ABOUT Markus Völter

Avatar of Markus Völter

In the real world, Markus Voelter is a freelance software developer and coach. In his spare time, he flies gliders and, together with his girlfriend Nora, runs the omega tau podcast. omega tau is motivated by our personal desire to be able to talk to interesting people in science and engineering. omega tau is your way to listen in.


Markus Völter: All Posts


Behind the Scenes of Wolfram|Alpha

Posted 4 July 2013 by Markus Völter

This episode covers Wolfram|Alpha, Wolfram's computational knowledge engine and the backend of Siri. Our guest is Michael Trott, the chief scientist of Wolfram|Alpha. In the episode we discuss how Wolfram|Alpha works, including aspects of language processing, ontologies and semantics as well as presentation of results to the user. Wolfram|Alpha Blog : Michael Trott Michael Trott | LinkedIn Wolfram|Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine Wolfram Alpha (WP) Wolfram Research Wolfram Mathematica Stephen Wolfram (WP) Integral Calculator: Wolfram Mathematica Online Integrator CIA - The... Read more

Flying CAE’s Falcon 50 Simulator

Posted 11 March 2013 by Markus Völter

This episode covers my flights in CAE's Dassault Falcon 50 simulator at CAE's Dallas/Ft. Worth Training Center. In the episode we first talk to the head of business aviation operations about CAE's flight training branch in general. The main part of the episode covers my three short flights in the Falcon 50 simulator with my flight instructor Paul Gilbert. In the third part, Paul and I talk about his job as a simulator flight instructor in general. And yes, I... Read more


Posted 4 March 2013 by Markus Völter

This episode is about chaos, or more specifically non-linear dynamics and sensitive dependency on initial conditions. We talk to Harry Swinney and Michael Marder, both from UT Austin's Center for Nonlinear Dynamics. We discuss the basics of chaos, the kinds of systems that exhibit chaotic behavior, fractals, the phase space and the strange attractor. We also discussed practical applications of chaos theory and Harry's and Michael's current work. Harry Swinney Harry Swinney (WP) Michael Marder Center for Nonlinear Dynamics Chaos... Read more

Walking in Space

Posted 2 February 2013 by Markus Völter

In this episode we talk about extra-vehicular activities, also known as spacewalking, with former astronaut Tom Jones. In the episode we cover the underwater training in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, we talk about the preparation of the space walk in the shuttle, and of course we discuss the spacewalking itself. In particular, we talk about Tom's participation in the STS-98 spacewalks that installed the Destiny lab onto the ISS. Tom Jones' Website Tom Jones (WP) Book: Skywalking - Tom Jones'... Read more

Biosphere 2

Posted 27 January 2013 by Markus Völter

This episode is a conversation with Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman about Biosphere 2. In the episode we discuss Biosphere 2 itself, its history and the missions that have been run there. We then discuss today's research at Biosphere 2: among others, this includes the Landscape Evolution Observatory and the Green Roofs project. Biosphere 2 Biosphere (WP) Closed loop life-support (WP) Isotope (WP) B2 Landscape Evolution Observatory Chaos: Making a New Science (James Gleick) Logistic function (WP) Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Green... Read more

Planetary Science and Comets

Posted 1 January 2013 by Markus Völter

This is the first of two episodes recorded at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. This episode has two interviews. The first one, with Mark Sykes, the director of PSI, is about the PSI and planetary science in general. The second interview is with Beatrice Mueller about her research area, comets. Planetary Science Institute International Astronomical Union | IAU Planet (WP) Pluto (WP) SIRIS | Smithsonian Institution Research Information System Dawn Mission: Dawn - Home Page 4 Vesta, Asteroid... Read more

Optical Astronomy and the Large Binocular Telescope

Posted 21 December 2012 by Markus Völter

This epsiode covers my visit at the Large Binocular Telescope near Tucson, Arizona. The episode is mostly a conversation with the telescope's director, Richard Green. We talk about optical astronomy in general and the LBT in particular. I also talk to a scientist who is currently observing at the telescope as well as a telescope operator. LBT homepage Mount Graham Interferometry Active Optics Adaptive Optics omega tau 16 - Radio Astronomy and the ALMA Telescope Stewart Observatory Mirror Lab Borosilicate... Read more

Curiosity’s Landing on Mars

Posted 15 December 2012 by Markus Völter

This episode is a conversation with JPL's Anita Sengupta about Curiosity's landing on Mars. We first discuss the landing process itself and then focus on various aspects of the landing, in particular, the parachute. Next we discuss the development and test of that parachute. We conclude the episode with a general discussion about Mars Science Lab, Curiosity and space flight in general. Anita Sengupta/a> Jet Propulsion Lab Mars Science Lab Curiosity Seven Minutes of Terror (Video) Viking Aeroshell Mars Exploration... Read more

Flying the U-2

Posted 13 December 2012 by Markus Völter

This is the long-awaited episode about the Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance airplaine, the highest-flying jet-powered airplane currently in use. Our guest in the episode is Carl LaRue who has been flying the U-2C and the U-2R in the 60s and 70s. In the episode we discuss the airplane itself, the challenge of flying it, as well as a number of anecdotes surrounding the Dragon Lady. U-2 Videos: Lockheed U-2S "Dragon Lady" Cockpit Tour U-2 take off RAF Fairford U-2... Read more

Game Theory

Posted 29 October 2012 by Markus Völter

In this episode we talk to Ryan Murphy of ETH Zuerich about Game Theory. We introduce the topic in general, discuss a number of important games and also address their applicability for various other sciences, including biology, politics and economics. Ryan Murphy Decision Theory Game Theory John von Neumann Arrow's Impossibility Theorem Externality Race to the Bottom Deflation Currency War Moral Hazard ... Read more