The Order Of The Universe

Jul 27, 2018
Originally published on July 27, 2018 4:33 pm

Our ultra-competitive guest musician Julian Velard faces off against the audience in this space-themed game. See if he shoots for the moon, or spaces out.

Heard on Jessica Walter's Alter Egos.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

While Kristina and Diana get ready for the final round, it's time for our guest musician Julian Velard to play a game. Now, Julian is quite competitive.

JULIAN VELARD, BYLINE: Very.

EISENBERG: So today we are pitting him against our entire audience here at The Bell House in a science game called The Order Of The Universe. So before the show we quizzed our live audience about outer space. Julian, I'll ask you the same questions. And if you can beat the audience's median score, you'll win the game. Here we go. Here's your first question. Which is bigger as measured by its radius, the Earth's moon or Pluto?

VELARD: Pluto is not a planet.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. Sure.

VELARD: Just laying that out there.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Does that mean you're going to pick the Earth's moon?

VELARD: I'm going to say the Earth's moon.

EISENBERG: Well, guess what? You're correct, OK? Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

VELARD: Yes.

EISENBERG: Sixty-three percent of the audience answered correctly.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: OK, so which is faster, the rotational velocity of Earth, which is how fast the Earth is spinning, or the speed of sound? Now, I just want to say we are measuring the Earth's rotational velocity at the equator and the speed of sound through dry air...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...At sea level, not your high-up wet air. No, dry air at sea level. OK, so what's faster?

VELARD: I already got this figured out, Ophira.

EISENBERG: OK, tell me.

VELARD: I know the answer here.

EISENBERG: Fine. Yeah.

VELARD: So speed of sound's - what? - like, I don't know, 900 miles an hour.

EISENBERG: You're the musician.

VELARD: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

VELARD: So it's simple - no, I would say the Earth moves faster than the speed of sound.

EISENBERG: OK, well, guess what? Your measurements weren't bad. The Earth's rotational velocity is 1,000 miles per hour. The speed of sound at sea level in dry air is about 760 miles per hour. It's the rotational velocity of the Earth. Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And guess what? You did extra great because only 41 percent of the audience...

VELARD: That's right.

EISENBERG: ...Got that one. Which is closer to being shaped like a perfect sphere, the sun or the Earth?

VELARD: Again, very simple, Ophira. Earth is flat.

EISENBERG: That's correct.

(LAUGHTER)

VELARD: Answer is the sun.

EISENBERG: Correct again. And your final question - wouldn't that be great if I just left it at that?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: People are like, but this is NPR.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: By the way, 66 percent of the audience got that correct. The sun is very close to being shaped like a perfect sphere. The Earth and the sun both have equatorial bulges, however. They are like cosmic love handles.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: According to a 2012 article in Science magazine, the sun is about 12 kilometers with the bulges, and the Earth's is about 43 kilometers. I feel like the Earth needs to go on the Whole30.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So guess what? Julian Velard, you did it.

VELARD: So I got every question right, right?

EISENBERG: You got every question right.

VELARD: And the audience did not, correct?

EISENBERG: The audience did not get every question right.

VELARD: So that would make me the winner of this game.

(LAUGHTER)

VELARD: I'm very competitive. I'm just - sorry. Maybe I was a little aggressive. I apologize.

EISENBERG: No, it's OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's like you're mansplaining your winning.

VELARD: That's right.

EISENBERG: It's kind of fun.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I like it. Julian Velard - fantastic. Give it up for Julian Velard. And give it up for science.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.