Episode 103: Economic Growth and Development Part I

• March 31st, 2020

In this the first in an eight-part series covering the causes of economic growth and development, I provide an introduction to the key concepts of absolute and relative poverty, different theories of development, and how GDP is defined and measured. I also discuss the differences between rural and urban poverty, give an overview of the different levels of development of various countries around the world, and outline some of the major methodological challenges in studying causes of economic growth around the world. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 16: The Price System, and Episode 56: The Gains from Trade.


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Episode 102: Photosynthesis Part II

• March 11th, 2020

Continuing the discussion of photosynthesis from the previous episode, here I outlined the importance of the oxygen evolving complex in oxidising water molecules, the importance of photosystem I in extracting additional energy, and the role of light-independent reactions of the Calvin cycle in carrying out carbon fixation. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 101: Photosynthesis Part I.

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Episode 101: Photosynthesis Part I

• February 27th, 2020

An overview of photosynthesis, including the structure of chloroplasts, phototransduction of energy by chlorophyll, the macromolecular complexes of the thylakoid membrane. I also discuss the mechanisms of electron transfer along the electron transport chain, and the role of ATP synthase in generating ATP. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 75: Cellular Respiration, Episode 32: Light and Optics, and Episode 18: Biochemistry Basics

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Special Episode: History and Future of the Show

• February 12th, 2020

A special episode in which I discuss some of the ideas and principles behind the production of the show, sources I use for episodes, and my motivations for starting the podcast. I also talk about my own background and research interests, my thoughts about the relationship between science and philosophy, and some ideas for the future of the Science of Everything Podcast.

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Episode 100: Unsolved Problems in Science

• January 19th, 2020

In this special celebratory 100th episode, I discuss six major unsolved problems in science: the P vs NP problem in computer science, the mystery of dark matter in physics, the existence of the island of stability in chemistry, the historical occurrence of a snowball Earth scenario from geology, the protein folding problem from biochemistry, and the origin of the Cambrian explosion in evolutionary biology. I also discuss some important ideas relating to the future of the podcast.

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Episode 99: Plant Reproduction and Fruit

• January 6th, 2020

A discussion of the method of reproduction of flowering plants, including an overview of the structure and function of the different components of the flower, pollination, double fertilisation, and seed formation, dispersal, and germination. I also discuss the different types of fruit and vegetables and how the different components of the plant relate to the parts that we consume. I conclude with a brief overview of non-edible plant products, including fibres, resin, and sap. Recommended prerequisite is Episode 97: Plant Structure and Function.

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Episode 98: Electromagnetic Radiation

• December 28th, 2018

An overview of the nature and properties of electromagnetic radiation, including a discussion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the nature of photons, the speed of light, near and far field radiation, and technological applications of electromagnetic radiation in AM and FM radiation and microwave ovens. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 61: Magnetism and Episode 57: Electric Current and Circuits.

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Episode 97: Plant Structure and Function

• June 27th, 2018

An overview of the basic morphology and physiology of plants, including a discussion of the main types of plants, stems, roots, leaves, plant transport, meristems, plant nutrition, and plant sensory systems.

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Special Episode - Jared Bauer on Science and Philosophy in Movies

• April 2nd, 2018

In this special episode I am joined by Jared Bauer, cofounder of Wisecrack, to discuss science and philosophy in movies and popular culture. We cover a range of topics including how science is portrayed in movies, how the film medium leads to science and history being presented in particular ways, and how movies and popular culture can be used as a vehicle for promoting scientific and philosophical inquiry.

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Episode 96: How Computers Work Part VI - High Level Programming and Software

• March 2nd, 2018

In the final episode of our series on computers, I give an introduction to high-level programming languages, how they relate to assembly language and machine code, and how the compiler converts high level programs into a form that can be executed by the processor. I then outline some of the key components to high-level programming, such as data structures, control structures, and algorithms, before sketching an example implementation of a simple game. I conclude with an integrative summary of computer structure from silicon up to the operating system.

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