Presentation #231.06 in the session Education and Public Engagement.
The concept of a “multiverse”- that our universe is only one of perhaps infinitely many- is capturing the 21st Century zeitgeist with increasing strength. A vast abundance of highly popular fictional works has so greatly enhanced public awareness of the concept (and its potential philosophical implications) that “I’m living in the wrong universe/timeline” has become a common refrain.
Although lacking any direct supporting evidence, the idea of a multiverse is motivated by many noteworthy features of cosmology and quantum physics. On a more personally visceral level, the multiverse idea also finds motivation from how profoundly the events of our individual human lives- and the overall evolution of humans on Earth- are sensitive to minor details of happenstance and circumstance.
With public interest and awareness so high, a podcast series that explores and educates about this matter in an accessible and engaging way has excellent potential to double as an effective vehicle for enhancing public excitement for, and scientific literacy about, pertinent facts and perspectives from physics, cosmology, astronomy, geology, biology, natural history, and human history.
The proposed podcast series would explore three main themes:
Sensitivity of human history to small changes (the human story, “our verse”)
Sensitivity of natural history to small changes (astronomy, planetary science, and the evolution of life on Earth)
Sensitivity of cosmology and the nature of our existence to small changes in physics (anthropic “fine tuning” concerns), and arguments pro and con regarding the multiverse possibility
The first of these themes has the strongest general interest, so it would serve as a significant hook to increase listener engagement with other two themed topics.
The iPoster further discusses the scope, educational potential, and public outreach potential of the podcast, and includes draft audio recordings on these three example topics: 1) Circumstances leading to the 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, 2) Orbital dynamics of Earth and the KT impactor in their long histories prior to the moment of collision 66 million years ago, and 3) The triple-alpha resonance and the creation of carbon.