First Detection of Gravitational Waves

ligoInterview with LIGO Scientist Dr. Matt Evans (6:22): The recent big news in physics was the announcement of the first direct detection of gravitational waves.  The detection was made by the LIGO project, which stands for “Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory”.  Reports have said that this is a confirmation of general relativity and a new way to view the universe.  To help us understand that, and why this is such a significant achievement, we have on the phone Dr. Matthew Evans, an Assistant Professor of Physics at MIT.  Dr. Evans is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the chair of the Advanced Interferometer Configurations working group.  His research focus is on gravitational wave detector instrumentation, and the fundamental sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors.

And here you can see the signal and hear the “chirp” of a graviational wave!

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:


Einstein, Niels Bohr and Grandmothers…a Fairy Tale!

An educator and perfomer, Len Barron first developed a piece about Einsteina and Bohr as a one man show, but then decided to evolve the project by enlist the help of 8 grandmothers to tell the story with their own added pizazz.  Not only was lively performance produced, but a process and experience was shared.  This process was captured by documentary film maker Robin Truesdale in a film coming to the Dairy Center this weekend entitled A Beautiful Equation.  Both Robin and Len have joined us today in the studio to tell us more about the film, the process, the scientists and the grandmothers.

4:30pm and 7:30pm Sunday May 31st at The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, CO

More information at

and tickets available at

Hosts: Beth Bennett, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Susan Moran, Shelley Schlender, Beth Bennett


Listen here:



Plants in Space // Relativity

Former undergraduate researcher Elizabeth Lombardi talks with Professor Barbara Demmig-Adams in the greenhouse on the roof of the Ramaley building at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

Plants in Space (start time 04:36) What would you miss if you were to spend an extended time in space—driving a car? Going to the movies? Hiking? Playing with your dog? Gravity, maybe? Or maybe something as simple as eating good, nutritious vegetables. How On Earth’s Beth Bartel speaks with University of Colorado undergraduate researcher Lizzy Lombardi about harvesting healthier veggies for our astronauts. Or, as we like to think about it, plants in space.

What Is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter by Jeffrey Bennett Relativity (start time 13:30) Albert Einstein published his special theory of relativity in 1905 and his general theory in 1915. Special relativity revealed bizarre and powerful ideas, including the famous equation E=mc2, but the basic theory hinges on a single realization: all observers, no matter how fast they are moving, always measure the same speed of light in space. A decade later, general relativity, the result of Einstein’s “happiest thought” that “the gravitation field has only a relative existence” unseated Newton’s law of gravitation. General relativity has passed every observation trial—so far. Relativity is important in everyday experience, for example enabling the incredible accuracy of the Global Positioning System, but the theory, especially the general form, can be a tough mathematical challenge. Boulder astrophysicist Dr. Jeffrey Bennett’s just-published book, What Is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter, gently straightens the curved spacetime. Join Jeff and host Jim Pullen live in the studio to learn why ‘black holes don’t suck’!


Hosts: Beth Bartel and Jim Pullen
Producer: Beth Bartel
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Jim Pullen
Additional contributions: Jane Palmer

Listen to the show: