Episode 86: The Evidence for Evolution

• August 13th, 2017

An outline of the various lines of evidence in favour of the theory of evolution by natural selection, including a discussion of natural and artificial examples of natural selection in action, as well as a review of the evidence from the fossil record, comparative anatomy, biogeography, and molecular evidence. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 21: Introduction to Evolution.

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Episode 85: Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

• July 30th, 2017

A discussion of some of the major conceptual aspects of Quantum Field Theory, including the concept of a quantum field, classical field theory, harmonic oscillators, second quantisation, interacting theories, and the relationship of QFT to other branches of physics. Recommended pre-listening is Episodes 83 and 84, Advanced Quantum Mechanics parts I and II.

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Episode 84: Advanced Quantum Mechanics Part II

• July 7th, 2017

Continuing on from the previous episode, here I discuss some more advanced topics in Quantum Mechanics, including Noether’s theorem, the particle statistics of Bosons and Fermions, perturbation theory, and the EPR paradox. Recommended Pre-listening is Episode 83: Advanced Quantum Mechanics Part I.

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Episode 83: Advanced Quantum Mechanics Part 1

• June 26th, 2017

An examination of some more advanced concepts of quantum mechanics, focusing on describing Dirac's bra-ket formulation of quantum theory. I discuss the formulation of quantum mechanics in terms of vectors in Hilbert spaces, Hermitian operators as corresponding to observables, orthogonality of eigenstates, incompatible observables, and Schrodinger's equation. Recommeded pre-listening is Episode 14: Principles of Quantum Mechanics.

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Episode 82: Racial Differences in Intelligence

• March 12th, 2017

A discussion of the evidence and methodological issues pertaining to explaining the causes of racial differences in intelligence, with a focus on evaluating the hereditarian hypothesis that such differences are largely genetic. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 81: Intelligence Part 2.

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Episode 81: Intelligence Part 2

• February 25th, 2017

Continuing the series on intelligence, in this episode I discuss the genetic and neurological correlated of intelligences, the efficacy of measures to increase intelligence, and the causes and consequences of the Flynn effect. Also includes an analysis of the heritability of intelligence and how to properly interpret heritabilty research. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 80: Intelligence Part 1.

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Episode 80: Intelligence Part 1

• February 13th, 2017

The first in a three part series on human intelligence, covering debates about the definition of intelligence, how intelligence is measured, factor analysis and the origin of the g factor, and interpretations of the g factor as corresponding to intelligence. Also includes an analysis of Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, and the cross-cultural validity of intelligence tests. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 79: Basic Concepts in Statistics.

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Episode 79: Basic Concepts in Statistics

• January 23rd, 2017

A concise introduction to key concepts of statistics, explained in as clear a manner as possible. Includes a discussion of key concepts of probability, types of statistical data, sampling methods, the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics, statistical significance, and p-values. I conclude with a brief look at three common statistical tests; the chi-square test, t-test, and linear regression.

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Episode 78: Hearing

• September 18th, 2016

An explanation of the process of human hearing, covering the structure and function of the outer, middle, and inner ears, with a focus on explaining how the hair cells of the cochlea transduce mechanical motion into electrical signals that are interpreted as sound. I also discuss the mechanisms of sound localisation, some of the causes of deafness, and briefly outline the workings of the cochlea implant. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 53: Sound and Music.

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Episode 77: Nuclear Physics and Radioactivity

• July 31st, 2016

An introduction to the physics of protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus, with a focus on explaining the different modes of radioactivity, alpha, beta, and gamma decay, as well as different ways of measuring radiation and some of its biological effects. I also discuss some applications of radioactivity in radiometric dating, radiotherapy, nuclear power, and nuclear weapons. I conclude by discussing a few popular misconceptions about radioactivity. Recommending prelistening is Episode 8: History of the Atom.

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