Marin Science Seminar Presentation: "" (November 10, 2010) Get the flyer here.
Physics for future Presidents? Yes, that is a serious title. Energy, global warming, terrorism and counter-terrorism, nukes, cancer, internet, satellites, remote sensing, ICBMs and ABMs, DVDs and HDTVs -- economic and political issues increasingly have a strong high tech content. Misjudge the science, make a wrong decision. Yet many of our leaders never studied physics, and do not understand science and technology. Physics is the liberal arts of high technology. Understand physics, and never again be intimidated by technological advances. Our leaders, and our citizens must understand these topics. Physics is not math, and when taught with that in mind, it becomes accessible, useful, and empowering to people who were previously intimidated. But rather than talk about this approach, I will demonstrate it -- giving you a quick course in what you need to know about the physics of terrorism, nukes, alternative energy, and global warming.
Richard Muller is Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley and Faculty Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He began his career as a graduate student under Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez doing particle physics experiments and working with bubble chambers. During his early years he also created accelerator mass spectroscopy and made some of the first measurements of anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background. Subsequently, Muller branched out into the Earth sciences. His work has included attempting to understand the ice ages, dynamics at the core-mantle boundary, patterns of extinction and biodiversity through time, and the processes associated with impact cratering. One of his most well known proposals is the Nemesis hypothesis suggesting that the sun could have an as yet undetected companion star, whose perturbations of the Oort cloud and subsequent effects on the flux of comets entering the inner solar system could explain an apparent 26 million year periodicity in extinction events.