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Last update: 2013-04-08

Episode 47: Vision Part 3

2013-04-08 :: James Fodor
Length: 47s

In part 3 of our journey through the visual system, we discuss the structure and function of the Primary Visual Cortex, including an analysis of occular dominance columns, orientation columns, and the six cortical layers. I also cover higher cortical regions involved in visual processing, including the V2, V3, V4, and IT areas, and how these regions are divided into distinct ‘what’ and ‘where’ processing pathways. [...]…

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Episode 46: Vision Part 2

2013-03-24 :: James Fodor
Length: 40s

Resuming from where we left off last time, we continue our journey through the visual system by explaining the structure and function of the bipolar and ganglion cells in the retina, including their somewhat complex receptive fields. I then discuss the optic nerve and cross over of information from different visual hemifields at the optic chiasm. We end this part of our journey with a look at the lateral geniculate nucleus, and how it is structurally organised to process different types of visual information in different locations. [...]…

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Episode 45: Vision Part 1

2013-03-11 :: James Fodor
Length: 53s

We commence our grant journey to understand the visual system by examining the eye, its anatomical structure and physiological properties. I discuss image formation in the eye, including an explanation of the role of the lens, iris, and cornea. I also explain the phototransduction, the fascinating molecular process by which photons falling on the retina are converted into neural signals that the brain can interpret. Recommended prelistening: Episode 18 - Biochemistry Basics, Episode 25 - Tissues, Organs and Systems, Episode 32 - Light and Optics, Episode 38 - Neurons and Synapses. [...]…

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Episode 44: Cell Division

2013-01-12 :: James Fodor
Length: 43s

A discussion of the cell cycle and cell division, beginning with an overview of chromosomes and chromosome structure, and then proceeding through a detailed discussion of the G1, S, and G2 stages of interphase, and the prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase and cytokinesis phases of M-phase. I conclude the episode with a discussion of cell-cycle regulation, including the role of cyclin-dependent kinases, cell checkpoints, and growth factors. Recommended prerequisites are Episode 10: The Cell, Episode 18: Biochemistry Basics, and Episodes 34 and 35: DNA Structure and Function. [...]…

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Episode 43: Electric Forces and Fields

2012-12-31 :: James Fodor
Length: 52s

An overview of the basics of electric charges, electric fields, and electric potential energy. I also discuss how objects become charged, how charged particles interact via Coulomb’s Law, how electroscopes work, and how batteries generate voltage. Recommended prerequisites are Episode 9: Matter and Molecules, and Episode 17: Energy, Work, and Momentum. [...]…

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Episode 42: Gases and Gas Laws

2012-12-28 :: James Fodor
Length: 36s

A discussion of the properties and behaviour of gases, focusing on the kinetic theory of gases and the ideal gas law. I also discuss the thermodynamic behaviours of gases, gas partial pressures, and PV diagrams. Recommended prerequisites are Episode 9: Matter and Molecules and Episode 13: Newtonian Mechanics. [...]…

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Episode 41: Flotation and Fluid Mechanics

2012-12-25 :: James Fodor
Length: 39s

A discussion of the behaviour of fluids, including an overview of the concepts of fluid pressure and Pascal’s Principle. I also discuss Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy and its application to why objects float, and Bernoulli’s Principle of the relationship between fluid speed and pressure, and how this can be applied (and misapplied) to explaining how aeroplanes fly. Recommended prerequisites: Episode 13 Newtonian Mechanics, Episode 27 Intermolecular Bonds and Phase Transitions. [...]…

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Episode 40: Gun Control

2012-12-19 :: James Fodor
Length: 1s

A science-based discussion of the issue of gun control in the United States. After reviewing some basic statistics about crime and gun ownership, I examine the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between gun ownership and violent crime, highlighting the many difficulties associated with such studies and the limitations of this literature. I then discuss some more specific aspects of the gun control debate, including the question of who commits most violent crimes, how deadly guns are compared to other weapons, and how criminals acquire guns. I conclude with a discussion of the evidence for and against various types of gun control measures, and some thoughts on contemporary US gun culture and its impact on gun policy. [...]…

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Episode 39: Sovereignty and the State

2012-12-06 :: James Fodor
Length: 50s

An overview of the state as understood in political science, including a discussion of the meaning of terms like ‘state’, ‘country’ and ‘nation’, and a summary of some of the different types of states, including unitary, federal, and confederal. I also discuss some of the core principles of government in modern states, including sovereignty, the rule of law, separation of powers, and separation of church and state. [...]…

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Episode 38: Neurons and Synapses

2012-11-30 :: James Fodor
Length: 52s

A discussion of the neuron, the fundamental cell of the brain and the nervous system, including an overview of its morphology and physiology. I also discuss the generation and propagation of action potentials, including the role of graded potentials, voltage-dependant ion channels, and myelination. The episode concludes with an overview of synapses and the important role of neurotransmitters. [...]…

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Episode 37: Oxidation and Reduction

2012-11-22 :: James Fodor
Length: 48s

An overview of oxidation, reduction, and redox reactions, including a discussion of the definitions of these basic concepts, and an explanation of how they relate to oxidation number and electronegativity. We then apply these concepts to several common examples of redox reactions, including combustion, rust, batteries, fuel cells, and respiration. [...]…

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Episode 36: Consumer Choice Theory

2012-08-12 :: James Fodor
Length: 47s

A discussion of the theory of consumer choice in economics, including an outline of consumer preferences and the axiomatic assumptions economists make about them, a discussion of the realism of these assumptions, and an explanation of how preferences are used to derive consumer utility functions and demand curves. These basic concepts are then applied to understand consumer behaviour in an analysis of substitution and income effects, complementary and substitute goods, and elasticity of demand. Recommended prerequisites include Episode 12: The Price System and Episode 16: Profits and Competition. [...]…

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Episode 35: DNA Structure and Function Part 2

2012-07-03 :: James Fodor
Length: 51s

Continuing on from episode 34, I discuss in detail the processes of DNA replication, transcription from DNA to RNA, and the translation of RNA to proteins. In doing so I examine the molecules and structures involved, the mechanisms of their operation, and how all the processes work together to facilitate the production of proteins from DNA. [...]…

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New Science of Everything facebook page

2012-06-30

The Science of Everything Podcast now has its own facebook page! Here you will find news and previews about upcoming episodes and other updates, links to images, videos and other extra content to supplement the podcasts, and a forum for discussion of science-related topics. Check it out, at: http://www.facebook.com/TheScienceOfEverythingPodcast You can also use this page to help spread the word about this awesome podcast by liking and sharing it with your friends. [...]…

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Episode 34: DNA Structure and Function Part 1

2012-06-30 :: James Fodor
Length: 43s

In part 1 of this two-part episode, I discuss the double helix shape of DNA, the structure of nucleotides, base-paring between nitrogenous bases, the genetic code, codons, DNA reading frames, the one-gene one-polypeptide hypothesis, and the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology. This basic structural knowledge will provide the basis for a more detailed discussion of the processes of DNA replication, transcription and translation in part 2 of this topic. Recommended background knowledge of episodes 10 (The Cell) and 18 (Biochemistry Basics). [...]…

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Episode 33: Disturbing Social Psychology Experiments

2012-06-22 :: James Fodor
Length: 50s

A discussion of three of the most chilling experiments in the field of social psychology: the Ash Conformity Experiment, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and the Milgram Obedience Experiment. In each case I discuss the motivation and setup of the experiment, outline the results, discuss replications and variations of the original experiment, and end with a look at the implications of the experiment for understanding the darker side of human nature. [...]…

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Episode 32: Light and Optics

2012-04-15 :: James Fodor
Length: 46s

A discussion of the nature of light and its interactions with matter, including a journey through the history of our understanding of light from Newton’s corpuscular theory through early wave theory and up to the modern wave-particle duality understanding. Following this is an analysis of the various ways light interacts with matter, including absorption, reflection, transmission, refraction, dispersion, and transparency. [...]…

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Episode 31: Solutions and Mixtures

2012-04-01 :: James Fodor
Length: 43s

An analysis of liquids and their behaviour when mixed with other substances, incorporating a look at solutions, mixtures, colloids and suspensions. Special emphasis is placed on solutions, with a more detailed discussion of solubility, saturation, molarity and bubble formation. [...]…

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Episode 30: Systems of Government

2012-02-24 :: James Fodor
Length: 49s

An overview of the various forms of government that have existed throughout history and across the world, including a discussion of anarchy, democracy, monarchy, autocracy, and various forms of oligarchy, giving some key characteristics and important examples of each. Also includes an introduction to the principles of classification and political comparison. [...]…

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Episode 29: Operant Conditioning

2012-01-25 :: James Fodor
Length: 33s

Continuing on from episode 28 on Classical Conditioning, in this episode I discuss another form of learning called Operant Conditioning, including the concepts of reinforcers, punishers, shaping, and schedules of reinforcement. I then apply Operant Conditioning theory to understand phenomena such as animal training and how punishments can be effectively used. The episode concludes with a brief look at a third form of learning, Observational Learning. [...]…

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Episode 28: Classical Conditioning

2012-01-07 :: James Fodor
Length: 34s

A discussion of classical conditioning, including an analysis of its key components of the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli and responses, the acquisition process, extinction, recovery, generalization, and discrimination. I also discuss some applications of classical conditioning to understand a wide variety of behaviors, including taste aversion, drug tolerance, sexual fetishes, and emotional responses. [...]…

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Episode 27: Intermolecular Bonds and Phase Transitions

2011-12-28 :: James Fodor
Length: 41s

Building upon episode 15 on Chemical Bonding, I explain the forces and mechanisms of intermolecular bonding, including dispersion forces, dipole-dipole bonding and hydrogen bonds, with an application of these mechanisms in analysing surface tension. This is followed by a discussion of how phase transitions occur, focusing on evaporation, condensation, boiling and melting. [...]…

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Episode 26: Human Organ Systems

2011-12-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 31s

Continuing on from episode 25, this episode gives a brief overview of all the human organ systems, including their major components and functions. Also includes an examination of how the organ systems work together to promote the proper functioning of the organism. [...]…

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Episode 25: Organs, Tissues and Systems

2011-12-11 :: James Fodor
Length: 43s

An overview of the various levels of biological organisation, from the atomic and molecular level through cells, tissues, organs, and up to populations and ecosystems. Also includes a more detailed examination of the structure and function of the four main types of human tissue, including epithelial, connective, muscle and nervous tissues. [...]…

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Episode 24: Vibrations and Waves

2011-11-29 :: James Fodor
Length: 46s

An overview of the basic principles of wave phenomena, including a definition of waves, a discussion of wave mediums, wavelength, frequency and amplitude. I also discuss a variety of interesting wave behaviours including interference, polarization, resonance, reflection, absorption, refraction, diffraction and standing waves. This episode will form the foundation for later discussion of sound and light. [...]…

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Episode 23: Chemical Reactions

2011-09-23 :: James Fodor
Length: 41s

An introduction to chemical reactions, including an overview of chemical equations, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, and reversible reactions. Also includes a discussion of collision theory to explain how and why chemical reactions occur. [...]…

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Episode 22: Our Place in the Cosmos

2011-07-30 :: James Fodor
Length: 41s

A journey through Earth’s location in the universe, including a discussion of the Earth-moon system, the sun and planets of the solar system, nearby stars, the Milky Way Galaxy, the Local Group, clusters and superclusters, the large-scale structure of the universe, and speculations as to what may lie beyond. [...]…

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Episode 21: Introduction to Evolution

2011-07-13 :: James Fodor
Length: 42s

An introduction to the basic concepts of biological evolution, including an overview of Charles Darwin’s contributions, a discussion of heredity, a summary of all the major evolutionary mechanisms, and a review of all the major lines of evidence supporting evolutionary theory. [...]…

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Episode 20: The Reliability of Memory

2011-06-29 :: James Fodor
Length: 50s

An analysis of the various biases that effect the accuracy of human memory, including a discussion of spatial memory distortions, the impact of schema on memory, source monitoring failure, and the misinformation effect. I also discuss the interesting research regarding false memories, eyewitness memory, and flashbulb memories. [...]…

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Episode 18: Biochemistry Basics

2011-06-20 :: James Fodor
Length: 45s

An overview of biochemistry, covering the basic properties, structure and functions of nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. Also includes a discussion of the nature of organic molecules and the importance of carbon in living organisms. [...]…

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Episode 19: Market Failure

2011-06-16 :: James Fodor
Length: 38s

This episode follows on from episodes 12 and 16 about the operation of markets, this time outlining some of the situations when markets do not produce an optimal outcome. After formally defining market failure, I discuss the ‘big four’ market failures of market power, externalities, public goods and asymmetric information. I conclude with a brief look at transaction costs. [...]…

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Episode 17: Energy, Work and Momentum

2011-04-03 :: James Fodor
Length: 36s

An overview of the basic concepts of linear momentum, angular momentum, work and energy. Includes a discussion of the conservation of momentum, why the concept is needed, and some applications of the concept to collisions and rotating objects. The nature of energy is also discussed, along with the different forms of energy, and how the concepts of energy and work are related. [...]…

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Episode 16: Profits and Competition

2011-03-05 :: James Fodor
Length: 38s

A discussion of the importance of the profit motive and freedom of competition in the efficient operation of a market economy. Includes an overview of the uniformity of profit principle, and an examination of how competition serves as both an opportunity and a disciplining agent for entrepreneurs and firms, thus promoting useful innovations while weeding out bad ideas. [...]…

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Episode 15: Chemical Bonding

2011-02-18 :: James Fodor
Length: 42s

An overview of how atoms bond together to form different chemical substances, including a discussion of the tree main types of bonds (covalent, ionic and metallic), and the relationship of these bonding types to the concept of electronegativity. I also discuss the difference between polar and non-polar bonds, and conclude with some interesting applications of bonding theory to understanding the properties of materials. [...]…

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Episode 14: Principles of Quantum Mechanics

2011-02-07 :: James Fodor
Length: 46s

Continuing on from episode eight ‘The Atom’, I examine the quantum-mechanical description of the behaviour of electrons around atomic nuclei. This is followed by an overview of some of the other major principles of quantum theory, including the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the Pauli Exclusion Principle, Quantum Tunnelling and Entanglement. The episode concludes with a discussion of alternative interpretations of these quantum phenomena. [...]…

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Episode 13: Newtonian Mechanics

2011-01-20 :: James Fodor
Length: 40s

An introduction to basic Newtonian Physics, including a discussion of forces, velocity, acceleration, Newton’s three laws of motion, and some common misconceptions about forces. I also discuss circular motion, and conclude with a brief look at the physics of walking and driving a car. [...]…

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Podcast Alley

2011-01-07

My Podcast Alley feed! {pca-a11701a575d4a45219133ae96180f6fa} [...]…

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Episode 12: The Price System

2011-01-06 :: James Fodor
Length: 42s

An examination of how the price system works, including an introduction to supply and demand theory, and the concepts of clearing the market and surplus maximisation. We also look at how the price system promotes efficiency helps to regulate economic activity. Also includes a discussion of how prices store and communicate economic information. [...]…

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Episode 11: The Origin of the Universe

2010-12-09 :: James Fodor
Length: 39s

An overview of the chaotic inflationary theory for the origin of the universe, including a discussion of the inflaton field, quantum fluctuations, spontaneous symmetry breaking, and the zero net energy of the universe. Also includes a discussion of the Multiverse and the fine-tuning paradox. [...]…

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Episode 5: Corporate Conspiracies

2010-11-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 31s

An analysis of corporate conspiracy theories, including the alleged suppression of the cure for cancer and sabotage of the electric car. Using economic analysis and game theory, I outline the true incentives and constraints facing the firms in these industries, and explain why any such conspiracies would be enormously difficult to pull off. [...]…

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Episode 6: Thermodynamics

2010-11-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 39s

An introduction to the principles of thermodynamics, including a look at temperature and heat, the laws of thermodynamics, perpetual motion, methods of transferring energy, and the phenomenon of entropy. [...]…

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Episode 8: The Atom

2010-11-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 43s

An examination of the atom, beginning with the origin of the concept in ancient Greece, and its subsequent development as a truly scientific idea in the 19th century. I explain the various important contributions made to the field by Thomson, Rutherford, Planck, Einstein and de Broglie, and the resultant evolution of our models of the atom. [...]…

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Episode 7: The Introspection Illusion

2010-11-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 37s

A look into the fascinating psychological phenomenon of the introspection illusion. We explore the research behind this phenomenon, and the many implications that it has for human behaviour, including such startling conclusions as people are much more biased, much less observant and much more malleable than they think. [...]…

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Episode 10: The Cell

2010-11-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 31s

An overview of the structure and function of cells, as well as their discovery, size, and classifications. Organelles discussed include the nucleus, plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, and mitochondria. Also includes with a brief discussion of the unique properties of plant cells. [...]…

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Episode 9: Matter and Molecules

2010-11-21 :: James Fodor
Length: 34s

An introduction to the nature, phases, and atomic composition of matter, along with a look at elements, ions, isotopes and the periodic table. The episode concludes with an explanation of molecules, including elemental, ionic and macromolecules. [...]…

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Episode 4: The Origin of Life

2010-11-20 :: James Fodor
Length: 41s

An overview of current theories about how life arose from non-living matter, including an overview of the conditions on early earth, definitions of life, the source of organic monomers, the mechanisms of polymerisation of these monomers, and the possible means by which the first proto-cell developed. [...]…

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Episode 3: Organic Agriculture Part 2

2010-07-24 :: James Fodor
Length: 39s

An examination of the perceived advantages of organic food in terms of safety, nutrition and taste, followed by a comparison of the costs and yield efficiencies of conventional versus organic farming techniques. [...]…

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Episode 2: Organic Agriculture Part 1

2010-07-18 :: James Fodor
Length: 30s

A discussion of the history of organic agriculture, the philosophy behind it, and the main methods used. Also includes a look at the environmental benefits of organic farming, including the effects on erosion, water pollution and biodiversity. [...]…

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Episode 1: Explaining Gravity

2010-07-12 :: James Fodor
Length: 37s

A discussion of gravity, beginning with a history of the concept from the ancient Greeks though to Newton. Also includes an explain Newton’s universal law of gravitation, how orbits work, how astronauts experience gravity in space, and how gravity causes the tides. [...]…

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The Science of Everything Podcast

In this podcast I discuss a variety of topics in both the natural and social sciences, exploring the many fascinating insights that the scientific method yields about the world around us.

The Science of Everything Podcast


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