Stars Talk to Neil deGrasse Tyson – Rocket Fuel, The Observer Effect, and Classical Physics

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The observer effect? Rotating bodies? The science of rocket fuel? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice answer science questions from our favorite professional athletes: Jerry Rice, Lindsey Vonn, Eli Manning, and more!

When you look away from a quantum particle, where did it go? We break down the observer effect for Tony Gonzalez. Find out how the quantum realm is probabilistic instead of deterministic. How does light affect quantum particles? Are there some things that we can never observe? Like the refrigerator light? Does the act of observing change it?

Next, Shawn Green asks how far away we are from exploring other solar systems. Will we witness interstellar travel in our lifetime? Discover the science of rocket fuel and the difference between endothermic and exothermic reactions. How can chemicals create such potent reactions? Could there one day be electric rockets? Or wormholes? Jerry Rice asks us: why does the football go farther when it spins? Find out about the aerodynamics and friction of a flying football. Eli Manning asks us about the physics of tackling. What’s the momentum of a two-player system? We break down the classical physics at play in football.

Lindsey Vonn asks us if there is any validity to astrology. Can planet or star alignment impact people’s behavior? Neil takes us back to the pre-scientific era and the human notion that we are the center of the universe. Finally, Joey Brezinski asks us about the changes to our climate during COVID-19. Is there a way to maintain the unintended environmental benefits of the pandemic in a post-pandemic world? We discuss air pollution and worldlines. Should the virus be a motivator to clean up the planet? All that, plus, watch out for a scientific literacy virus: it may impact your stance on vaccines.

Thanks to our Patrons Ken Abe, Al Long, Chloe Rudel-Holland, Sara, Rafał Żak, Alexander Whisnant, and Galactic Raven for supporting us this week.

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

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About StarTalk:
Science meets pop culture on StarTalk! Astrophysicist & Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, his comic co-hosts, guest celebrities & scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Keep Looking Up!

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