Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 - The universe is not locally real. What does that mean?

8 October, 2022

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The 2022 Physics Nobel Prize, awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science" American article:'s Theorem and EPR episode of Hyperfine Diffie-Hellman & RSA episode of Hyperfine Grey video "The Trouble with Transporters"

Acoustic Levitation w/ Special Guest Dr. David Jackson

8 July, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss acoustic levitaiton with Dr. David Jackson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dickinson College.Their published paper at AAJP (requires subscription), "Acoustic levitation and the acoustic radiation force":
You can contact Dr. Jackson to request a copy:
Ming-Hua Chang's senior thesis, "Using Schlieren Optics to Visualize Ultrasonic Standing Waves In Acoustic Levitation":
Dr. Daniel A Russell's Acoustics and Vibration Animations:
Selected gifs of wave motion:
Physics Girl video building an acoustic levitator on Youtube:
Acoustic levitation on Wikipedia:

Gravitational G and How Science Works

17 June, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss the "controversial" value of Newton's gravitational constant G. They cover the history of its measurement and how the value (and confidence in that value) has changed over time.Gravitational G wiki page: uncertainty of phsyical constants: G experiments with uncertainty bars:

Cosmology and the Arrow of Time

16 May, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss the big question: why is the future different than the past? Why do we remember the past but not the future?Much the discussion comes from Sean Carroll’s book, “From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time“

Is Anything Truly Random? w/Special Guest Grant Ciffone

4 May, 2021

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Zak and Derek chat with special guest, Grant Ciffone! Grant joins us as a non-physicist who asks “Is anything truly random in the universe?”Interested in being a guest on the show? Come ask us a question! Email us at

How to Keep Time

20 April, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss a mystery in a hospital, where an MRI machine seems to have taken out only iPhones; Android was unharmed. This leads to a conversation on how watches work, fundamentally.

Entropy & Statistical Mechanics

8 April, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss the statistical origins of entropy and how it connects from there into thermodynamics. They also encourage using flashcards :)


23 March, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss the basics of thermodynamics, including the so-called thermodynamic potentials.Topics: energy, temperature, entropy, pressure, volume, enthalpy, Helmholtz free energy, Gibbs free enthalpy.Modern Thermodynamics: transformation:

Benford’s Law

5 March, 2021

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Zak and Derek discuss Benford’s Law, including the strange places it pops up, and some fundamental origins of the law.Some of the references discussed:The Mathematics of Benford’s Law – A Primer
Arno Berger and Theodore P. Hill
April 22, 2020
A Simple Explanation of Benford’s Law
The American Statistician, February 2009, Vol. 63, No. 1

Planck, Einstein, and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

7 December, 2019

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Zak and Derek discuss Max Planck’s work in the foundations of what would turn into quantum mechanics, and Albert Einstein’s role in its promulgation. How did Max Planck fix the blackbody radiation problem with the ultraviolet catastrophe, or is that actually what happened?References discussed:Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity by Thomas Kuhn (Amazon book)Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian by Douglas Stone (Amazon book)Revisiting the Quantum Discontinuity (PDF)

The Physics of Hurricanes

3 September, 2019

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Zak and Derek discuss the physics of hurricanes, including the energy involved, and rotating reference frames, including Coriolis effects. Why do they rotate in different directions in the northern and southern hemispheres?

Hadrons – Quark Systems

26 July, 2019

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Zak and Derek discuss the composite systems of quarks in baryons and mesons, as well as the eightfold way and multiplet organization of quark particles. This is a follow up to the Standard Model episode.Further reading:“Introduction to Elementary Particles” by David GriffithsEightfold way (physics) on WikipediaMurry Gell-Mann on WikipediaList of baryons on Wikipedia


21 May, 2019

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The Standard Model Part 1

12 May, 2019

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The first of a multi-part series on the Standard Model of particle physics. This is an overview of the particles that make up the standard model.Derek’s main reference book: The New Cosmic OnionZak’s main reference book: The Theory of Almost EverythingThe Standard Model on Wikipedia

Domino Amplifier

12 April, 2019

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Zak and Derek discuss toppling larger and larger dominos in a chain reaction. How does the potential energy work? What are the limits of the setup?World Record Largest Toppling Dominos: gravity-powered LED light:

Bohmian Mechanics – Pilot Wave Theory

6 April, 2019

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Zak and Derek follow up their Bell’s Theorm and EPR discussion with a survey of Bohmian mechanics, often called pilot wave theory, one of many interpretations of quantum mechanics.Looking Glass Universe “Bohmian Mechanics- An Alternative to Quantum” Glass Universe “A problem with Bohmian Mechanics? Contextuality” “Is This What Quantum Mechanics Looks Like?” Broglie–Bohm theory on Wikipedia: interpretation on Wikipedia:, The Quantum Theory of Motion: & Kuttner, Quantum Enigma:

Relative Motion (Not Relativity)

30 March, 2019

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Zak and Derek discuss a drone flying in an accelerating car. Does it stay in place? Fly to the back, front, ceiling, or floor? (And does the plane take off?)The original Reddit post. (The actual question has been removed, but the replies feed the discussion.) in a car YouTube video: Every Day balloon (and bubble) in a car:

Bell’s Theorem and EPR

21 March, 2019

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Zak and Derek discuss nothing less than the fundamental nature of reality. They start with the arguments made in the Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen paper from 1935, which were then tackled by John Bell in 1964 with Bell’s Theorem and Bell inequalities.References:The original Bell paper (1964): original EPR paper (1935):’s response to EPR (1935):’s physics textbook. Specifically, page 29, and Chapter 5 section 3, and Chapter 22 Section 19. (1951): Mermin’s paper (1985): Mermin talk at Berkeley (2008): Maudlin’s talk “What Bell Did” (2014):’s Theorem in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (good historical overview): (3-particle) experiments:’s Theorem in popular Youtube channels:
Through the Looking Glass:
MinutePhysics & 3Blue1Brown:
3Blue1Brown & MinutePhysics:
Physics Girl:
(Note: At about 46:40, Derek says “This now gets at the Schrodinger’s Cat problem, which was a reply to the EPR and Bohm papers,” but should have said “EPR and Bohr papers”.)

Climbing Magnets

29 November, 2018

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Zak and Derek try to tackle the “climbing magnets” puzzle from Veritasium’s Youtube channel. Both taking different approaches until watching the result together.

Balloons Inside Balloons and Sweet Spots

22 November, 2018

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Zak and Derek first discuss what happens to a balloon which holds another balloon that pops while inside the first. Then they try to tackle the physics of sweet spots on bats.The balloon gif: spot discussion starts 18:50

Fortnite and the Principle of Least Action

15 November, 2018

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Zak and Derek discuss the physics of dropping in Fortnite and PUBG.Derek’s Epic name: theHyperfineHow do you reach the ground the fastest? When should you jump? What do you do after you jump?

Encryption: Diffie-Hellman & RSA

8 November, 2018

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Derek and Zak confirm they are talking to each other using the Diffie-Hellman protocol. Zak then encrypts a secret message using RSA encryption, which Derek then decrypts. Art of the Problem has a fantastic pair of videos on YouTube explaining how these encryption methods both work.Diffie-Hellman: Encryption:

Geosynchronous Orbits

1 November, 2018

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Derek and Zak discuss why there is a specific geosynchronous orbit distance at all. Why can’t it be any distance? And why is the escape speed what it is? Why can’t you move 1mph and leave Earth?

How Much Weight Do You Lift When Doing a Pushup?

28 September, 2018

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Pushup discussion starts at 11:12.

Floating Hourglass

21 September, 2018

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How does moving sand affect the buoyancy of the hourglass? Or does it?Derek takes a stab at a conceptual answer, but Zak works out some contradicting math.The animation in question:

Does Data Have Mass?

14 September, 2018

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Is your cell phone heavier when it has more data stored in memory? What about an SD card? Magnetic storage drive? Is there a difference?Zak and Derek dive in to the physics of flash storage, and what that means for mass even on the smallest of small scales. Electron mass? Einstein mass-energy equivalence? Is there any change at all?Original reddit post:
Maxwell’s demon:
Our Mathematical Universe, by Max Tegmark:

Landing on Planets

6 September, 2018

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Derek and Zak question how a bug zapper works, complete with testing on yourself…as only good scientists do!They then explore a SF writer’s query on reddit, asking about the safety of people landing on planets by dropping to the surface while enclosed in spheres filled with water.

Intro to The Hyperfine Physics Podcast

30 August, 2018

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Derek and Zak introduce themselves and the podcast.Join our listener community on Reddit at on Twitter:
Zak on Twitter: Blue, One Brown podcast: “Ben Ben Blue”

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