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Wissenschaft und Technik im Kopfhoerer / Science and Engineering in your Headphones

Episodes

253 – Hauptschaltleitung und Umspannwerk bei TransnetBW  

In Episode 246 haben wir uns Stromnetze von der theoretisch-konzeptionellen Seite aus angeschaut; die aktuelle Episode liefert die Praxisperspektive. Ich habe dazu TransnetBW besucht, den Übertragungsnetzbetreiber für Baden-Württemberg. Mit meinem Gast Guntram Zeitler spreche ich zunächst nochmal über das Big Picture aus Sicht von TransnetBW. Wir gehen dann in die Hauptschaltleitung, dem "Kontrollzentrum" von der aus das Netz der TransnetBW überwacht und gemanagt wird und sprechen über die Aufgaben des Systemführungsingenieurs. Zum Abschluss gibt uns Guntram Zeitler noch eine kurze Tour des Umspannwerks welches der Hauptschaltleitung in Wendlingen angegliedert ist.

252 – Red Flag  

On the second day of my visit to Nellis AFB we covered the Red Flag, an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted at multiple times per year at Nellis. We started out with a general overview with Jan Stahl; we also covered the role of the aggressors. I then talked with John Traylor who works as a ground intercept controller for the aggressors. Next is a conversation with Graham Johnson about Red Flag from the perspective of a blue force participant; he flies an F-15C out of Lakenheath. We conclude the episode with a look at the historical context that lead to Red Flag, again with Jan.

251 – Flying the F-16 Viper  

As part of my US trip 2017 I visited Nellis AFB, where LtCol Jan Stahl flies the F-16 for the 64th Aggressor Squadron. We spent a day around, in and under the F-16. The episode contains five parts. A brief introduction to the F-16 and its development, a discussion about flying it, a walkaround, a look at all the knobs, switches and displays in the cockpit as well as a detailed discussion on the HOTAS system that forms the backbone of the pilot's interaction with the avionics.

250 – Alexander Gerst: als Kommandant auf die ISS  

Im April habe ich in Köln am Europäischen Astronautenzentrum Alexander Gerst getroffen, der dort gerade für seinen zweiten Flug zur ISS im Jahr 2018 trainiert. Er wird dann als erster Deutscher im Rahmen der Expedition 56/57 "Horizons" die Aufgabe des Kommandanten übernehmen. Wir sprechen über die Aufgaben des Kommandanten, über die Ausbildung zum Astronaut generell und zum Kommandant im Speziellen, sowie über wissenschaftliche Experimente auf der ISS. Natürlich kommen auch seine Eindrücke während seines früheren Fluges 2014 zur Sprache.

249 – Plasma Physics  

During my trip to the US I also visited the Basic Plasma Science Facility at the UCLA in Los Angeles. I talked with the two professors who run the facility, Walter Gekelman and Troy Carter. We discuss the basics of plasma, the research questions of plasma physics and some of the experimental challenges. I also get (and report on) a tour through the facility, which was very impressive, mainly because the whole system was built by the team around Walter and Troy!

248 – Distant Early Warning, SAGE and the F-106 Delta Dart  

In this episode we look back at (aspects of) the North American Air Defense system in the cold war. In particular, we look at the distant early warning line(s), the F-106 interceptor and the SAGE computer system. For DEW, we talk with Mike Milinkovich and Brian Jeffrey who have both worked on the DEW line; Brian also maintains a great website on DEW. For the F-106, we talk with Richard Embry who has flown the interceptor. And for SAGE, we speak with Bernd Ulmann, who has written a very detailed book on SAGE's underlying AN/FSQ-7 computer system. Bernd has also been a previous guest on Episode 159 on analog computers.

247 – Bulk Metallic Glass  

Dr. Douglas Hofmann works as a scientist in the Metallurgy Lab at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I visited Doug during my US trip earlier this year, and we chatted about metallic glass. In particular, we discussed its properties, how to create it in bulk, how to test its properties, as well as how and why it is interesting for use in space.

246 – Stromnetze, ein Überblick  

Als Auftakt zu einer (hoffentlich ausführlichen :-)) Serie von Episoden zur Energieerzeugung und -versorgung geht es heute um Stromnetze im Allgemeinen. Unser Gast ist Veit Hagenmeyer, Professor am KIT und ehemaliger Kraftwerksleiter. Wir sprechen über Spannungslevel im Netz, Regelung mittels der Netzfrequenz, die Regelbarkeit verschiedener Kraftwerkstypen sowie die Herausforderungen die sich für das Netz aus der zunehmenden Verbreitung regenerativer Energiequellen ergeben.

245 – Glaciology Research at the Darwin Glacier  

During my visit to DLR's Earth Observation Center earlier this year I also talked to Dana Floricioiu about her work in glaciology. We discuss a couple of her recent publications, and then focus on her trip to the Darwin Glacier in Antarctica. Together with a team of fellow scientists, she camped on the glacier for three weeks to conduct various in-situ experiments. We discussed the work, but also life on the glacier.

244 – SAR Satelliten und Satellitendatenarchivierung  am EOC  

Ich war am Earth Observation Center des DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen zu Besuch und habe dort zwei Gespräche geführt. Zunächst ging es mit mit Michael Eineder vom Institut für Methodik der Fernerkundung um Radarsatelliten und deren Einsatz für die Erdbeobachtung. Wir sprechen über das Funktionsprinzip von satellitengestützten SAR-Radar und betrachten außerdem die beiden Missionen TerraSAR-X und TanDEM-X. Im zweiten Teil spreche ich mit Stephan Kiemle vom Deutsches Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum über Satellitendatenarchivierung.

243 – Formal Specification and Proof  

The increasing complexity of software requires increasingly sophisticated means of ensuring its correctness -- "just" testing is not necessarily good enough, depending on the domain in which the software is used. Formal specification, verification and proof is a field with a long tradition in computer science that is gaining more (practical) relevance these days; and in this episode, we cover the basics. Our guest is Benjamin Pierce, professor of computer science at UPenn. We discuss the nature of (good) specifications, how verification and proof is different from testing, and where and how these techniques are successfully used today.

242 – Satellite Testing at ESTEC  

This is the last episode recorded during my visit to ESA's ESTEC last fall. I get a tour of the Test Centre with the head of the section, Mark Wagner. We discuss the various test stands and facilities, including the thermal vacuum facility, the large space simulator, the thermal vacuum chamber, the vibration facilities, electromagnetic testing and acoustic testing.

241 – Electric Propulsion of Spacecraft  

During my visit to ESA's ESTEC last fall, I talked to Jose Gonzalez del Amo, who is the head of the Electric Propulsion Lab. We discussed the basics of electric propulsion, the pros and cons compared to chemical engines, different engine styles and their use cases, as well as the work ESA performs in the lab.

240 – Atmosphärenforschung mit HALO  

Im Dezember habe ich das Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre des DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen besucht. Dort habe ich mit dem Physiker Helmut Ziereis und Katrin Witte vom Flugbetrieb unterhalten. Neben Forschungsfragen und -vorgehen der flugzeuggestützten Atmosphärenphysik haben wir uns insbesondere über das Forschungsflugzeug HALO unterhalten.

239 – The Saturn V Launch Vehicle  

David Woods has a new book out, so of course he has to talk about it on omega tau :-) His recent book is about the Saturn V launch vehicle, i.e., this time it is about the rocket, not about the spaceship. In this episode we dive into lots of details that we did not cover in the two Apollo episodes (episodes 83 and 97) -- make sure you have listened to those before you listen to this one.

238 – Societal Complexity, Part II: Today’s Perspective  

In October 2015, Joseph Tainter was my guest in omega tau 184 to discuss his concept of increasing complexity and eventual collapse of societies. In this episode, our guest Paul Arbair discusses these concepts in the light of today's rising populism in several countries. The episode is based on two articles Paul wrote on his blog: one on Brexit and one on Trump.

237 – Synthesizers  

Late 2016, during a trip to the Netherlands, I visted Rutger Vlek of River Creative Technology in his home studio to record an episode about synthesizers. We talked about the basics of sound generation, various enveloping and filtering techniques, sound design, the different fundamental approaches of sound synthesis, as well as a couple of classic synths. Rutger illustrated lots of approaches with samples from some of his many synthesizers.

236 – Space Flight Software  

Last fall I visited ESTEC, ESA's space research and technology center. In this first of three episodes, I talk with Maria Hernek, who heads the Flight Software Systems section. We talk about the challenges of space flight software, the development processes used by ESA and its vendors, as well as means of ensuring the required quality attributes. This episode can be seen as a continuation of the conversation with Andreas Wortmann in the OHB episode.

235 – A Walk in the Woods with Miami Rick and the Big Boeings  

Rick Ruiz is a pilot for Atlas Air where he flies various versions of the Boeing 747 freighter. Previously he flew the 767 and the 777 for LAN Chile, primarily cargo as well. Rick is also a crew member of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, where he is known as Miami Rick. In this episode, we stroll through the woods around Landstuhl, Germany, where I visited Rick while he was on a layover. We geek out about flying the Big Boeings.

234 – Flugsicherung bei der DFS in München  

Im Rahmen einer München-Reise im Herbst habe ich die Deutsche Flugsicherung in München besucht und habe mich mit den beiden Lotsen Lars Albrecht und Mathias Andlinger unterhalten. Wir starten mit einer allgemeinen Einführung in Lufträume, Verfahren und die diversen Bodenfunkstellen. Dann besichtige ich mit Lars das Center in München und mit Mathias den Tower; dort unterhalten wir uns jeweils nochmal über die Spezifika der beiden Aufgabengebiete.

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