SciTech Now Episode 23

Episode twenty-three of SciTech Now brings you the latest breakthroughs in science, technology and innovation. We meet a Catholic astronomer and try to better understand natural disasters.

TRANSCRIPT

COMING UP, MOTHER NATURE' FURY..

WE CAN ALL UNDERSTAND THESE NATURAL DISASTERS IN TERMS O THE RISKS THEY POSE, AS A MEAN OF PROTECTING OURSELVES.

...TECH ECOSYSTEMS...

WE ARE ABLE TO LOOK AT TRENDS LIKE CLOUD, SOCIAL, MOBILE, BI DATA ANALYTICS AND HOW THOSE ARE CHANGING, YOU KNOW, HOW WE LIV AND HOW WE WORK.

...EXPLORING THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF OUR UNIVERSE..

WE'RE ALWAYS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT, WHAT ARE THE SMALLEST STRUCTURES THAT WE CAN -- YO KNOW, THAT THE UNIVERSE IS MAD OF

...THE SPACE WHERE ASTRONOM MEETS RELIGION

UNTIL THE END OF THE 19th CENTURY, MOST OF THE PEOPL DOING THE DAY-TO-DAY SCIENCE WERE CLERGYMEN

IT'S ALL AHEAD.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATION.

HELLO. I'M HARI SREENIVASAN WELCOME TO 'SciTech NOW,' OU WEEKLY PROGRAM BRINGING YOU TH LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION LET'S GET STARTED.

HURRICANE SANDY, THE TORNADO THAT HIT JOPLIN, MISSOURI -- THESE NATURAL DISASTERS AN OTHERS REMIND US OF THE POWER OF MOTHER NATURE.

REPORTER ANDREA VASQUEZ TAKES US INSIDE AN EXHIBITION THA EXPLORES WHAT WE KNOW ABOU NATURAL DISASTERS AND WHAT W DON'T.

[ SIRENS WAIL

EVERY DAY, THREATS AR BREWING IN THE SKY AND THE SEA AND BENEATH OUR FEET, IN THE FORM OF NATURAL DISASTERS, LIK TORNADOES, EARTHQUAKES, AN VOLCANOES FROM SHIFTS IN THE EARTH'S LAND MASSES AND WEATHE PATTERNS

EVERY YEAR, THE QUANTITY OF MAGMA, OR MOLTEN ROCK, THAT IT WOULD TAKE TO FILL CENTRAL PAR TO A HEIGHT OF 7 KILOMETER MOVES THROUGH OUR PLANET AND APPROACHES THE SURFACE OF TH EARTH.

NOW, MAYBE 10% OF THAT, A SMAL FRACTION OF IT, ACTUALLY ERUPT AT SURFACE

IN 2013, 9 SEVERE WEATHER AND CLIMATE EVENTS IN TH UNITED STATES HAD PRICE TAGS O $1 BILLION OR MORE IN DAMAGE AND LOSSES ALTHOUGH SCIENTISTS' UNDERSTANDING AND ABILITY TO PREDICT THESE EVENTS HAV IMPROVED, IT'S A WORK IN PROGRESS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY PRESIDENT ELLEN FUTTER SAYS THAT'S WHERE HE INSTITUTION COMES IN WITH IT EXHIBITION 'NATURE'S FURY.

THERE IS STILL PLENTY O MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHY THESE DISASTERS HAPPEN AND HOW AND OUR ABILITY AS INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETIES TO PREPARE FOR COPE WITH, AND RECOVER AND LEARN FROM THESE DISASTERS IS ENTIRELY DEPENDENT ON OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE VOLATILE AND SOMETIME DESTRUCTIVE FORCES THAT SHAP OUR PLANET EARTH, AND THAT I WHERE THIS EXHIBITION COMES IN

'NATURE'S FURY' TAKES U THROUGH THE CAUSES OF NATURA DISASTERS, THE RISKS THEY POSE AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES THE EXHIBITION'S CURATOR EDMOND MATHEZ SAYS THE MORE WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT THESE EVENTS, THE BETTER WE CAN PREPARE FO THEM

WE CAN ALL UNDERSTAND THESE NATURAL DISASTERS IN TERMS O THE RISKS THEY POSE, AS A MEAN OF PROTECTING OURSELVES.

THE RISKS PROVIDE A SENSIBLE WAY, A RATIONAL WAY TO DEVELOP MITIGATION POLICY, AND THA LEADS TO PROTECTION, BASICALLY

SOME OF THE MOST BASIC AN ESSENTIAL METEOROLOGICAL TOOLS INCLUDING THE RAIN GAUGE BAROMETER, AND THERMOMETER WER INVENTED BETWEEN THE YEARS 140 AND 1700 NEW TECHNOLOGY, SUCH AS RADAR, SATELLITES, AND GPS, AS WELL A INSTANT GLOBAL COMMUNICATION HAVE MADE COLLECTING AND ANALYZING DATA FASTER AND MORE PRECISE.

[ SIREN WAILS BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, TECHNOLOGY IS JUST ONE TOOL IN UNDERSTANDING EARTH'S NATURA PHENOMENA.

THERE'S NO QUESTION THA TECHNOLOGY FEEDS INTO THAT, BUT, YOU KNOW, SCIENCE IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS O OBSERVATION AND KNOWLEDG BUILDING ON KNOWLEDGE, AND S ON IT'S NOT JUST A PROCESS OF INTRODUCTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY

THE EXHIBIT USES EVENTS INCLUDING THE 1906 SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE, MOUNT ST. HELENS I 1980, AND HURRICANE SANDY TO DRAW A REAL-LIFE CONNECTIO BETWEEN VISITORS AND THIS GLOBAL ISSUE.

AND THIS, OF COURSE, IS WHA THIS MUSEUM DOES BEST -- ILLUMINATING THE SCIENTIFI BASIS OF THE NATURAL WORLD AROUND US SO THAT PEOPLE CAN BOTH BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW HUMANS FIT INTO THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS AND MAK MORE-INFORMED DECISIONS ABOU THEIR OWN LIVES.

THERE ARE STILL GAPS IN OUR UNDERSTANDING, AND SCIENTIST ARE USING DATA FROM EACH NEW NATURAL DISASTER TO TRY TO FIL IN THE BLANKS.

WE ARE KEENLY AWARE THA THERE HAS JUST BEEN A LOT OF NATURAL DISASTERS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES THIS URGENTLY INTERESTING AN CREATES AN ACUTE OPPORTUNITY THAT I WOULD SAY IS A TEACHING OPPORTUNITY AND AN INFORMING OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PUBLIC, IS NOT JUST THAT IT'S ELSEWHERE I THE WORLD BUT ALSO HERE.

[ LAUGHTER ]

THE UNITED STATES ECONOMY I IN THE MIDST OF A RAPI TRANSFORMATION THE INTERNET, MOBILE TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND BIG DATA HAV UNLEASED A WAVE OF INNOVATIO THAT'S CREATING THOUSANDS OF NEW STARTUPS AND IS REINVENTIN TRADITIONAL INDUSTRIES WE SIT DOWN WITH JOSH KAMPEL PRESIDENT OF TECHONOMY, TO FIN OUT WHAT A GROWING ECONOMY FOCUSED ON TECHNOLOGY MEANS FO AMERICAN AND GLOBAL BUSINESSES AND HOW IT IS CHANGING OUR DAILY LIVES.

SO, FIRST OF ALL, WHAT I TECHONOMY?

TECHONOMY IS A MEDIA AN EVENTS COMPANY THAT WE STARTED FIVE YEARS AGO TO REALLY HIGHLIGHT A LOT OF THESE TOPIC YOU TALKED ABOUT -- SORT O THESE BIG-TECH TRENDS AND HO THEY'RE TRANSFORMING BUSINES AND SOCIETY.

AND SO HOW DO WE MEASURE HO MUCH A SOCIETY IS BEING IMPACTED BY TECHNOLOGY?

I MEAN, IT SEEMS LIKE SUCH A ENORMOUS QUESTION, AND THERE'S SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF TECHNOLOGY THAT ARE IMPACTING US IN OUR DAILY LIVES

YEAH, I THINK TECHNOLOGY HA BECOME UBIQUITOUS, RIGHT YOU KNOW, EVERY INDUSTRY, AS YOU MENTIONED -- IF IT'S THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY OR IF IT'S TRADITIONAL TECH -- HAS BEEN IMPACTED SO IT'S, I THINK, HARDER T QUANTIFY, NECESSARILY, SORT OF SOME OF THE ECONOMICS FIGURES, BUT, OVERALL, WE ARE ABLE TO LOOK AT TRENDS LIKE CLOUD, SOCIAL, MOBILE, BIG DATA ANALYTICS AND HOW THOSE AR CHANGING HOW WE LIVE AND HOW W WORK

ONE OF THE CONCERNS, AS ANY NEW TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS A INDUSTRY, IS HOW DOES IT IMPAC THE STATUS QUO OR HOW DOES I CHANGE, RIGHT?

SO, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN YOU HA TRACTORS COME ONTO FIELD, YO HAD A LOT OF FARMERS THAT WERE DISPLACED, SAYING, 'WELL, CAN'T EMPLOY PEOPLE DOING THIS BECAUSE ONE TRACTOR CAN DO THE WORK OF A THOUSAND HUMANS.

RIGHT?

SO HOW DO YOU ECONOMICALLY MEASURE THE NET VALUE OR NET COST OF WHEN A TECHNOLOG EMERGES INTO AN INDUSTRY

RIGHT IT ACTUALLY STARTS -- YOU KNOW TWO ECONOMISTS FROM M.I.T.

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON AN ANDREW McAFEE, WROTE A BOOK, 'THE SECOND MACHINE AGE,' WHIC ACTUALLY GOES BACK TO TH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, LOOKING AT THE STEAM ENGINE AND HOW THAT CHANGED EVEN MANUFACTURING SO, WE'VE SEEN, OVER TIME, TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED THIS AN BECOME SORT OF A LEVER FOR PROGRESS UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCE IS THERE'S DISPLACEMENT OF JOBS BUT THERE'S ALSO THE CREATIO SIDE YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT THINGS LIKE THE MAKER MOVEMENT, LIK THE SHARING ECONOMY THAT TECHNOLOGY HAS ENABLED AND NEW JOBS

SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THE SHARIN ECONOMY, RIDE SHARING IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE IN URBAN CENTERS LIKE NEW YORK AR FAMILIAR WITH, AND THE IMPAC THAT UBER AND LYFT HAS HAD SO, THIS IS STILL KIND OF TH FIRST STAGE OF WHERE THEY'RE A AND HOW OUR SOCIETY COULD LOOK DIFFERENTLY IN THE NEXT 5 OR 1 YEARS.

SO, LET'S SAY THE SHARIN ECONOMY WORKS TO ITS GREATES CAPACITY HOW IS SOCIETY DIFFERENT 20 YEARS FROM NOW?

ARE WE DRIVING CARS LESS, OWNING CARS LESS, OWNING LESS APARTMENTS, 'CAUSE WE'RE AIRBNB-ing IT ALL, OR WHAT

RIGHT I THINK, ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I KNOW, I THINK THAT THERE'S THE -- YOU KNOW, WE START TO SEE PEOPLE FREELANCING MORE, WORKING LESS FULL-TIME YEAH, THE OWNERSHIP MODEL OF CARS AND TRANSPORTATIO RADICALLY CHANGES.

BUT, YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT THE SIDE OF EXCESS CAPACITY, RIGHT PEOPLE HAVE EXCESS CAPACITY, I IT'S IN THEIR HOME, WITH AIRBNB, IF IT'S WITH TaskRabbit -- YOU KNOW, THEY HAVE TIME THAT THEY COULD ACTUALLY DO TASKS.

SO IT'S NOT JUST SORT OF THI AREA OF LOW-SKILLED WORKERS THAT ARE BEING IMPACTED YOU KNOW, REALLY, YOU HAVE PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO DO SIMPLE TASKS THROUGH TaskRabbit YOU KNOW, ON THE OTHER SIDE, YOU HAVE THINGS LIKE TurboTax THAT ULTIMATELY REPLACED TA PREPARERS AND CPAs SO I THINK WE'LL START TO SE THE SHARING ECONOMY.

AND IT'S HARD TO QUANTIFY.

RIGHT NOW, THERE'S REALLY SORT OF MIXED REPORTS ON, 'IS THE SHARING ECONOMY REALLY CONTRIBUTING TOWARDS ECONOMI GROWTH, LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE HOPE IT WILL?'

SO, DOES TECHNOLOGY AFFEC DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY DIFFERENTLY?

SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, RURAL AREAS -- MAYBE IT'S FARM AGRICULTURE -- SHARING ECONOMIES IN URBAN CENTERS OR.. WHERE'S THE KIND OF WAY TO SEE HOW TECHNOLOGY IS AFFECTIN DIFFERENT PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY AND DIFFERENT PARTS OF OUR ECONOMY?

YEAH, YOU KNOW, IT'S AMAZING.

YOU START TO SEE THESE EMERGIN TECH HUBS ALL OVER THE WORLD YOU KNOW, WE THINK OF, OBVIOUSLY, SILICON VALLEY, NEW YORK, BOSTON, CHICAGO.

BUT THEN YOU START TO SEE CITIES LIKE DETROIT YOU KNOW, DETROIT WAS TH INNOVATION CAPITAL OF TH UNITED STATES DURING SORT OF THE BOOM IN MANUFACTURING.

NOW IT'S TECHNOLOGY IN THE PRIVATE-PUBLIC SORT OF RELATIONSHIP WITH PEOPLE LIK DAN GILBERT INVESTING INTO EARLY-STAGE COMPANIES, TRYING TO RETAIN TALENT COMING OUT O GREAT UNIVERSITIES AND THOSE COMPANIES ARE BEIN CREATED, AS WELL AS ALL TH SERVICES THAT THOSE PEOPLE NEED.

YOU LOOK AT WHAT TONY HSIEH IS DOING IN THE DOWNTOWN PROJECT IN LAS VEGAS.

YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT JUST FUNDIN TECH COMPANIES, BUT TH RESTAURANTS, THE DOG PARKS THA NEED -- YOU KNOW, THAT REALL THAT THOSE PEOPLE ULTIMATELY NEED SO, YOU KNOW, EACH CITY IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT, I AGREE, BUT I THINK THEY'RE ALL, IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER, HARNESSING SIMILAR TECHNOLOGY

WHAT ARE THE BIG GROWTH AREAS IN TECH, IN THE SENSE, IN TH LATE '90s, EARLY 2000s, IT SEEMED THAT INTRODUCTION OF TH INTERNET AND ALL OF THE SERVICES BEHIND IT?

BUT WE ALSO SEE KIND OF EMERGING HEALTHCARE OR BIOTECH.

AND OBVIOUSLY, NOW WE'RE SEEIN PRIVATE COMPANIES IN THE SORT OF SPACE FRONTIER, RIGHT?

SO, WHERE DO YOU SEE THE MOS ACTIVITY AND THE MOS EXCITEMENT

YEAH, I THINK, DEFINITELY, IF YOU LOOK AT THIS IDEA OF DATA -- RIGHT? -- I THINK, OVER TIME WE'VE LOOKED AT THE CREATION O DATA AS A PROACTIVE THING THAT PEOPLE WERE CREATING AND NOW, AS WE MOVE INTO THI ERA OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS OR THE INTERNET OF EVERYTHING WHERE SENSORS ARE PRETTY MUC MONITORING EVERYTHING, CREATIN MORE DATA, WE'RE CREATING MORE AND MORE COMPANIES AND JOBS THAT NEED TO LOOK AT THAT DATA, ANALYZE THAT DATA.

YOU LOOK AT POSITIONS LIKE, YO KNOW, DATA SCIENTISTS, THA DIDN'T EXIST 10 YEARS AGO.

SO I THINK, THE AREA O INCREASED DATA, YOU KNOW, SPAC IS OBVIOUSLY AN INTERESTING ON WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE INVESTMENT, ESPECIALLY OF SOME OF THE TECH COMMUNITY, LIKE ELON MUSK, LIK JEFF BEZOS THAT ARE INVESTIN HEAVILY INTO SPACE BUT I THINK THE IMMEDIATE NEED FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN UNDERSTAN HOW TO LOOK AT THIS DATA AND ANALYZE THE DATA AND MAK ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS FROM THE DATA IS SUCH A RAPIDLY GROWING TREND.

ALL RIGHT, JOSH KAMPEL FROM TECHONOMY, THANKS SO MUCH.

THANK YOU

PARTICLE ACCELERATORS WER INVENTED IN THE 1930s TO INVESTIGATE THE STRUCTURE OF THE SUBATOMIC WORLD.

FOR THE LAST CENTURY, SCIENTISTS AT DIFFERENT FACILITIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE CONTINUED T ADVANCES THESE TECHNOLOGIES, GETTING US EVER CLOSER T UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICS AND THE BUILDIN BLOCKS OF THE UNIVERSE HERE WITH ME NOW ARE TWO PHYSICISTS AT TH DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S SLAC NATIONAL ACCELERATO LABORATORY MARK HOGAN AND MIKE LITOS, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS A PARTICLE ACCELERATOR?

A PARTICLE ACCELERATOR IS SORT OF THE ULTIMATE MICROSCOPE.

IT'S A DEVICE WHERE WE MAKE SPECIAL CAVITY THAT HAS A STRONG ELECTRIC FIELD, AND THEN WE PU A CHARGED PARTICLE INTO IT, AN THIS PARTICLE STARTS GOING FASTER AND FASTER.

VERY QUICKLY, THESE PARTICLE ARE GOING AS CLOSE TO THE SPEE OF LIGHT AS WE HOPE TO EVE MEASURE -- .999997 THE SPEED O LIGHT.

AND THEN, AS A CONSEQUENCE O SPECIAL RELATIVITY, WHAT START TO HAPPEN IS, ONCE THESE THING ARE REALLY CLOSE TO THE SPEED OF LIGHT, THE HARDER YOU PUSH O THEM TO TRY TO MAKE THEM G FASTER, INSTEAD OF GOING FASTER, THEIR MASS STARTS TO INCREASE, AND YOU GET INTO THIS WEIR SPIRAL SITUATION WHERE THEIR MASS INCREASES, YOU PUSH ON THEM A LITTLE BIT HARDER, AND YOU GET TO A POINT WHERE IT WOULD TAKE AN INFINITELY HARD PUSH TO GIV IT THAT LAST LITTLE KICK TO MAKE IT GO THE SPEED OF LIGHT SO INSTEAD OF THESE PARTICLE EVER GETTING TO THE SPEED OF LIGHT, THEY JUST GET VERY, VER CLOSE.

BUT WHAT STARTS TO HAPPEN IS YOU STORE A LOT OF ENERGY IN THESE THINGS AND WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THIS STORED ENERGY IN THESE BEAMS YOU CAN EITHER COLLIDE THE TOGETHER AND YOU CAN USE THA STORED ENERGY TO EITHER PR APART VERY SMALL STRUCTURES -- LIKE WE CAN PRY APART TH NUCLEUS OF MATTER AND UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S MADE OF PROTONS AN NEUTRONS -- AND IF THE ENERG SPEED EVEN HIGHER, YOU CAN PUL APART THE NEUTRONS AND THE PROTONS THEMSELVES AND FIGUR OUT WHAT THOSE ARE MADE OF AND SO WHAT PARTICLE ACCELERATORS ARE USED FOR, A THE ENERGY FRONTIER, IS WE'R ALWAYS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT ARE THE SMALLEST STRUCTURES THAT WE CAN -- YOU KNOW, THAT THE UNIVERSE IS MADE OF.

TELL US WHAT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING UNDERGROUND, AND WHA HAVE YOU DONE WITH KIND OF YOU NEW RESEARCH THAT CHANGES THAT EQUATION

HERE AT SLAC, WE HAVE A TWO-MILE-LONG LINEAR ACCELERATOR.

SO, UNLIKE THE LARGE HADRO COLLIDER, WE'VE GOT TWO MILES OF A LINEAR STRETCH OF A PARTICLE ACCELERATOR THAT ACCELERATES ELECTRONS.

AND OUR GOAL IS ESSENTIALLY TO REPRODUCE THE SAME AMOUNT OF ENERGY BOOST THAT'S GIVEN TO THESE ELECTRON BEAMS OVER TH TWO-MILE KILOMETER -- OR TWO-MILE ACCELERATOR -- IN A DISTANCE OF JUST A FEW METERS IN A PLASMA

BUT PERHAPS, HARI, TO GIV YOU A SENSE OF SCALE FOR WHAT' GOING ON IN THESE MACHINES SO, SUPPOSE YOU HAVE A BATTERY SITTING AROUND YOUR HOUSE THAT'S A NINE-VOLT BATTERY.

IF YOU TAKE AN ELECTRON AN RELEASE IT, THERE'S A PLUS TERMINAL AND MINUS TERMINAL, THE ELECTRON IS GOING TO HEAD FROM ONE TO THE OTHER AND IN THAT PROCESS, IT'S GOIN TO GAIN NINE ELECTRON VOLTS' WORTH OF ENERGY.

AND THAT'S A UNIT THAT PHYSICISTS LIKE TO USE SO, IN THE CAVITIES OF THE STRUCTURES THAT ARE USED IN TH SLAC ACCELERATOR, WE ADD ABOUT 20 MILLION ELECTRON VOLTS PE METER OF LENGTH TO THIS BEAM AND THEN WE DO THAT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

AND SO WHEN YOU ASK, 'HOW MUCH ENERGY DO I NEED TO STUDY TH PHYSICS QUESTIONS OF THE TIME?' PEOPLE KNOW THAT, SOR OF, IF YOU'RE LOOKING AT CHEMISTRY AND STUFF AND WANT T SEE WHAT THE ELECTRONS ARE DOING IN AN ATOM, YOU'RE GOING T NEED ABOUT ONE TO 1,00 ELECTRON VOLTS OF ENERGY IF I NOW WANT TO PULL APART TH NUCLEUS OF AN ATOM, THAT TAKES ABOUT A MILLION ELECTRON VOLTS OF ENERGY.

IF I WANT TO THEN PULL APART THE PROTONS OR THE NEUTRONS, THA TAKES ABOUT A BILLIO ELECTRON VOLTS OF ENERGY SO, BACK WHEN THE SLAC WAS MADE, IN THE '60s, THEY KNEW THAT THEY WANTED TO GET TO THAT ENERGY REGION AND SO THE WAY THEY DID IT IS, THEY SAID, 'WELL, WE CAN MAK CAVITIES THAT GIVE YOU A FIELD ABOUT THIS BIG SO, TO GET TO THAT ENERGY, W JUST HAVE TO STACK THEM TOGETHER OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

AND THAT SET THE SCALE FOR THE MACHINE WE'VE GOT TO AND AT SOME POINT, THE MACHINE STARTS TO GET PRETTY BIG SO, HERE AT SLAC, IT'S TWO MILES LONG, AND AT CERN, IT'S 17 MILES AROUND AT THE CIRCUMFERENCE.

BUT YOU'VE FIGURED OUT A WA WHERE YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO DO IT FOR TWO MILES ANYMORE YOU'VE ESSENTIALLY COMPRESSE THAT DOWN INTO SOMETHING THAT' JUST THE SIZE OF A SMALL BASEMENT ROOM.

WHAT DID YOU DO?

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT' GREAT IS, WE'VE BEEN, AS YOU SAID, BUILDING PARTICL ACCELERATORS FOR A REALLY LONG TIME AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT LIMITS US RIGHT NOW IS HOW BIG A FIELD CAN WE MAKE IN THESE CAVITIES AND TO GET TO A CERTAIN ENERGY YOU NEED TO TAKE THAT CERTAI FIELD AND JUST APPLY IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, LIKE I SAID.

WELL, AT SOME POINT, THE MACHINE STARTS TO GET PRETTY BIG, AN YOU'D RATHER FIND A NEW WAY OF DOING THINGS SO, THAT'S WHERE THE PLASMAS COME IN.

THE NICE THING ABOUT THESE PLASMAS IS, WE CAN MAKE FIELDS INSIDE THESE PLASMAS, INSTEAD OF METAL STRUCTURES THAT AR THOUSANDS OF TIMES LARGER.

AND SO YOU CAN USE THOSE FIELD TO GET THE SAME ENERGY BOOST FOR THE BEAM IN A MUCH MORE COMPAC SPACE.

WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOU PLASMA, YOU KNOW, MAYBE SOMEON HAS GIVEN BLOOD BEFORE, AN THEY'RE THINKING ABOUT THAT KIND OF PLASMA.

THIS IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT KIND OF PLASMA THAT YOU'RE TALKIN ABOUT.

SO, TELL ME, WHAT'S TH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KIND OF STUFF THAT YOU'RE DEALING WITH IN SOLIDS VERSUS LIQUIDS VERSU GAS VERSUS, I GUESS, PLASMA?

YEAH, SO, A PLASMA IS - IMAGINE THAT YOU TAKE A SOLI AND YOU HEAT IT UP, IT MELTS T A LIQUID THEN YOU KEEP HEATING TH LIQUID, AND THEN IT BOILS TO A VAPOR.

AND NOW, IF I KEEP HEATING THA VAPOR UP, EVENTUALLY, THE ATOM THAT MAKE THE VAPOR, I START PULLING OFF THE ELECTRONS FROM THE OUTSIDE OF THE ATOM, AND S I'M LEFT WITH A SEA -- SORT OF THIS ELECTRICALLY CHARGE SOUP -- THAT HAS A BUNCH O POSITIVELY CHARGED NUCLEI AND BUNCH OF FREE ELECTRONS FLOATING AROUND AND IT'S THIS ELECTRICALLY CHARGED SOUP, WHICH IS WHAT WE CALL PLASMA.

SO, MIKE, IS THERE POSSIBILITY THAT ONE DAY W COULD USE THIS AND STACK I TOGETHER FOR TWO MILES INSID WHAT STANFORD ALREADY HAS?

THAT'S EXACTLY THE GOAL I THE LONG TERM, IS THAT SORT OF THE ANALOG TO THE STANFORD ACCELERATOR, WHERE INSTEAD O USING THESE METALLIC ACCELERATING STRUCTURES, ONE AFTER ANOTHER, WE HAVE LITTL PLASMA STAGES OF A COUPLE METERS EACH

WHAT IS THE KIND OF INVENTION AND INNOVATION THAT YOU'VE DON IN THIS LABORATORY WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCE FOR SCIENTISTS HOW WILL WE LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EARTH?

ONE OF THE THINGS IS, WE'RE SORT OF THE TOOL BUILDERS.

WE MAKE THESE MICROSCOPES WHIC THEN OTHER PHYSICISTS CAN THEN USE TO EXPLORE ALL THESE GREAT QUESTIONS.

WE'RE AT A STAGE RIGHT NOW WHERE, I THINK, MOST PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF MOORE'S LAW FOR SEMICONDUCTORS, WHERE THE SPEE OF A CPU IN YOUR COMPUTE DOUBLES EVERY 14 OR 16 MONTHS.

AND THAT PROCESS IS WHAT'S ALLOWED US TO TAKE A COMPUTE THAT WOULD FIT IN THIS ROOM AN PUT IT IN THE PHONE IN YOU POCKET, OVER THE COURSE OF MAN DECADES.

WELL, ACCELERATORS ARE SORT OF THE SAME WAY IF YOU MAKE A PLOT OF THE ENERGY THAT THESE MACHINES HAVE BEE ABLE TO GET BEAMS TO, STARTING BACK IN THE '30s, UP UNTIL NOW YOU'D SEE A SIMILAR SORT O EFFECT, THAT THE ENERGY KEEP PROGRESSIVELY GOING UP AND U AND UP, AND THAT'S BECAUSE WE'VE ALWAYS EMBRACED NEW TECHNOLOGIES WHICH HAVE ALLOWED US TO MAK THE NEXT JUMP IN ENERGY, WHETHER IT'S UNDERSTANDING FURTHER THINGS ABOUT THE HIGGS BOSON UNDERSTANDING DARK MATTER, DAR ENERGY THERE'S ALL THESE QUESTIONS THAT WE WANT TO ADDRESS, BUT THEY TEND TO REQUIRE MACHINES THA CAN GET US TO PROGRESSIVEL HIGHER ENERGY.

LET'S SAY, BEST-CAS SCENARIO, 10 YEARS FROM NOW, 20 YEARS FROM NOW, YOU'R SUCCESSFUL, AND I COULD GO DOW TO SCIENCE GADGETS 'R' US AN PICK UP A PARTICLE ACCELERATOR FOR MY BASEMENT, IF I'M SCIENCE LAB OR WHATEVER.

SO, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THIS TOO BECOMES MORE AVAILABLE TO MORE PEOPLE

I THINK, LIKELY, WHAT YOU'L SEE IS, FIRST, WE'LL TRY AND BUILD A MACHINE YOU USE THES HIGH-ENERGY BEAMS TO MAK X-RAYS WHEN YOU SHOW THAT YOU CAN D THAT AND YOU CAN MAKE THIS MACHINE WORK 24 HOURS OF SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, USING THIS GREA NEW PLASMA TECHNOLOGY, THE YOU'LL START THINKING ABOUT, 'HOW CAN I TAKE ONE OF THOSE MACHINES AND STRING IT TOGETHE SERIALLY SO THAT I CAN NOW GET THE BEAM TO SOME INCREDIBLY HIGH ENERGY AND START ASKING THES OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE AND TH PARTICLES AND FORCES THAT HOLD IT ALL TOGETHER.

ALL RIGHT, MIKE LITOS MARK HOGAN FROM STANFORD'S NATIONAL ACCELERATOR LABORATORY, THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU

THANK YOU

UP NEXT, WE EXPLORE THE INTERSECTION OF ASTRONOMY AN RELIGION BROTHER GUY CONSOLMAGNO IS THE 2014 CARL SAGAN PRIZE WINNER AND THE VATICAN'S OFFICIAL ASTRONOMER WHILE ON A RECENT TOUR TO TH U.S., HE SHARED HIS VIEWS ON SCIENCE AND RELIGION

I'M BROTHER GUY CONSOLMAGNO I'M THE PRESIDENT OF THE VATICAN OBSERVATORY FOUNDATION WHICH IS THE FOUNDATION THAT RAISES MONEY TO SUPPORT TH VATICAN OBSERVATORY'S TELESCOP IN ARIZONA I'M ALSO A SCIENTIST I USE THAT TELESCOPE I OBSERVE ASTEROIDS AN KUIPER BELT OBJECTS -- THOSE THINGS OUT BEYOND PLUTO.

AND IN ADDITION TO THAT, MY BACKGROUND IS IN THE GEOLOGY O PLANETS, SO I STUDY TH METEORITES -- THE ROCKS THAT COME FROM THE ASTEROIDS -- AND MAYBE WE'LL GET PIECES SOMEDAY FROM THE KUIPER BELT SO MY WHOLE WORK IS TRYING T FIGURE OUT HOW THESE LITTL PIECES -- THE PIECES OF JUNK LEFT OVER FROM THE FORMATION O THE PLANETS -- WHAT THAT CAN TELL US ABOUT HOW THE PLANET WERE FORMED 4 1/4 BILLION YEAR AGO.

I WAS IN KINDERGARTEN WHEN SPUTNIK WAS LAUNCHED I WAS STARTING MY SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL WHEN PEOPLE LANDED ON THE MOON.

BUT THE REAL KICK WAS IN BETWEEN THOSE TWO TIMES, YOU KNOW, WHE ALL LITTLE BOYS WERE GONNA B SCIENTISTS AND IT WAS ONLY BOYS IN THOS DAYS, I'M AFRAID BUT I WAS ALSO FASCINATED BY SCIENCE FICTION.

MY BEST FRIEND WAS GOING T M.I.T.

I VISITED HIM THERE AN DISCOVERED THAT THEY HAD THE WORLD'S LARGEST COLLECTION O SCIENCE FICTION.

I THOUGHT, 'I'VE GOT TO COME HERE I'VE GOT TO FIND SOME EXCUSE.'

I SAW, AMONG THE LIST OF MAJORS, IF YOU TRANSFERRED IN, EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE.

AND I THOUGHT, 'PLANETS -- I'V ALWAYS LIKE LOOKING AT THE STARS.

I CHECKED THAT OUT WHEN I ARRIVED, I DISCOVERED THAT I HAD SIGNED UP FOR THE GEOLOGY DEPARTMENT 'GEOLOGY?'

WHAT COULD BE MORE BORING THAN YOU KNOW, 'THERE'S A ROCK.

YEAH, THERE'S ANOTHER ROCK.'

YOU KNOW, WHAT AM I GONNA DO?'

AND THEN I DISCOVERED THAT THERE ARE ROCKS THAT FALL OUT OF THE SKY THAT COME TO US FROM THE ASTEROID BELT, SOME OF THEM FROM THE MOON, SOME OF THEM CHIPPED OFF MARS AND I DISCOVERED THAT YOU COUL STUDY THESE SAMPLES OF OUTER SPACE.

I GOT SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT TH THOUGHT THAT I COULD BE HOLDIN A PIECE OF OUTER SPACE, I NEVE LOOKED BACK.

I BECAME A JESUIT WHEN I WAS NEARLY 40 YEARS OLD, WITH TH IDEA OF TEACHING AT A JESUIT UNIVERSITY BUT, OF COURSE, YOU TAKE THESE THREE VOWS -- POVERTY, CHASTITY, OBEDIENCE.

POVERTY, I WAS USED TO I'D BEEN A GRADUATE STUDENT.

CHASTITY, I WAS USED TO.

I'D BEEN A GRADUATE STUDENT.

OBEDIENCE, I WAS NOT USED TO THEY GET TO DECIDE THE WOR YOU'RE GONNA DO.

BEFORE I HAD ANY CHANCE TO SAY 'I WANT TO TEACH HERE' OR 'I WANT TO TEACH THERE,' THEY CAM TO ME AND SAID, 'YOU'VE BEEN ASSIGNED TO TH VATICAN OBSERVATORY.

UNDER 'OBEDIENCE,' I HAD TO GO TO ROME, LIVE IN THIS HORRIBLE PALACE, LOOK AT THAT BORIN SCENERY, EAT THAT TERRIBLE FOOD, AND, OH, YES, WORK IN LABORATORY WITH 1,00 METEORITES, DOING THE WORK I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO.

YOU KNOW, THAT'S TOUGH BUT I HAD TAKEN THE PROMISE THAT I HAD TO OBEY.

PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND HO SCIENCE ACTUALLY COMES OUT O OUR RELIGION AND THE GREATEST EMBLEM OF THA IS THE FACT THAT, UNTIL THE EN OF THE 19th CENTURY, MOST OF THE PEOPLE DOING THE DAY-TO-DA SCIENCE WERE CLERGYMEN I MEAN, IN THE LITTLE VILLAGE, WHO ELSE HAS THE EDUCATION AND THE FREE TIME TO GO OUT AN GATHER SPECIMENS PLUS, WHAT DOES A CLERGYMAN DO FOR MOST OF THEIR LIFE IF THEY'RE RUNNING A PARISH, THEY'RE KEEPING TRACK OF BIRTHS, DEATHS IT'S CLERICAL WORK THAT'S WHY THEY CALL I 'CLERICAL.

BUT THAT'S EXACTLY THE SAM SKILLS YOU NEED WHEN YOU'RE SCIENTIST -- TO KNOW HOW T GATHER DATA AND ORGANIZE DATA.

AN AWFUL LOT OF THE SCIENCE WE DO HAS, IN ITS ROOTS, TH TECHNIQUES THAT COME OUT O THEOLOGY OR THE TECHNIQUES O JUST BASIC RECORDKEEPING THA YOU WOULD GET IN THE PARISH.

THE AMERICAN ASTRONOMICA SOCIETY ACTUALLY GAVE ME THE CARL SAGAN MEDAL, WHICH I AM CARRYING AROUND IN MY POCKET S I CAN SHOW TO EVERYBODY I KNOW CARL SAGAN WAS FAMOUS NOT JUST BECAUSE HE WAS A POPULARIZER O ASTRONOMY, BUT HE WAS THE FIRST.

BEFORE THEN, THE IDEA WAS, 'SCIENTISTS ARE GOING TO B SERIOUS AND STUDIOUS.'

AND HE SAID, 'NO, THIS I AMAZING STUFF WE'RE DOING.

WE'RE EXPLORING THE PLANETS FO THE FIRST TIME WE WILL BE THE GENERATION WH WILL BE THE FIRST TO SEE THE SURFACE OF MARS, THE SURFACE O VENUS, WHAT THE RINGS OF SATUR REALLY LOOK LIKE, AND WE SHOUL BE EXCITED ABOUT THAT.

AND THAT WRAPS IT UP FOR THIS TIME FOR MORE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION, VISIT OU WEBSITE.

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK AND JOIN TH CONVERSATION ON TWITTER.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, I'M HARI SREENIVASAN THANKS FOR WATCHING.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WA MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATION.