Why This Universe?

Science #124Physics #4

The biggest ideas in physics, broken down. Join theoretical physicist Dan Hooper and co-host Shalma Wegsman as they answer your questions about dark matter, black holes, quantum mechanics, and more. Part of The University of Chicago Podcast Network.

Recent Episodes
Episodes loading...
Recent Reviews
  • Michee agg
    Incredible podcast
    The hosts present mind-blowing concepts in a digestible way. This is just the podcast I’ve been looking for. Thanks so much for making this invaluable resource.
    Sparkling minds who share a gift for shedding light on some of the beautiful mysteries of our universe.
  • zormble
    Great physics content!
    Alien spirals in the sky? Lizard people running the government? Maybe! An easy listening physics podcast by two professional in the field? Definitely!
  • DrezzyZ
    I love this podcast
    This podcast has taught me a lot about the universe. I am very tuned in to every single episode. ☺️
  • Jackson Hooper: Bway Nerd
    I really enjoy this podcast, especially when he says something on the complicated side. Then he’ll explain it in a way that you or I could understand. I think that more people should listen to this, I get really excited whenever I get a notification that a new episode came out! Overall, great pod, Dan! -Jack
    One star for Dan attacking Sabine H.
    You should be ashamed of yourself. The whole point of science is to question everything, not to beaten into repetitive submission. What exactly has theoretical physics done for us? Wireless communication? Wow. We had that in the 30’s, and look how that has worked out for us. You high paid academics and the rich in your ivory towers are so disconnected from reality. You are a cancer to our society, an inert mass stealing nutrients from those who actually produce value, that will eventually kill us.
  • Elite1564
    I’m about it
    Love this podcast. My only issue is that there is only 58 of them lol make more! Please. Also, episode 58; pushed me to write a review. That stuff needed to be said and I think Dan said it well. No sick burns, just some real talk. Keep at it and excited to hear the next
  • Geumpyhistory
    Draws a perfect and fine line…
    Between something presented as understandable to the layman, and something tear-bringing boring to someone who knows anything about it. I’m not an astrophysicist—or even a physicist—but I have done some collegiate level study, and much more reading on some of these subjects. This podcast is gripping, informative, and not too technical to understand.
  • PonyBoi2021
    A Digestible Encyclopedia of the Most Exciting Parts of Physics
    Few podcasts offer the tremendous opportunity to learn about something so fundamental to this universe yet also so hidden to most people. Dan Hooper and Shalma Wegsman offer a dynamic approach to learning some of the most interesting and mysterious physics concepts. What sets them apart is a clear podcast model that optimizes both interest and educational value. While Dan Hooper’s theoretical physics background provides a wealth of knowledge about black holes, quantum physics, and string theory, Shalma Wegsman has a unique ability to make the deepest insights into the universe more accessible to those without a physics background. If you didn’t fully grasp what Hooper is getting at, Wegsman is often right there to summarize his point in words a bit more palatable. Wegsman is also able to synthesize points via poignant questions that guide the discussion to interesting…event horizons. This podcast is an absolute gem. Our society is a better place because of it. Many thanks to you both for your continued efforts.
  • deek12367
    Very educational and entertaining
    I’ve had a life long interest in astronomy and cosmology, indeed all of science. As a retired chemical engineer I finally have time to catch up on some of the amazing scientific advances in recent decades. I’ve found this podcast to be one of the best at helping me catch up. I think the most amazing thing I’ve begun to appreciate is the the close connections and interactions between particle physics and cosmology which this podcast does a great job at doing. It’s remarkable to consider ideas that span the spatial dimensions from the very smallest to the very largest. The podcast topics also range from experimental to some of the strangest theoretical ideas. The hosts deliver the content in an engaging and understandable manner. Thanks for the effort and keep these coming.
  • klok of deth
    Better than your average physics podcast
    By far the most informative podcast about physics I’ve come across. Why is this one of the best? Most other physics podcasts only touch on the concepts, you can go between them and routinely hear all of the same topics (ex. How general relativity isn’t comparable with quantum mechanics… ext.). This podcast is different. They cover such a wide range of topics and go into the technical details. This is awesome if you’re really interested in physics and you’ve heard most of the general theories and topics. I hope this podcast persists well into the future.
  • MSUcatz1
    For the podcast algorithm gods
    To future podcast lister. If you read this, and listen, after enjoyed the show you must comment and 5 stars. Give ‘em a reward for the hard work they put into the episode.
  • Fortesias
    Easy to follow and fascinating!
    I love the dynamics of this podcast and you both make it so interesting to follow. Thank you!
  • manayunk wall
    Vocal fry, valspeak, uptalk
    Shalma (female host) has a speech pattern that is most annoying. She has the habit of producing a rising inflection as if she is asking a question -even when she isn't. Also she doesn't seem to talk into the microphone, her voice sometimes goes into whisper mode and I can't even her what she is saying. She is terrible as a host, not a professional. But Dan is fantastic!! Great voice, speaks clearly and projects his thoughts cleanly, concisely. Just have Dan and this is a 5 star show for sure!!
  • cesar_o
    Quantum field theory episode
    One of the best explanations of QFT and why the theory developed the way it did. Overall the theoretical physics discussions in this podcast have been insightful and unique in the way it’s presented.
  • lmaginaryBoy
    Mind-blowing! I want more!
    Bends my brain in a way that feels so good! And I love the dynamic of the hosts; sort of a teacher/student office hours vibe, although they both clearly know what they’re talking about. I hope people are listening to this podcast, because I really want it to continue!
  • Brad76ohio
    Thank you.
    I love this.
  • hvfdgbjk
    Shalma needs speech therapy and Dan Hooper is a waste of space. He has a hideous odor problem in real life.
  • meremeredub
    Like Shalma is like a like an aspiring physicist?
    It's hard to believe that someone intelligent enough to study physics at the graduate level can't string together a sentence without saying 'like' every other word. Maybe they thought she would appeal to a younger audience or the average lay person, but I find that along with her vocal fry unlistenable.
  • mattJediNova
    Get woke and be boring
    Social justice and science make a really bad podcast. I gave up. I’ll look for a real science podcast.
  • victorycharlievictory
    Good show
    I’m more a Physics Frontiers listener- but they have a very irregular posting schedule. I’d like more GR in my ideal fantasy podcast but this one is well done, interesting, and thought provoking, which is what good science should do! Keep up the excellent work. Make lots of more shows so I have something to listen to, please! While Jorge and Daniel Explain the Universe is good, I feel they’re less rigorous and more commercial. And Sean Carrol is great, but spends a lot of time outside physics. You’re the best of the most consistent podcasters. Don’t ever stop!
  • EmmeTiErre
    Thanks you (and a comment)
    I love this show and I’m in awe at all the work you put into it! I’m a fan of physics podcasts and this is one of the best. Just one comment: is it possible to turn down the music (or avoid it completely) for long segments when someone’s speaking? The high volume is very distracting and the bass and percussions of the jazzy music make it hard to follow the speech. Thank you again!
  • hkfhkvjf
    Radiation doc here. Find myself really looking forward to your podcasts. Great explanations of topics, I really didn’t fundamentally understand, when I took physics.
  • hozro93
    Great physics podcast
    The hosts discuss cutting-edge topics with well laid out explanations and descriptions.
  • BryanJField
    A great listen!
    This is a wonderful podcast that brings very advanced topics to interested listeners. Dan and Shalma have a fantastic ability to describe complicated topics where you can truly understand why they are important.
  • Brendrach
    New Age PopSci!
    Dan and Shalma provide an astonishing amount of information so concisely! I cannot recommend this show enough!
  • Daniel's #1 fan!
    Fun and educational
    Dan and Shalma are fun and insightful!
  • Socks 404
    A step deeper than other pop sci podcasts
    If you listen to other podcasts on popular science, you find that after a year or two you hear ideas repeated many times, and learning something new becomes less frequent. This podcast probes astronomical concepts at a basic enough level to understand if you’re scientifically literate but deeper than you hear in most popular podcasts. It’s exciting to hear these concepts taken to the next level after skimming the surface so many times.
  • Chaim K.
    5 stars for The 5 W’s of Science...especially Why!
    This podcast is now part of my regular rotation Thanks to the hosts’ incisive commentary and outstanding analysis that is easy to understand but hard to forget. Keep up the great work guys...the Universe is depending on you!
  • jkleinbaum
    Perfect approach!
    Dan and Shalma break down topics in a way that's interesting for all levels of physics enthusiasts!
  • D-Ross57
    Engaging, enjoyable physics
    As a casual fan of physics with no real aptitude for the hardcore science and mathematics I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast. Dan has a way in his books and now podcast of speaking about very complex topics in an entertaining and engaging way for non-physicists. Highly recommend for anyone that wants a glimpse into the mechanics of our universe.
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork on this page are property of the podcast owner, and not endorsed by UP.audio.