Cover art for podcast The Hyperfine Physics Podcast

The Hyperfine Physics Podcast

28 EpisodesProduced by Derek Padilla and Zak EspleyWebsite

Physics puzzles and deep dives into physics topics.

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Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 - The universe is not locally real. What does that mean?

October 8th, 2022


The 2022 Physics Nobel Prize, awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the …

Acoustic Levitation w/ Special Guest Dr. David Jackson

July 8th, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss acoustic levitaiton with Dr. David Jackson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dickinson College.

Their published paper at …

Gravitational G and How Science Works

June 17th, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss the "controversial" value of Newton's gravitational constant G. They cover the history of its measurement and how the value (and confidence in that value) has changed over time.

Gravitational G …

Cosmology and the Arrow of Time

May 16th, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss the big question: why is the future different than the past? Why do we remember the past but not the future?

Much the …

Is Anything Truly Random? w/Special Guest Grant Ciffone

May 4th, 2021


Zak and Derek chat with special guest, Grant Ciffone! Grant joins us as a non-physicist who asks “Is anything truly random in the universe?”

How to Keep Time

April 20th, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss a mystery in a hospital, where an MRI machine seems to have taken out only iPhones; Android was unharmed. This leads to a conversation on how watches work, fundamentally.

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Entropy & Statistical Mechanics

April 8th, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss the statistical origins of entropy and how it connects from there into thermodynamics. They also encourage using flashcards 🙂

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March 23rd, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss the basics of thermodynamics, including the so-called thermodynamic potentials.

Topics: energy, temperature, entropy, …

Benford’s Law

March 6th, 2021


Zak and Derek discuss Benford’s Law, including the strange places it pops up, and some fundamental origins of the law.

Some of the references discussed:

The Mathematics of Benford’s Law – A Primer
Arno Berger and …

Planck, Einstein, and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

December 8th, 2019


Zak and Derek discuss Max Planck’s work in the foundations of what would turn into quantum mechanics, and Albert Einstein’s role in its promulgation. …

The Physics of Hurricanes

September 3rd, 2019


Zak and Derek discuss the physics of hurricanes, including the energy involved, and rotating reference frames, including Coriolis effects. Why do …

Hadrons – Quark Systems

July 27th, 2019


Zak and Derek discuss the composite systems of quarks in baryons and mesons, as well as the eightfold way and multiplet organization of quark …


May 22nd, 2019


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The Standard Model Part 1

May 12th, 2019


The first of a multi-part series on the Standard Model of particle physics. This is an overview of the particles that make up the standard model.

Domino Amplifier

April 13th, 2019


Zak and Derek discuss toppling larger and larger dominos in a chain reaction. How does the potential energy work? What are the limits of the setup?

World Record Largest Toppling Dominos:

Bohmian Mechanics – Pilot Wave Theory

April 7th, 2019


Zak and Derek follow up their Bell’s Theorm and EPR discussion with a survey of Bohmian mechanics, often called pilot wave theory, one of many …

Relative Motion (Not Relativity)

March 31st, 2019


Zak and Derek discuss a drone flying in an accelerating car. Does it stay in place? Fly to the back, front, ceiling, or floor? (And does the plane take off?)

The original Reddit post. (The actual question has been …

Bell’s Theorem and EPR

March 21st, 2019


Zak and Derek discuss nothing less than the fundamental nature of reality. They start with the arguments made in the Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen …

Climbing Magnets

November 29th, 2018


Zak and Derek try to tackle the “climbing magnets” puzzle from Veritasium’s Youtube channel. Both taking different approaches until watching the …

Balloons Inside Balloons and Sweet Spots

November 22nd, 2018


Zak and Derek first discuss what happens to a balloon which holds another balloon that pops while inside the first. Then they try to tackle the …

Fortnite and the Principle of Least Action

November 15th, 2018


Zak and Derek discuss the physics of dropping in Fortnite and PUBG.

Derek’s Epic name: theHyperfine

How do you reach the ground the fastest? When …

Encryption: Diffie-Hellman & RSA

November 8th, 2018


Derek and Zak confirm they are talking to each other using the Diffie-Hellman protocol. Zak then encrypts a secret message using RSA encryption, …

Geosynchronous Orbits

November 1st, 2018


Derek and Zak discuss why there is a specific geosynchronous orbit distance at all. Why can’t it be any distance? And why is the escape speed what it is? Why can’t you move 1mph and leave Earth?

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How Much Weight Do You Lift When Doing a Pushup?

September 28th, 2018


Pushup discussion starts at 11:12.

Our last episode on discussing the floating hourglass:

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Floating Hourglass

September 21st, 2018


How does moving sand affect the buoyancy of the hourglass? Or does it?

Derek takes a stab at a conceptual answer, but Zak works out some contradicting math.

The animation in question:

The …

Does Data Have Mass?

September 14th, 2018


Is your cell phone heavier when it has more data stored in memory? What about an SD card? Magnetic storage drive? Is there a difference?

Zak and Derek dive in to the physics of flash storage, and what that means for …

Landing on Planets

September 6th, 2018


Derek and Zak question how a bug zapper works, complete with testing on yourself…as only good scientists do!

They then explore a SF writer’s query on reddit, asking about the safety of people landing on planets by …

Intro to The Hyperfine Physics Podcast

August 30th, 2018


Derek and Zak introduce themselves and the podcast.

Join our listener community on Reddit at

What the name "Hyperfine" means:

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