« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 185: Off By Roughly Two Trillion... AGAIN!!!

2021-02-02 | 🔗

In episode #185, which Mike incorrectly identifies as episode #184, Mike welcomes noted astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller, to discuss the obvious differences between sounding certain and being correct. Dr. Thaller, a noted astronomer with an enormous brain, tries to help Mike understand the enormity of the cosmos, and explain why the universe contained 200 billion galaxies just four years ago, and then 2 trillion galaxies just a few weeks later, and then back down to a few hundred billion as of last week. It’s enough to make your head spin, but between Mike’s gigantic cranium and Dr. Thaller’s enormous brain, we finally unlock the secrets of How the Universe Works…

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hey guys. It's my grow in this is the way I heard it. The only podcast gas for the curious mind whom I kidding it the only by gas? For the curious mind there are I read the other day: there are over a million podcast that are out there now and well, I'm just deeply flattered. Your listening to this when it's the way I heard it episode number one. Eighty four and I call it off by Russia. We two trillion again off by roughly two trillion again. Fans of this broad gas know that last month I didn't episode called off by roughly two trillion its episode, one eighty one and, if haven't heard it. You should play only listen to it before listening to this. But if you a person who doesn't do with their told and stuff show this audience is filled with such people,
Allow me to sum it up for you before I introduce my very special guest in off by roughly two trillion I tell the story of what happened back in two thousand. Sixteen, when I narrated a very popular episode of how the universe works for the science channel not a narrating the series, for the last nine years and I love it. It's a welcome change from the normal high octane stuff I do for shows like deadliest, catch and Bering Sea gold. Where I to talk like this driving the story forward. With all the urgency and drama I can muster how the universe works is not about urgency in drama, it's about credibility and certainty. You see you're, the voice of the universe, its impact. The sound like you exactly what you're talking about, as you reveal the secrets, the cosmos anyway, that's what I do and on this
particular episode of how the universe works recorded back in two thousand? Sixteen I explained to millions of loyal viewers that the milky way is just one of two hundred billion other galaxies and our observable unit. Obviously, that is an astonishing claim to billion galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars inside and God only knows how many planets rotating around them in mind. Boggling. The entire episode in fact was dedicated to describe The process whereby the best minds in science came to his mind boggling number and then We all ruminated on the likelihood that life must surely exist, on one of the many trillions of Exo planets in this incomprehensibly vast universe, planets that we now know a rotating around countless stars. Trillions of stars in Russia
We two hundred billion separate galaxies his mind. Boggling, read well thing: these were about to get even more mind boggling on October thirteenth, two thousand. Sixteen literally, two weeks after I narrated the episode in question, a new team of brilliant physicist analyzed the sky surveys taken by the Hubble space telescope and determined That the third pillar miscalculation turns- The universe does not in fact contain two hundred billion galaxies, but rather two trillion two trillion the next day the head mines were everywhere. The New York Times wrote two trillion galaxies at the very least Forbes lead with quick.
This is how we know there are two trillion galaxies in the universe. If you, Google, two trillion galaxies right now, you're fired, two trillion articles repeating NASA's claim the certainty was everywhere. So, in other words, Two weeks after I announced the existence of two hundred billion galaxies, the best minds in physics concluded that I was off by one trillion: eight hundred billion so sore point as as an area where I'm always getting called back to the booth to recur things when new information comes to light, especially with these science based shows its not unusual at all, but I have never been off whom, by roughly two trillion before is very humbling and ever since then I've used this simple little story to remind people that I sound no different at all. When I'm correct as I
when I'm off by roughly two trillion and guess what neither does anybody else: politicians, journalists, even scientists and doctors right Anthony felt she sounded no less certain when he told us not to wear a mask, as he did a few weeks later, when he told us that wearing a mask was our best defence against catching code. The point is: sounding certain and being right have nothing to do with each other at all, and I've been using the existence of two trillion galaxies: to make that point, since two thousand sixteen most recently on episode, one eighty one of this podcast but and here's the big point last
week in January of two thousand and twenty one. The best minds in science and physics got together again and took a look at some new photos, photos taken by the New Horizons telescope, which is currently taking pictures of deep space. From outside our solar system, and now the experts have arrived at an an exciting number, as it turns out, there are not two trillion galaxies in the universe. After all, nope, according to the latest data, the total number of galaxies is more likely a few hundred billion. Oh, so you can guess. What's going on next, I wanna get a call from the producer, years of how the universe works and the science channel and I want to be asked to rerecord the same the sword, I already recorded back in two thousand sixteen and I'll: do it I'll? Do it with awe
credibility and certainty I can muster, even as I try not to focus on the undeniable fact that I, along with the best minds and science were off by roughly two trillion again. Stop. Having said all that my guest today, is an american astronomer and a research scientist named Michel, Foller, she's, incredible doktor foller is the assistant director for science communications at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Centre for me, Ninety eight to two thousand and nine? She was a staff scientist at the infrared processing and analysis center and later manager of the education and public outreach program for the Spitzer space telescope at the California Institute Technology- a frequent on camera contributor to programming on the history channel and the science channel, including her many appearances on you guessed it how the universe works.
My group, I invited her on this podcast just a shed a little light on the difference between being certain and being correct. Along with possibility of life on other planets in the actual number of galaxies in the observable universe and all kinds of other cool stuff, you're gonna love, her she's amazing and our conversation begins Roy. Now and by right. Now I mean right after I thank my friends: had light stream for saving my listeners, all kinds of money with a credit card consolidation loan look the average frustrate on credit cards, today's north of eighteen percent, a PR eighteen percent at scandalous. In my opinion, when I get, credit card consolidation loan from light stream. It's easy rate started is five point: nine I represent a pr without pay, an excellent credit and you can even get your money as soon as the day. You apply five grand
two hundred thousand dollars with absolutely no fees. In fact, my listeners can apply right now and get a special interest rate. Discount and save even more the only way to get to scanners, to go to light stream? Dotcom, slash row? That's Elijah! Hd S, t r e, a m dot com. Slash row Subject: credit approval rates range from five point: nine, five percent api to nineteen point nine. I pretend ape yarn include zero point. Five percent to pay discount lowest rate requires excellent credit terms, conditions applying often subject to change without notice visit, light stream, dotcom, slash role for more information. That's a fact, this. On the other hand, this is all by roughly two trillion, I Michel I make a nice to be here. Thank you for Ngos. This. I really appreciate it so nice to see you on a screen that isn't the typical monitor that I normally see you as I am narrating this terrific show,
are we met, but you ve been there from the from the jump avenue I think Sullivan so what does it is? Ten years now is horizontal Mauro. I've lost count a deadline everybody all just ten years implying time. Ok, With that mean by the way, what what is planned timing it well supplied time is, is its basically the the small seen at a time when we have anything useful at all to say about the universe in it extremely it's at I'm going to get the immediate right off the top of my head about. I should look this up and something like ten to the minus forty slash three seconds, which means you have a decimal point and then drop four thousand two hundred and one that do that. Much time I mean I mean almost it's basically the shortest time that made but before that time the universe was in a state of physics that we have no way to even predict. We just throw up our hands and go. We have no idea what went on before then, and I think it's pretty incredible to
We think we have any inkling at all. What happened? You know a million through the second a billionth of a second after the start of the universe, and we may be completely wrong about that. But it's our best theories that we have now our best ideas about gravity and about how Adams work and the inside of atoms run them all backwards and they think they can sort of makes sense until you get to the plant time and then look now. Is it plank or plank? Well, it means the Germans would have said more. Pluck I mean I mean that's that's the way they do. This person was german and you know so I think he would pronounces named plug, but be because you Americans would my pronounce a plank it's like like Einstein, would have said it's not his name, Einstein. He wouldn't have said Einstein. It's Michelle. You can see the problem if we can't even figure out how to pronounce the guy's name. How are we ever gonna? We get our heads around the concept of a billionth of a billionth of a second yeah see
people should now. This is what happens to me when I married the show I sit there, my little climate control booth and I try to read in a early, rudimentary way a fairly simplified way. I I red, whatever the experts, tell me to say as credible and is certainly as I can, and sometimes it just freaks me not so bad, I have to stop and ask Stephen who's ever on the line to say: is this even possible? Am I reading this right? are, we sure, And you know all of the talking heads on the show or terrific, but I but I really like you because you seem to be eager to say at every turn. We simply don't know which ultimately confirms my longstanding belief that how the universe works should may be called. We don't know health, he didn't First
yes, yes, well, what? What will your in your climate control does sound booth? I mean I've by enlarging, I'm on top of some skyscraper in Brooklyn its hundred degrees. This is true. They had me standing in a bucket of ice, so they didn't just kill over from heat stroke and you're. Telling me explain the microwave background in twenty five it's so I mean you know, even I have very different experiences of the channel, but but what we have in common I bet is that we were both seeking the truth and we are both in very different ways. Well, it's important that we sound certain it's important that we be credible right in your world, its critical that that the facts line up my world is much more superficial right. I get paid to talk like this,
but we each do what we have to do to make the tv show we're making sometimes you're on a skyscraper standing in ice, which I'm not sure. I understand why. But if the producer told you to do it, you do it it's so hot, but I was getting kind of dizzy, so they said take off your shoes and socks, we're going to give you a little bucket of ice to stand in and they'll cool your blood down. I have no idea. Okay, has it been fun for you to work on a show like this, and what do your colleagues at NASA think about the program itself? Well, that itself is a kind of an interestingly complex question. I mean it's a huge honor for me to be on the show, and I love talking about science, because studio time and camera people's time is expensive. We film all eight to twelve episodes, depending on how many
had been ordered. We found them all in either two or three days, an unusually interviewed about an hour's worth of time, each episodes every little bit of five minutes that I'm on each show. So when you said that you see, I seemed to be the one saying we don't really know we're not really sure they ve already edited out, like ninety percent of me, saying that so it's it's gruelling it, I usually do feel a bit sick afterwards and its exhausting, but but it some and as far as my colleagues at NASA think, I think that you know they think it's a service to get the public involved to get people interested in what we're doing. But I also can catch a lot of black for not being a real scientists. To, although I am I I have a doctor astrophysics, I published first off their papers in the most prestigious journals, but I went into more of a science communication job and simplifying things into twenty five seconds or less. Of course, you can leave out some of the details. Some of the uncertainties, some
complexities at the story has is no way you can't, and so a lot of my colleagues, I think, would think of me as a bit of a lightweight and your. Why is she talking about that? I'm not I'm not the world expert on every single subject in how the universe works. I studied binary stars for my research, but you'll hear me talking about PLUTO and Mars and of course I gonna read the papers and stuff, but you know people often go my case. For talking about something that I am not a knowledge acknowledged expert, but this is would so interesting. I feel like we are. We trending away from the age of the expert and the age of the authority figure and into a much more sceptical age where authenticity and honesty is in demand like ever built
war and appointed. The episode that I want to talk to you about was to simply say that it seems, like all of our institutions are now being looked at with heightened levels of scepticism and what does it do What does it do to science? What does it do to medicine? What does it do to all of us when a show? like this can be off by roughly two trillion. I mean. I literally sat there with all the credibility and certainty. I could muster to explain that. No, no, it's not two hundred billion. After all, it's two trillion galaxies, the implications of which obviously our mind boggling and then this week. Five years after the fact to suddenly learned that now it's not two trillion looks more like it's a couple hundred billion. I just wanted to hear from somebody who might
the intellectual courage and curiosity said we don't know how What do we know yeah and an That's where stories like this become wonderfully rich and also very humanizing you and using the word humility. What with tapping here really seems to be one of these kind of balanced points about how you communicate science, when you're scientist, because whenever we try to add all the uncertainties, all the details. You know every little last thing. We would little that's what a scientific paper it's in a scientific paper, that's accepted by your colleagues and published so people may not know them I mean you can't just say anything. You like as a scientist and and then have it go into one of the scientific journals. It's reviewed by your peers, if you viewed often by your competitors by people that are there trying to fight for the same grant money as you are or trying to get the same time on the Hubble space telescope that you are and
they look through all of your work and and and they state they try to see if they can find errors in at the point out that they will then ask you to fix before you can publish it or they may say. The study has no validity at all, or they may say why can't we find an error. I don't know this is true or not, but let's at least at this to our body, of knowledge. You know so about the pain. Doesn't necessarily claim that this is the final end all truth to the topic it means will hate. I made this measurement and good, bye measurement details. It seems to be legitimate and then other persons Ok, I made this measurement and this seems legitimate. They don't agree and I know it seems a lot to disagree by actor of of nearly two trillion, but here, if still you want unpack this, let me talk about what happened yeah. I do and you also said something that I would love for people to better understand the time on the Hubble. Is a very valuable thing and and and back in
nineties. I forget the guy's name, but you know too affirmatively take the amount of time. They talk to point this miracle at nothing right at a dark patch in the sky, justice see what might come back. I mean that was a big move and and and that did that gave us the deep field right and the altar deep field will that's right that that was actually the director of the Hubble Space Science Institute and you he had this idea put forward that you, let's use this powerful telescope, it's up above the atmosphere of the earth which normally obscures everything. It makes hopper images little wobbly and let's pointed at an area the sky, where we don't see anything that appears to be kind of an empty area. The sky, tween the stars, nobody galaxies there and to give you an idea, I think, total in my career. You know I mean that the stuff that I hobbled time that actually
you will once a year- people right into the Hubble space telescope institute- say I'd like to use the Hubble space telescope to observe this. My favorite thing and the Hubble Space Telescope Institute than assembles a panel of your international scientists every year to review all of these aspects and ended prioritize them as to which one think or better. Yet I think in my entire career, as an astronomer, I've had on the order of about two hours of a bubble time and for the Hubble deep field. They wanted to look at this one. Tiny little patch of the sky and equivalent at that point too, if you have a quarter like a coin, that's a quarter holes in arms, it from you and look at the eye of George Washington tiny little point on the sky. They want to state that for ten days ten days it was actually because the Hubble space telescope orbits the earth, and that means sometimes you can see something is sometimes on the other side of the earth that actually added to about a hundred hours of observing time. At something where you didn't see. Anything was empty and and and some people said, why are you
doing this star. Most farmers will do anything for hobble timing, we'd mud, wrestle, forded, that's how you decided zero episode. I'd want So is extremely valuable. Why spend that much time? But the image that came out is it remains one of the things that just took my breath away. I'm I'm not kidding. They found thousands of galaxies in that time little pinprick you'll be they looked small because they were so far away in some of the galaxies they were seeing the light had taken more than ten billion years to get to us. They were there far away and so on. They then said: okay, we need to do this again and then they did a slightly larger area. One thirty! Four million but the sky and others did they did this, how the public extreme or where they actually are used Is actually about it was, for a month of of time on hobbles there. That came to,
your hundreds of hours of observing time and our early yeah. That's right, I think, was fifty days that they actually did and they he's out over five thousand galaxies things like five thousand five hundred in one thirty, four million through the sky, Then you asked the question: will how many galaxies Arthur then, and so take five some five hundred multiply by thirty four million you every little point in the sky, and you get roughly two hundred trillion when a billion galaxies answered. I I mean my god look it's this is why people drink Michel, you know, I mean just the notion that you look back in time over thirteen billion years. I am and get an accurate understanding of what one thirty for millions of our sky looked like then it's just I mean if that doesn't get you at least interested in watching the Big bang up though at will,
so, and what we're talking about here is an actual observation gable. Can it we're going to get it sort of away from that. When we talk about the rest of the stories, let's be clear here. This was a real image. We can put that image. You know could be a blow it use computer screens and and wicked count how many galaxies there were. Is this wasn't anything other than an actual picture, and we took similar pictures in different parts of the sky, and we got similar results but the same number of galaxies and then there will be a mission coming up actually called the other than that, the Nancy Roman telescope, which will be able to make Hubble deep field Jesus of most of the sky, so we will have almost all of it covered. So this is what we can actually see and actually observed through our telescopes. This is not dependent on type of computer, modeling or sort of educated guesses. This is a of real picture, so a photo came back. A real image of one thirty, four of the millionth, the millionth
of our sky showed us what that little slice of the universe look like over thirteen billion years go. That far was an enlarged and then people with big brains, leaned over it and physically counted the galaxies, some of which are probably bigger than the milky way right. Some spiral, some all kinds of tax on Alex it's in there and then took that number and just multiplied it and logically, and mathematically made it the doctrine and wrote about it, and that's why I was called back to the booth two weeks later to record the episode where two hundred billion was set Lee no longer accurate, I mean how do we get from two hundred billion two to two trillion? Ok, this is the part where we need to step away from the idea of a just being a picture and set it becomes an. I wish it was somewhat of a better way of saying this. I mean a theory and educated guess I pay
this is that we need to test, and so what happened? What was there were again very legitimate astronomers and they use things like the Hubble deep field and also one of the sum of the big ground based telescopes on earth. The the biggest telescopes on earth right now have odd mirrors that collect lighted and the biggest funds are save about thirty feet across the one in Chile, Yugoslavia there all kind of about the same there's. This does some in Chile there they summon Hawaii and those are the biggest ones right now and they, used these very, very deep images of the sky. They make very long time. Exposures exposure is just kept looking at that same part, the sky for a long time, and they started actually look at how many galaxies were present at each different time in the universe, to try to make of the three dimensional map. But, as you move out, how many more galaxies do you see and
it is interesting to think that the farther away we look, we actually see more and more galaxies. That might surprise you that the universe began with more galaxies that it has today. But that's because these little galaxies started to combine under the force of gravity and probably directed by this underlying structure called dark matter to actually start forming, bigger and bigger galaxies. You there's there too little satellite galaxies of the milky way that you can see from Chile called the manual and clouds and they really do lead to the clouds in the sky, the wonderful, but then we have ever so the milky way Galaxy has followed up and eaten many smaller galaxies over its history, a son of them they're still cover remnant back that kind of dead, gal see the core still moving around inside the milky way, though it's true that there's a there's a black hole essentially the centre of every galaxy. Sometimes maybe more than one, and that is why we think perhaps they merged well. So I can
he has one big black hole in the middle. That's about four million times the mass of the sun and, of course yielded the way, a black games masses when stuff you're falls down it. It takes that mass and actually starts growing out law, but that that point of no return that event horizon move to build it further and further out, and so our black hole is YO. A nice nice big black hole is by no means the biggest black hole. We see, in fact other galaxies when we look out in space have black holes that are very many billions of times the mass of the sun? and you're. The incredible thing is that one's so far away that we're looking at them as they were safe twelve billion years ago, already have these big billion mess black holes in them. So you know I mean you, you could have had these big black holes formed by lots of galaxies collide and they have little black holes, they ll be merged together, but the fact that we see these big black holes when the universe was basically just about a billion years old. We don't think that we have enough time for
to happen. So they D day. How do we get so many black holes so quickly at mean right now. We have no idea where good and by the way it is worth saying again, the billion I mean it. It just gets around is. Is it just a billiard it? It doesn't sound like anything more, but maybe because we have twenty five trillion dollars in debt on the books at the moment, people this year, the number all the time, but it's it's. It's truly just a mind. Boggling number, no matter what you're talking about it seems exe except for the vastness of the cosmos. I never manage to amend, dont think that astronomers have some magic brains. That I mean I mean I can barely visualize. What a hundred is forces a thousand. You know, and you know a billion
is a million with a thousand million right so give me that that's incredibly taken a million things just how huge now at yet multiplied by a thousand. I think the only the only thing that I can do a little bit better is is get a sense of sort of more physical scales. Like you know that the sun is is absolutely hugh. You could actually fit about a million earths inside the sun. Little more than a million earths. You could stuff inside the sun. And yet the sun is. You know that the sun is tiny compared to the milky way Galaxy here, I'll I'll show you the size. So if I make a little thought, a piece of paper about the size of the date of an eye right, gave us the sun were that scale. If you give it a million earths inside that little dot, the milky way, Galaxy would be bigger than the earth. So you know I think felt like flying. You know their flight between New York and allay we're gonna go and back and forth
down below. There's got a paperback books in the reading and there's a of an eye, and you know if the earth can be thought of as the size of our galaxy, that tiny dot of an eye is our son and that's just our galaxy today we are talking about whether there are billions or trillions of galaxies. Both somebody tried to put it in context from me once and in terms of. If you look at thirteen point, seven billion years, basically them the length of all of it and you reduce it to ten metres just a ten m line, and then you look at the amount of time humans have been on the earth. It's something like three microns minutes, invisible right! It's it's! It's! It's not even a speck, so it does help. You know when you're trying to get your head around the totality of of evolution, for instance,
You know if you're not predisposed that fear, you might shrug and say. Well, you know I mean it's, it's it's just not enough time for the miracle of evolution to have happened, but it's so much more time than you can contemplate I'd a teacher once who spent a week having us count to a million just so we understood how long it took to count to a million. You know cause that follow each state each year we count it was pretty
It was just you know, it was an hour class and- and so you just counted as really quickly as you could for an hour. You know, and it makes the point me that's what a million is never mind a billion a trillion. Are you kidding yeah? I know it's into these Huck about evolution, because a lot of people don't realize that you know the knowledge that we have that today we take for granted, isn't all that old and new back about a hundred and fifty years ago, back she less than that, and we really didn't understand why the sun was glowing. But what was the mechanism
I was all this energy coming off the sun. We hadn't even discovered really yet at the Adams of dozens of atoms. What are Adams made have wondered nuclei? How can you fuse them together? So their first assumption was the view of the sun was probably very much like the earth. It was a big rock, but it was just such a big rock that had so much gravity. The gravity was pulling it altogether and what, when you, when you press something together me, you know like if you have a really hydraulic drill or something and repressing something together, the temperature goes up, and so what they were saying is that YO, this footage, such a big rock, that all that gravity pushing it together it's very hot and that's white gloves and warns us up and gives a sunlight and it was on. It was actually a woman, Cecilia Paine, who actually found out back. The about the nineteen. Twenty is that the Sun
was not made out of rock, but actually of hydrogen gas issue was graduate student, and that was her Phd dissertation and at first it was. It was kind of poohpooh by people, but not for long, because heard heard her data at her arguments were so good bidding. Nobody could argue with. And ensuring that turns out to be true. We just didn't even understand Adams, yet nuclei that you can have a fusion reaction. So I mean think about that just a hundred years.
Go and Charles Darwin thought that you don't get a big that big rock is gonna cool off eventually and viewed the calculations, people were making is it'll kill off in a couple millionaires hey. That means the earth is older than than six thousand years. The sun is older, but Darwin said I dont think evolution goes that fast. You know, I don't think it's gonna take just six million years to carve the Grand Canyon, so you even that estimate the best scientists of the day trying to do very honest guesses based on their data. They were way off but see Michel, that's the thing man! Somehow the curiosity and the enthusiasm that I did. I hear in your voice in so many
ways has been replaced with a kind of certainty and- and I want to say hubris, but but I don't- I don't hear the humility where I want to hear it when I am not just talking about science, I just mean where I expect to hear humility. I often hear certainty instead, I mentioned earlier, and I don't mean this is a personal criticism of the guy. But you know when Anthony Foul she told me not to worry about masks. He sounded justice and, as he did two weeks later, when he told me I'd better where one an end, it did remind me of me how certain I sounded when I told millions of people there were two hundred billion galaxies when in fact I was off by roughly two trillion where, where did the humility go? the best minds in science drained all the blood out of George Washington,
best minds and in medicine were performing prefrontal lobbies based on things. That may really, though, good sense at all. How can we not be just profoundly humbled by everything you just said what it seems to me. We're just a wash and more certainty today than we ve ever been was interesting, because I mean each those stories. You just told him the one about doktor, Fouche e you're, the one about George Washington. You know they're more complicated than that right. You know I mean it wasn't just simply. The George Washington died because they drained all the blood out of him. That's not what happened. You repeat, the doctors at the time thought that bleeding was awake.
Reduce fever and the thing is the by large does help. Sometimes we don't believe and understand that mechanism, and we don't know we don't agenda today, but it did also doesn't help plenty of people their lives. There's so many things out of the question is front. Bottom is what percentage of people in the medical in in the medical profession really did think they were good idea versus not I mean. Maybe there are very relatively few doctors and hopefully not anymore, that think it was a good idea and this the thing when, when come to our show, and they say explained these things in twenty five seconds and then literally that's about it. What may be a minute tops. You know you get into these state. That sound, very authoritative, you sound, like you know, yeah. We saw Waterloo back to the today about how the actual two trillion estimate and then what changed at table oligopoly set aside for a silver is great. I love it's you're, describing the curse of the sound bite. Yes,
and if it exists in nonfiction television, it exists in journalism right right, it's everywhere, and it's killing us some. Times we ve rebelled against it. I remember I was doing a show in this would have been, I think, almost twenty years ago and they want me to do this throwaway line in this wasn't even the point of what I was saying, but they said will start with how, when when we wish, four Columbus prove the earth was round and then go on from there, and I was like no other now Christopher Columbus did not prove that the earth was round. People had excellent, excellent undeniable proof. The earth was round all the way back to the ancient Greeks. I mean I mean they. We have globes that are older than Columbus's time. I mean people knew the earth is round It's actually fairly easy to prove, and so this is one of my things, but I would teach astronomy, I would say you know, throw everything you know. How would you prove the earth is round.
And then you can do it without any instruments. The Greeks did it without any telescopes without any sophisticated timing. Everything! Well. How did you do that? As a teacher? Sorry of so many questions, retail, and also as a six greater, I asked my teacher if the world is round like a basketball and you can stand on the top of it. Ball. How can you stand on the bottom of the ball and not be upside down now realize that's an idiotic question. Pleasant was Ike's question. I still, I still don't get it. I think you do really ok, so that says- and this is an example of how a young person starts to process information- children at first draw the earth is a ball cause. We tell them it's that and I put themselves in top. That makes sense, because you know they're there being held down, so they must be on top of the ball and, of course, gravity poles in redirection. That's why stars are spheres. Gravity pulls everything in in that in one direction, that's like planets are spheres, and so
You know I mean I spent a lot of my time in Australia and in Australia. Most things you looking at. Stars in the southern hemisphere. Many you can't see from the north and that's kind of cool, okay, but then would seal Ryan but Ryan would be upside down Ryan on his head, with with the with the other sort of orion pointing up, ran it all that that makes your stomach little queasy. Because you yeah, you really are upside down and then your teacher could show you a glow of the world in North America, isn't at the top it's after the side re not all falling down that way. So it's got a great way to start to teach children. Having asked questions,
asking. Why is everybody on top and why don't we fall off or not is far from a stupid question? It's how you start to learn that are being a scientist is ask something you dont know: ok, here's a question for you: when one does a sceptic officially become a denier when they won't look at new information, and I think that this is where the example doktor found. She comes in so when the wind, this this discovered this system you novel corona virus. Two thousand nineteen started moving around China and started to be spreading in other places. We really didn't know very much about how it was transmitted and you are a member for the longest time. You know I had this bottle. The hand sanitize or in my car, which I still have, but the first thing they were saying That will be very, very careful. What you touch should wipe your groceries. Possibly I mean I'm in so
that's what kind of gone away when they realise that the transmission was much more easy through the air and through people's breath and through your aerosols in the air, little bits of fluid. So I'm doctor found she was working from new information and if you are able to ingest new information honestly, I mean to me: that's the difference between being a sceptic and being a denier. When I came to the guard spaceflight centre as the assisting director science for communication in two thousand and nine. I really just studied astrophysics. I did know much about earth science, and I was hearing more and more about, for example, climate change and I remember
owing to the sum of the earth scientist. I was just meeting for the first time and saying what really is the data? Can you really show that this is driven by something that humans are doings seems amazing that just what we're doing could influence something as big as the earth than as large as our atmosphere, and they sat me down. They showed me what they were measuring and I was like wow you that that is very, very clear. So you know: there's there's always start as a sceptic and ask how do we know this, but if you can, if you can, you can manage and is its human to want to hold onto the truth that we will be born with the truth that our parents and thought they knew if you can let the goal of those actually look at the information that that's really all. I ask: why think? That's all any reasonable person would ask, but a reasonable person today gets their information from a lot of different platforms, shows
gowers aspire to be a paragon of credibility and science and modesty aside. I think we do a pretty good job, but you might be a viewer who who looks it discovery or the science channel. Stance in the same way that some people are not gonna believe anything they hear on CNN, not because the source that's making a claim is incredible, but because there on a place that they have already dismissed as credible, likewise Fox MSNBC. So it is. It just feels to me, like all of our institutions, have our back on their heels. There's a giant credibility problem, that's impacting the country, and I don't. I dont think reasonable people can be Glade blamed for for becoming more sceptical than ever before. I'm just curious as to your thoughts as what.
We can science due to help reclaim some of that broken trust, and- and is it science that really is our salvation and when people say follow the science. What does that really mean if most good site
This will say I look where what where work in progress, be careful how closely you follow us, but don't dismisses either. I just don't. I just don't know with a happy medium is well that's list a little look back and think about what science really is, because on one the things that you could have you don't even look at a hit me. What we, when we restarting is you are talking about how your impression of scientists, this idea of being certain. Unlike Eve, even hubris, which has even been you two you'd loaded Gilda to certain god's- will get you for it. Science, in its very nature, has to be anti authoritarian. We have to be looking for the new observing yielded at the next idea and we have to be open to it, and sometimes they ask you to give up things that were wonderful and precious and maybe maybe you you'd actually dedicated
decades of your life to researching, but that particular idea turns out to be wrong and at worst, human, too, and sometimes that turns out to be really really difficult to let those things go. But you know I mean I remember when we we have the data now, but will see. This is true or not tat. The universe is actually not only expanding but seems to be getting faster overtime, even accelerating, and when that data first came out when the discoveries came out than they were my friends have been lively, two friends of mine from graduate school, where the people that got the Nobel Prize for that and in one of the persons I dont know from Berkeley. At any rate, you know it dumb. I I remember seeing one of them. This has to be wrong right. This makes no sense being if it's a tiny little observation, a tiny little thing that we're just trying to measure and the first measure is nothing like we expect. I mean how much do you dump out, everything you ve already known just for that one tiny little measurement, but you have to let things build over time
and like I said I mean just like you- know, scientists only a hundred years ago had no idea how the sun glowed. You know you have to be ready to turn a dime when when something new comes up, you really have to be ready to go that way in science. Does this over and over again
No, I mean that I think one of the things that made Albert Einstein so amazing was he was able to let go in some ways and we almost more than he discovered he was able to let go of stuff that didn't make sense anymore. Like time. If you mean he was able to let go of the idea. The time was just a continuous flow that may be time was different. Two different observers and any in the physics was right on that cusp everything which has worked out. Other people had done all this wonderful work that living right up to that, but they couldn't make that last jump and say: oh, maybe time does will exist the way we think it does an Einstein dead and all of a sudden the universe fell into place more
so all of a sudden things made more sense based on his theories, because one guy asked the question that really hadn't been posed before one guy allowed himself to let go of his his preconceived idea of what time was and I'm not
and I mean I just I didn't do any this in a vacuum. There were many scientists that a lot of the work and all of that was caught unprepared. Everything was coming together, but nobody was willing to say yet the time isn't really real. The way we experience it and an Einstein was the view he would. He threw out time and let time very for different observers. Everything just click all these different things, just click together, so it for him. It was almost less about discovering something as in giving something up by the way, a propos of nothing, but what moves faster light up, we're gravity they move at the same speed governments at the speed of light hills at possible. Well, so
I mean gravity as a ripple in space time I mean so now. We actually have experimental proof of this. We have gravity detectors all around the world and we ve got some got one organ got one Louisiana got one ITALY that some other ones that are coming on line. When we are when we actually observe when these gravitational waves, it hits them in succession at the speed of light, we have experimental proof of that, but according to Einstein's mathematics Einstein predicted that before we had any measured proof of it and that came out of his theories as to how gravity should work, because gravitational waves They don't go around things like like lightened little band, but a gravitational waves will just go through mass or yes, yes, it will
and I mean I wonder if there is some way you, theoretically, that you could possibly focus or diffracted gravitational waves you might, but that that's that's way. Science fiction, but he having gravity waves, are going through us all the time that the tiny, tiny little ripples in space and time itself. So I mean it's a weird thing to think that as we're sitting here, you know there are all these little compression in space and time coming through us, our bodies are actually widening a little. Our time is slowing down with it, and- and I mean all of that, but the scale of them is maybe that's why they were so hard to detect so In the case of the Lego, observatories, hearing United States, the gravitational waves observatories they have out, lasers and other the lasers are actually a couple of miles. Long
you're a beautiful thing, arms on him right in my arms is rare. You didn't do it. I didn't get a corner. The laser comes out. That's hard to do like from the elbow goes needs direction and those two lasers aspires to be exactly the same length there. The dazzled doesn't that's a huge amount of trouble to make sure that's true, and then, when the gravitational waves comes through and space itself is compressed, one laser will compressed differently than me. Where did you get this readout I'd love to taking the Lego sometime? I love to see it not me. As I understand it, it's like two different locations. Right isn't like one wheezy Anna had one of the West of Ireland has very rightly organ one always Vienna and in another other countries, all around the world that are building similar things and NASA has a plan to build one in space, so they'll be really really fun, but at any rate, so over over a couple of miles. This is how much space compressed this blows my mind over a couple of miles. This is laser, took more than two miles long compressed one one thousandth of the diameter of a single proton
in an hour and we measured measured it. We measured that there's a whole science of something called metrology. Meter means to measure what can you actually measure and and this this detection of that little wave, I have to say, was completely scientifically rigorous. There was no way to doubt it well well. Well earlier you said We science fiction and it made me laugh because you know that's how they science fiction. Doesn't it does I like science fiction- and you know watching watching STAR Trek as a kid felt, like total science fiction, but how many gadgets and vices did you see in that show that than we were using them right now. It seems I seen the cartoon it's like. Yes, Spock and Kircher, looking somebody's Iphone, smartphone and say how commerce doesn't do all that, but you know that the reason that detection was so clear. So if you're too
what about variations that are a thousand times smaller than a pro time. You in your detectors, are all over the place to be independent of a truck drives by fifty miles away. Somebody sneezes, I mean that the doing this why those detectors they have a lot of variation in responding to a lot of noise. We would say one of them went what what what what what are very clearly and in the speed of light time, different gathering when what what what what exactly the same way, speed of light difference between the two and it was exactly the kind of waves you would get if two objects spiraled in together, like two black holes too, to really big objects. There was no way to deny it all over the world. At the speed of light. They make the same viper. Since exactly at the same time, at the light, speed travel time- and you know you detected- a gravity- waved- isn't that this can't be chance,
what what goes through your mind as as an astronomer physicist scientist when you went, went when that kind of irrevocable proof is presented, I mean The general aim dancing right lie, joy, Goddess Matt. You know it's funny. I was trained yet a very, very reticent, kind of withdrawn scientists that I think, is brilliant, but is very very uncomfortable and social situations. I was trying to get a more comfortable talking about some of the scientific results, and I was giving in some some coaching on this too. I found a picture on the internet. He was one of them. The gravitational waves team and it showed the room of scientists. They actually were announcing this discovery and the look joy on his face. Those asking him to remember that- and I remember the night. The Mars mirth curiosity landed insects until nearly ten years ago now and
That was so risky landing on Mars. It's something you can't practice on earth, because Mars's gravity is different, so you don't design. Retro rockets that'll work in an inordinate nurse gravity even design instruments that Workin earths air pressure, because Mars's air pressure is so much less than ours. You can't rehearse these things, have you, but obviously we have labs where we try but end to end. You can't rehearse it and when the thing was down and safe- Actually I don't remember what happened next, but I remember saying I remember being aware that I was screaming for joy and jumping down and remember single gave me they better seldom and but I dont you married doctor. I remember darting screaming and at an end, and that was why there is such a thing. Is the mass a high five right because people are camera cortisol going? I was so excited. We were missing each other. You were missing
and we are missing each other hands, and so I have to say I'll, let you talk NASA solves problems. They actually brought in a consultant to teach us how to high five there's a technique to it. That always works a kid. You not. You wouldn't think this works, but if you're trying to hide five, somebody don't look at their hand, don't look at their face while you're moving look at their elbow and there's something about looking at their elbow that you get every damn time it works. Do me a favor. I don't know if you knew this or not or if you care, but there's an episode on this podcast that describes the invention of the high five. Do you know anything
about it. Please tell me about it. It was. It was a completely serendipitous moment between Dusty Baker, who was playing for the dodgers at the time outfielder he had just become the fourth dodger to hit thirty home runs on the season and he was rounding third base when a team made of his ran out named Glenn Burke, Glenn Burke was still in his rookie year, and land happened to be the first gay man to play in the major leagues who was open about it. This is just an interesting. Sidebar the story, but regarding the high five, that moment happened when Glenn Burke's as excited as you are right now. Jumping up and down waving his hands could so happy for his teammate Dusty Baker rounds. Third and seized Glenn come in. And with his hands in the air, and you don't know what to do he's on his way, so he based
we raised his hand and they slap palms, and in that moment the high five was was created. My story goes in a slightly different direction because I get to talk about you know. Being black in major league baseball and being gay and the incredible difficulties you know back in eighteen. Seventy eight that that came with all that, It just so funny to hear you just explaining to me the proper way to anticipate a high five, because all you in your geeky scientists, friends at NASA, are unable to do it here. I am writing a story about to the men who created it and now, if people are wondering, if sometimes the universe is trying to send a message, I think perhaps this sir. This conversation sums nicely absolutely, and I mean the desire to see and a little bit of a more sombre note that something that I really miss. Your we were
be trying to land a new big Mars rover in February, and I was I was actually when the people that was hosting the sample he took from an asteroid this October, and it was amazing and when we got that sample on the first try to a million miles away, we wanted to hug each other. We the high five each other, and we all had our masks on and we were all socially distant and we roll kind of waving at each other importing each other. You hear that now having, but but no one the snow. One, no high fives. Isn't it amazing how much we ve come to rely on kinetic tactile touching you know I mean it's so many people, I think are so wounded right now, because they're just starved for for this, the kind of connection you're talking about just not being able to celebrate small things or big things taking assembled astern is no small thing. I would you go to Mars
no hell. No, I think. I think that I might with a lot of council you. Maybe some drugs go to the space station, but I mean a trip to the moon. I can imagine nothing more profound than actually standing somewhere that isn't the earth and seeing the earth as the small thing ass I have been, but I'm I'm, I'm I'm a chicken. I am. I have plenty of friends who were astronauts and I get data catastrophe, but above all these things and then we had already- questions. May my God, you day at an astronaut, did they some kind of gene? They process fear differently than I do. I, like I said it would be going up and down The space station is something that we have pretty safe, I mean, It is always a risk when every go into space, but any I get nervous flying me. I feel
all over the world, because I decided not to let that fear limit when I do in life. But you know if I have trouble flying a long line of work there, stronger, Mirror astronomer, not an astronaut. I stay on the ground, I get the do know. Do those got tingle by the judge? No, I don't Scott spent the better part of a year on the space station and a couple years ago, this is maybe one of the greatest bits of flattery and my life, but they they give you a couple of phone calls each month you know to your family and that it and then to anybody that you might want to talk to. I mean you're up in space. Your bones are turning to putty your floating around, don't God's work whatever and even want to talk to somebody back on the planet will this guy Scott Tingle says I wanna talk to Micro. I like what he's doing with its foundation.
And ass a set me this encrypted Ipad and some special login, think I was in New Orleans filming something at the time, but I took an hour break from it. I went back to my hotel and Scott Tingle and I had an incredible conversation, he was in space literally floating around talking to me and- and I asked him I said, would you go to Mars And I dont even know that I finished saying the sound at the end of Mars before he said hell, yeah, better, believe it. That's why I'm here and I said seriously- you would go right now. He said I would leave everything and that's not because
I'm not madly in love with a long list of things, but I'm here to do that. We are pleased I'd say you were when you say, were wired differently yeah. It's just like that. Crazy right, climber and free solo, Alex Arnold realise just doesn't have the same ship that you and I have to go. Now, I'm not going to Mars. Thou art ass, absolutely beautiful its nest. It's an absolutely beautiful part of humanity that I dont think we were ever meant to function so much as individuals as sort of a super organism. I mean I'm a little kid from
rural, suburban, Wisconsin, both parents terribly afraid of math, and am I basically my mom said as soon as I could walk, I was trying to get outside a look at the stars and you all my life. I've never wanted seriously to be anything else other than an astrophysicist, and I was told you know, you're, not good. A man you're, getting the right personality or not logical. Your more sort of art see you be great writer. Maybe you could be a lawyer. Some of us really come with a calling and yielded the astronauts. Have that that calling to physically explore and- and a beautiful thing to appreciate the army me we spend a lot of time. Sometimes you making fun of each other's differences, but you know I I never wanted children. I love. Children are speaking
This is entirely dependent on people who want to have children and raise them. Well, I never. You know. I've never worked on a farm, yet we would I've never provided food before you, everybody on the planet, guys I've never built a house. I mean I mean all of us have to have something to contribute to it: large a good and strangely enough, apparently there was also a need. Not many of us think is only used Bobby less than ten thousand practicing astronomers in the world. You know that some of us love studying the sky and
I mean Stevens had been doing this and think about Stonehenge. Think about the honest as a people in the South West you'll, all kinds of people learn how to build calendars now to predict the rising of the stars, and some of us just cannot get it out of her head you, I could not turn away from the sky and underneath a beautiful night sky is still one of the only places in the world that I don't feel lonely. Isn't that funny, because I've talked to people who say undertake the beautiful night sky is the place where I feel the loveliest it. Isn't that interesting and we're all meant to work here together. I think you know I mean that you actually just summed up really there.
If I wanted to to talk to you at this this, this weird mix of humility and certainty and skepticism, but also this idea that we have to find the thing that we're good at or the or the thing that somehow lets us he'll like we ve found the thing it doesn't matter. If we're right or not right, I mean it's perception, is ninety nine percent of all of this, and so for me, you ride. I've been fortune, I've been able to do a lot of different things, trial lot of different things, but narrating is actually something I'm good at, and it's just so relentlessly humbling to be good at it and yet be so wrong. So often and had some weird way. That's even I mean look, that's the that's the parent. I'm looking for the smartest people in the world are wrong a lot and
at and there's no shame in it, and it doesn't mean anything. Other than we're all just awfully human, really that this is alive. I think interesting thing of damage done to young people. Women. There told that they're they're they're gifted gifted in town, because you get this idea that things are supposed to come easily to you, and it often surprises people to know just how many bad grades ip in in physics in math. I did not learn it quickly and I did not learn. Easily, but I knew I wanted that end goal of being able to study the stars, and so it just it just needs to be more time I mean I, I picked up some of these in college, which honestly were polite. These. You know, because you know I'm not sure I got a single question right in the whole class. It done without partial credit, no phd from a shop You know a little great on a curve. I mean at work YO you bid on course. They do because, when you're, when,
trying to learn, say seriously. Quantum mechanics as an undergraduate. Some of the kids have had it before and they get it better There are some people that are brilliant the get it right away and then there's the rest of us, but have like say only thirty, forty percent average and then, he gets less called that I could be minus. So in their often do not match. Is creating a curve the greeting unto curves is like these people kind of get it, and these people need another holier than even trite start. Think you I mean. I bet it's all other conversation, but the eye that everybody gets a trophy and the idea a great on a curve and the idea that our standards are gonna be constantly in flux? That's, it seems like one more thing that makes people sceptical about all kinds of other things: Oh absolutely, you know I mean I Then I dont have a glib answer for that. You know I mean I grew up before. I got a lot of positive reinforcement for doing what I like. I was basically ignored by my science teachers, and now I wasn't, I wasn't abused by them. I didn't have people say
you know your girls, you can't do this summit must be. There was the nineteen eighty is that that was already a little bit. We pass a lot about, but I I was not a stand out and arm so when people say like you have a teacher that really inspired you, I certainly did, but they can it not to be my science teachers. That's worried me to mine was a music teacher right now, it's funny to when you say, gifted and talented. You know the problem with that expression. Is it just the pressure it puts on the recipient? It's the implicit label that goes on everybody else right. Oh, let me introduce you to the and gifted untenanted group right. It's like a celebration of essential work is something
involved and for decades, but now uncovered. We realise that when you celebrate essential workers, you might you just called forty million people non essential right. Well, that's gonna, have some bad consequences to the unintended consequences of language is the other way to some. This whole thing up, and I do want to sum it up, because I could talk to you for hours. I wanna be respectfully your time, but but any final thoughts on the unintended consequences of being incorrect in a world where scepticism is at an all time high, even as certainty seems to have infected everyone. How do we get out of this? Well,
like you said we seem to have gone into camps based on r R. The information were consuming and there is also this idea of simplifying everything. I mean that the conversation that we get started on, but I've never actually had chanced to tell you the story of how we got from you. Don't you hundred billion two trillion back at you under billion blistered? Another time I can tell you all about each measurement. I was reading It is for you this morning MIKE, but that I want to hear about that. I really would go with it. We got time I mean I'm just I'm waiting for the moment where you become marginally less interesting than you were the moment on the floor, but it's not happening so so I want to hear it well. So it will be worse things about that. That first estimate was based on an actual picture and then a series of pictures from his knees telescope, the second nesting
it was based on what we call a model- and this is a hard word to use, because people think about. Oh, I mean you, for example, might I have I have all these wonderful LE model, a model airplanes? You know that might my husband loved to making was really Great Britain for modeling or people. Think of model like walking the catwalk in all that. So in this case, we're talking A computer model where you you make so many assumptions, and- and so the assumption was looking at the data they At about how many galaxies, where different distances from us, what we keep a trend going Also there they there's more galaxies at every place. We look there this limit to how far telescopes can see right now I mean that Surprise you you are telescopes, unfortunately, are not good enough to look all the way back in time and take a picture of every galaxy that existed because Then we would have to answer you just as much as the Hubble deep field is a real answer. Real picture
and their model suggested that there be lots and lots of these smaller little galaxies, and we still think that this is probably true. They came together to form these bigger and bigger galaxies overtime and their particular mathematics as predicted. Yet this is not observed, but said based on the trends we see, that could be as many as two trillion galaxies that we haven't been able to see it with bigger telescopes and better instruments in the future, We will be able to see some of these so was based on. I mean it's not so much a guess, but based on this particular computer. Mathematical, simulation what the universe was like and they never claimed otherwise, by the way that the paper says you did, we made these aside since this was the mathematical model we used so press release. However, so they went back and I read the press release about that and I hope I agree with you. I love our science writers here at NASA. They are brilliant, brilliant people, but the words they use
were you know that there must be two trillion galaxies. We await. The belated now seems that you know that I would have is more language couch and get as other. This is U one past. Will idea based on one of our models, but when you write that way the public seems to lose interest. Say what you don't know anything do you. So why am I even reading that? So they ask us. The sound certain of saying- that this is based on a computer model and then so that the next thing that happened was the new horizons. Spacecraft has flown all the way out past PLUTO and into this place called the piper belt. With this all these other big rocky things, including Erica which we took a picture of PLUTO is so far away. Her off by the way is that the gathered gamble cover DUMBO Rights rights Super soup rod. Red colored I'll, be all my lord any remember how dark things are out there and it's amazing is dead. These dark things lurking in space out there at any rate put ourselves.
Are we now it's it's so far away from the sun does far less like pollution. Let me just like when you're near a big city, the skies bright, and he can't see as much he got into the country. All stars come out PLUTO this spacecraft, his farther away right now that we ve ever been able to make a really good observation of the sky. It's got much better cameras on it, and so their observation basically looked at the background. Glow of the sky not stars, not galaxies, but how much light was coming when you get away from the the actual like pollution of the sun, and they said this is amazing and that there is actually twice as much light coming that we can't even tell where it's coming just a diffuse glow in the sky. Then all
galaxies and stars? We see so, in fact, their measurement was that the darkness of space was even much brighter than we thought when they got out there, but they said based on that gas of two trillion galaxies, that background of light, probably two trillion galaxies, would create a brighter background, the map, so it's probably less than that, of two million, so you you have. You have two observations on either side, and then you have. This does educated excellent gas in the middle and they don't agree yet because we don't know right, but we also don't know what the brightness would be of these distant galaxies. Yet we don't know how bright red the stars might have been that long ago that far back in the universe, we don't know how much does there might be between us in those galaxies. There are many many factors we don't understand, and so we don't know yet what the right number as some people are estimating cod.
Some people, s debating kind of low. We were trying to base this on as many observations as we can get, but man. Why is it important to two to know if there are two hundred billion galaxies versus two trillion, because what it does is it gives you an idea of how our universe of malt the number of galaxies at different times can tell you a lot about how the universe changed over the time from the big bang? When did the first stars form? When did they turn on one? Did the first galaxies form? How do you get black holes a billion times the mass of the sun when there has even been enough time for a generation of stars to live and die in form a big black hole like that I'll tell you why its import of some people, I read recently that sixty percent of the people on the planet believe in extra terrestrial life, alien life right, the majority, the people in this country.
Believe it, and even though we don't have actual evidence, the guts of the argument seems to be the huge number of the cosmos almost requires it, and to have two hundred billion galaxies filled with hundreds of billions of stars individually means many many, millions of stars collectively, which means God knows how many Exo planets rotating around the right, so so with a truly incalculable number of potential homes. The math seems like, surely it must be there. That's the argument so that basic argument just went from an argument around two hundred billion galaxies with all of its attendant stars and planets to two trillion, so people who are predisposed to believe that there is life on other plans.
It's got a giant indicator that they were not only right, but they were right times ten. So I don't mean to me that that's part of why people are fascinated by this whole thing that I love, because you know let me think about all the way back to the Hubble. Deep fields can mean this is now over twenty years ago, even if you, even if we just stop there right, even if we had you know that that little one thirty four million the sky and you can sit- let's say five thousand galaxies in the tiny little dot five thousand galaxies each with hundreds of billions stars. I mean in that one little dot on the sky, and this this is the real picture. This isn't, conjecture use your computer model. I mean there were a one in a billion chance right for a planet to have life in a tangle dogma sky there would be thousands or millions of of of plants. Would life on them
if it's a one billion chance, if it's a one trillion chance, or maybe only fifty whatever, but but on every little tiny dot, one thirty four million through the sky? So so I mean, I think I mean of course, omitted NASA. We, we are actively looking for real scientific evidence, of life on other worlds, and I am really hoping it happens. I I'm not kidding. I have a bottle of champagne filling in the refrigerator. I've had it for a while now ice we are one of our rovers one of our missions to Saturn. You know what were we can find it in my lifetime and I'm hoping that bottle of champagne. I think there is, but I am. I need the proof that that's we're waiting for look about a scientist Michel. But might I suggest that we open the champagne regardless and simply enjoy the life we know we have on this planet. What? What? What you just said is It reminded me something I also heard long time ago were where they are
I was lucky you. You can't make the case that, in an infinite universe, there must be life on another planet because he universes infinite. You have to make the case that, in an infinite universe, there must be infinite life on infinite planets, and if you really understand the notion of infinity right, which begs the question, are we in an infinite universe, or does this thing actually have sides on in his bed? Incredible to think that me, no idea. You know, because r r r telescopes are not powerful enough to see their new there. There is something we call the observable universe, which is as far as we can see in every direction, and we know it means so that they can that's. Basically, a sphere centred on us are telescopes, look you're so far out any direct but then look at a galaxy in the sky. That is a hundred million light years away. They have their own sphere around them, assuming they dont
much better telescopes, relatively every every observer has the limits to how much you can observe and, of course, we go farther and farther out and they get better and better and better, but but that that background glow, that the new horizons spacecraft saw that guarantees. We don't know everything, yet this does light coming from so far away and so long ago. Perhaps that were not able to resume that into individual galaxies and so were guessing are our best educated guesses, and it will get a lot better with the next generation of telescope settle becoming online soon that the Micro wave low, is that what that no distinction, the visible light. So we were simply we're talking about a hundred billion either two trillion galaxies. That's based actually on a background, glow, invisible light and some degree and infrared light, but then there-
the other, wonderful background, glow in microwave light, and that we should leave for another time, but that we will, along with string theory and multi verses, sure Magna Tars, Paul Sars Quasar Zionism questions. I wanted to run by you dark matter. The amount of dark matter in the universe is so much more than anybody ever imagined. The whole black hole thing is still really chap, and my ass insists. There's just so much there's so much real, quick, big bang theory, good or bad. For your world and until then you know I was thinking about the theory. Do route the banker. Oh, so I guess they again, youth, your gear, getting the honesty of being a science site. Isn't it's complicated? So I mean I I I was opposed. Doctoral research followed Astrophysics Caltech. So that means that the character of Sheldon Cooper get busy over that that's
I was right and you know I am nowhere near as smart as those people are directing, given that this then do good. Everything about me Sheldon used recombining, is fishes DNA to make a glow in the dark and stuff and discovers Newt new things in astrophysics and also does biochemistry. We were not that good. Maybe we don't know all that stuff. And also you know sure you know. Maybe some of us are a little bit more introverted a little bit more withdrawn, brawl geeks. But I do remember that all of us had STAR Trek and uniforms. We have to be careful not to wear the same ones to a party, Other things I mean did this one episode, were they all show up as the flash that can be a problem? Awkward sure I'm sure- overall and another different. No absolutely get the idea that I, something brilliant Godot, learning astrophysics somebody I wanted to do just like somebody might want to learn how to play the violin the hour had had. I hadda had a really. We know how to really be
the excellent plumber, or still just remember, no yeah, you never know. What's going to attract some one to your chosen field, it could be, it could be star. Trek could be star. Wars could be the bang theory on tv or it could be how the universe works. You know you and I do a very deliberate shell and we take a very, very deliberate, measured look at this topic, but if I learn anything in this ridiculous industry that it's all connected- and there are a lot of different ways to get from point a to point b and damn- you have proven that, beyond a shadow of a doubt with this, sir amazingly captivating witty on scripted exchange. Thank you
Thank you very much and wonderful to talk to you. We come back. If I invite you nicely please, and hopefully we know what these days, but maybe even didn't, seem studio. Will you bring the champagne yeah or something else? Maybe you could get a liberal and maybe a good bottle of bourbon, now you're saying my song, even if there's not life on other planets, we'll drink of urban anyway, they exposure explain
Transcript generated on 2021-03-06.