The CLIMAX Event was a 61-kiloton device detonated on 4 June 1953, at the Nevada Proving Ground (NPG).
The CLIMAX Event was a 61-kiloton device detonated on 4 June 1953, at the Nevada Proving Ground (NPG).

Things You Thought You Knew – What is Energy?

Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Audio
  • Video

About This Episode

How is energy different from matter? Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedian Chuck Nice break down what energy is and where it comes from, ancient theories about sight, and how wheels keep us moving. Explore physics, thermodynamics, and more!

What is energy? How did the idea of energy come to be? Learn about how early scientists thought about energy, kinetic versus potential energy, and how energy gets released. We discuss energy in food, fuel, bombs, and the sun. It is energy that built civilization, but will it also destroy it?

How did Greek mythology influence the stars? We explore the myth of Medusa and what it shows about ancient theories about sight. Learn about discovering the mechanism of sight in the golden age of Islam. Are there other examples of misconceptions about sight in mythology? We explore the constellation of Perseus, the head of Medusa, and the variable star that is her eye.

What part of a moving train is going backward while the train is going forwards? We delve into the physics of wheels and how they move us. Did you know that when you’re driving there is a part of your car that’s going 0 mph? Find out the physics that’s happening in your wheels. What part of the car is going twice the speed? Learn how the wheels of trains and different wheel shapes. Is there only one usable shape for a wheel?

Thanks to our Patrons Matt Smith, Matthew Tolbert, benjamin flanders, Nick Davis, Joseph, and Hemant Sudiwala for supporting us this week.

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

In This Episode

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more

Episode Topics