Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Tomorrow (Weds) I'll be a guest on Odyssey, a syndicated program from WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. We're supposed to be talking about the "early universe"; of course, what's early to one person may be pretty late to another. I think we'll be covering a lot of ground, from 10^(-35) seconds (inflation) through one minute (nucleosynthesis) and 400,000 years (the cosmic microwave background) up to 500 million years (the earliest galaxies). The other guest will be Bob Kirshner from Harvard, a supernova expert and one of the co-discoverers of dark energy. Bob is an engaging speaker and a great scientist; I reviewed his popular-level book for Nature, and we managed to remain friends.
If your local public radio station doesn't get Odyssey, you can easily listen on the web. (I've been on a few times before, the shows are available in the archive.) But even better, you should call your local station and demand they get the program. It's an hour-long discussion, typically with two or three guests, about every sort of topic you can think of, with a decided emphasis on high-level (but accessible) intelligent discourse. The host, the glamorous and charming Gretchen Helfrich, does an amazing job of keeping the dialogue lucid and amusing no matter what the topic is.
[Update: here's the audio. The metaphor of the moment was that of a movie in which the first reel is mostly missing except for a few frames. Personally, given that our universe is pretty clever, but prone to violence and self-indulgence, I'm thinking it's a Tarantino film.]