Fisher burner accuflame closeups
Fisher burner accuflame closeups

Neil’s Guide to Heat Transfer Physics

Jason Woodhead, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

How do you make some things stay hot and others stay cool? Neil deGrasse Tyson, with the help of comedian Chuck Nice, explains the physics of heat transfer, insulation, and why your Stanley cup can keep your drink cold during a fire. 

Neil breaks down the thermodynamics of how soup cools down. Why does heated air rise? Learn about the methods of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. What type of heat makes a campfire warm to sit around?

How do insulated cups keep your drink hot? We explore methods to prevent heat transfer, thermoses, and how insulation works to keep the heat to one side. Plus, we break down the viral Stanley cup video and how an insulated cup could keep your drink cold during a fire.

What does heat do when there is no air like in space? What would happen to your heat if you were out in the vacuum of space? Why does clothing keep us warm? Learn how the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission used a trick with convection to save energy. We explore the radiative heat of stars and how it will eventually drive the sun to become a red giant.

Thanks to our Patrons Kiril Stoilov, aaron tanenbaum, Oswaldo Asprino, cary mannaberg, Taylor Jenkins, BeerandBrat, and J Maz for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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