter in chaos?  Dr. Shaver then guided us through gazing through the dark sky at night and slowly removing from our view the sources of light until we reach the edge of the universe which he referred to as the Near Side of Dark Ages.  Another listener asked if we could actually see the big bang and he talked about the microwave background and fog that we cannot see through.  This brought up the Hubble Deep Field, then Andrew asked if we could use a telescope to see the first light from Earth when it was formed. As our discussion was drawing to a close, we talked about the rate of advancements in science, finding planets in the habitable zone and the future for those wanting to study science or have a science related profession.  Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above. You can order the book from Amazon using www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Heritage-Evolution-Bang-Conscious/dp/3642202608/ref=onegialeafou-20. Remember, when using this Amazon URL, Amazon contributes to The Space Show/OGLF.  Dr. Shaver can be reached at p4shaver@gmail.com.