omega tau - science & engineering [English only]

[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 2h5m. Bisher sind 87 Folge(n) erschienen. Dies ist ein zweiwöchentlich erscheinender Podcast


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324 – Air Traffic Control at Heathrow and RIAT

In July I visited the NATS tower at Heathrow Airport to interview my guest Adam Spink. We chatted about some of the mechanics of air traffic control at Heathrow and the unique ways of optimizing throughput. A few days later we met again on the tower[...]



321 – Societal Change and the Climate

I am interested in societal change: how can a complex society with lots of emergent (perhaps unintended) behaviors make a conscious change, such as transitioning to a more sustainable economy? We discussed this from an engineering perspective in the[...]


 2019-08-29  58m

320 – The Event Horizon Telescope

A few months ago, a collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope presented the first direct image of a black hole; or more specifically, of the radiation created by accelerated particles at its event horizon. The EHT is a Very Large Baseline Int[...]


 2019-08-16  1h30m

318 – (My Flight with) The USAF Thunderbirds

In June 2019 I had the pleasure and honor to fly in an F-16D with the USAF Thunderbirds. The episode covers the medical briefing about how to prevent motion sickness and how to deal with Gs, suiting up with flight suit, g-suit, harness, helmet and m[...]


 2019-07-19  3h33m

317 – The ALICE Detector

In May I visited ALICE, one of the four large experiments at the LHC and talked with Despina Hatzifotiadou. We briefly discussed the science that ALICE is interested in, and then spent the majority of the time dissecting the detector to understand i[...]


 2019-07-09  2h2m

315 – Modeling Socio-Technical Systems

Socio-technical systems are systems where (groups of) humans interact with (non-trivial) technical systems; an example is the power grid. The people, the technical system and the combination might easily lead to complex behavior that is hard to pred[...]


 2019-06-14  2h42m

314 – London Air Ambulance

Earlier this year I visited the London Air Ambulance, a charity organization that flies two MD-902 helicopters over the UK's capital. I chatted with their chief pilot Neil Jeffers about the flying and some of the medical aspects. My recorder then jo[...]


 2019-06-01  2h13m

312 – The Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Experiment

In our never-ending quest to understand fusion and its potential use in energy production, I visited the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment in Greifswald run by the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik. We started out with a visit to the experiment h[...]


 2019-05-11  3h27m

309 – Forensic Engineering

In this episode I chat with Sean Brady about structural failures in civil engineering. We first discuss the technical and organzational causes for such failures. We then look at Sean's specialty, forensic engineering, which is about analyzing failur[...]


 2019-04-09  2h4m

306 – Flying the KC-135S Cobra Ball

Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. [...]


 2019-03-09  1h33m