Chasing Scientific Holy Grails

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U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

Science is all about discovery — tackling the big questions that define our world, and hopefully our future. But some of these questions are as obscure as they are important. The challenges seem endless — with any kind of answer decades or even generations away — but, if answered, these quests could transform life as we know it.

On this episode, we explore some of science’s holy grails — we look into why these questions matter, and how close they are to being answered, and meet the people who are leading the charge.

We hear stories about the search for extraterrestrial life, what fusion power could mean for the fate of our planet, humans’ quest for immortality, and more.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Technology journalist Peter Ward introduces us to a community of people dedicated to using cutting-edge science to extend their lives — by decades, or maybe even centuries. Ward explains the current state of their quest for immortality, including using cryonics to freeze and preserve the body. His book is “The Price of Immortality: The Race to Live Forever.”
  • Forget carbon emissions or radioactive waste — hello clean, abundant energy! That is the promise of fusion power, a scientific holy grail that’s hovered outside our grasp for nearly a century. We talk with physicists Martin Greenwald and Clifford Johnson, as well as science journalist Steven Krivit, about how close — or far — fusion power actually is.

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