Sunday, December 15, 2013

Big Picture Science for 12/16/13 - Some Like It Cold

Image for Big Picture Science weekly radio show
Big Picture Science - Some Like It Cold

We all may prefer the goldilocks zone – not too hot, not too cold. But most of the universe is bitterly cold. We can learn a lot about it if we’re willing to brave a temperature drop.

A chilly Arctic island is the closest thing to Mars-on-Earth for scientists who want to go to the Red Planet. Meanwhile, the ice sheet at the South Pole is ideal for catching neutrinos – ghostly particles that may reveal secrets about the nature of the universe.

Comet ISON is comet ice-off after its passage close to the Sun, but it’s still giving us the word on solar system’s earliest years.

Also, scientists discover the coldest spot on Earth. A champion chill, but positively balmy compared to absolute zero. Why reaching a temperature of absolute zero is impossible, although we’ve gotten very, very close.

  • Francis Halzen – Physicist, University of Wisconsin-Madison, principal investigator of The IceCube Neutrino Observatory
  • Ted Scambos – Glaciologist, lead scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado
  • Pascal Lee – Planetary scientist, SETI Institute, director, NASA Haughton-Mars Project, and co-founder of the Mars Society. His new book is Mission: Mars
  • Andrew Fraknoi – Chair, astronomy department, Foothill College
  • Vladan Vuletić – Physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


You can listen to this and other episodes at, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

No comments: