One of the coolest things about science is that you can use it to blow things up! Our guest, physicist Robert Ike III, knows all about harnessing atoms and can explain just how particle accelerators, Uranium, and lasers work. Mostly lasers. This episode is primarily about lasers. And gerbils, surprisingly. It's a real blunderbuss of an episode! Am I using that term correctly?
Episode 23 — Weapons
Posted 04 October 2011 - 02:39 AM
Good episode love the show etc. I think I disagree with Robert about the hamster sun question. What fusion reactions are happening in the hamster sun scenario, that have a higher yield than the mostly hydrogen + hydrogen (with some helium + stuff going on as well) fusing going on in the sun? I haven't taken Nuclear Physics in 8 years (holy fuck im getting old) and it's 3:36 AM and I'm lazy so I'm not about to do any H + H ---> He + Energy comparison vs. a hamster sun.
As I recall deuterium + tritium is supposed to be super efficient but Im guessing most of the suns hydrogen isn't an isotope at all, so that isn't very relevant. This pillar of memory in my brain could be whats making me be wrong here but I just think the average hamster atom is so much heavier than the hydrogen and helium of the sun that fusion will be happening much less rapidly.
Maybe I'll google fusion reaction calculator and see if it looks like I'm wrong, which I probably am.
Posted 08 October 2011 - 02:35 PM
What may have been unclear' date=' however, was that the problem relates not to fusion, but to the energy output of a typical gerbil/hamster. Gerbils are warm, and the amount of heat energy a hamster outputs per unit mass is so much greater than that of a star. So, if you managed to place an equivalent mass of gerbils where the sun is, the energy absorbed by the Earth would be many times greater than it currently is, leading to its incineration.
This is actually the same professor that posed this very problem to me!
Posted 10 October 2011 - 12:05 PM
I love how you keep asking the Pysicist how he would go about killing everyone. By the way, Robert Ike (fizzicist), I notice that all the elements at the bottom of the periodic table are all radioactive all the time, and they're at the bottom of the table because they're larger (have more parts in a corospondingly greater volume) than the elements above them. So are they radioactive because the valance shells are placed far enough from the nucleus that the attractive force of the protons is no longer strong enough to hold the rapidly revolving electrons in orbit? Or am I not thinking about this right?