They are found everywhere in Nature. From the leaf arrangement in plants, to the pattern of the petals of a flower, the bracts of a pine cone, or the scales of a pineapple. The Fibonacci numbers are applicable to the growth of every living thing: a single cell, a grain of wheat, a hive of bees, all of mankind. From sunflowers to sea shells, the same recurrent mathematical pattern can be observed in Nature, again, and again, and again… Continue reading Fibonacci’s Golden Spiral – The Relationship between Maths and Nature
Break a magnet into two pieces, and what do you obtain? What you get, unsurprisingly perhaps, are two new magnets – each one with two sides of opposite polarity. You don’t get a north half and a south half. Back to square one, it seems… Continue reading Magnetic “Monopole” Observed in Quantum System – The Lowdown on Electromagnetism
January 20, 2014. 500 million miles from Earth. 09:59:58… 09:59:59… 10:00:00 GMT. After spending two and a half years into deep-space hibernation, Rosetta awakes…
Launched in March 2004 by ESA (European Space Agency), it has since travelled around the Sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line itself up with its final destination. Continue reading Waiting for Rosetta to Wake Up…
♫ This is Ground Control to Major Tom… ♫
Commander Chris Hadfield ascended to international stardom when he released his cover version of David Bowie’s 1972 Song ‘Space Oddity’ from the International Space Station. Continue reading Living out in Space: From ‘Major Tom’ to Major Tim
A lot of things happen in 12 months. And 2013 is no exception.
Remember when you were a kid back in 1977, when Voyager-1 was all the talk? Remember the wonderful artefact it carried away into space like a gift from the Earth human civilisation – the golden disc and the message on it? Where is it now? Continue reading 2013: A Year in Physical Science and Technology
Water. H2O. The chemical formula is simple. Two atoms of hydrogen H and one atom of oxygen O, held together by covalent bonds, are all it takes to make what is perhaps the most fundamental substance to life on Earth. Continue reading Water of Life
Just when you had high hopes of getting your hands on the latest gizmos and trendy gadgets in time for Christmas… and Boom! You’re being given a comet! Not just any comet. Comet ISON (C/2012 S1). It’s 4.6 billion years old! And it will pass within 40,000,000 miles of Earth. Continue reading Making Plans on the Comet – C/2012 S1 IS ON!!
Just nine months ago, a massive asteroid blew up above the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia. The explosion created by the Chelyabinsk asteroid on Friday 15 February 2013 was the Continue reading Chelyabinsk Asteroid: Nine Months After The Russian Meteor Impact
The Humble Hydrogen Atom
Back in May 2013, scientists announced that they had managed to capture a photo of an electron’s whizzing orbit within a hydrogen atom, using a unique new technology of ‘quantum’ microscopy. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s take a short trip into the infinitesimally small! Here is the first photograph of a hydrogen atom! Continue reading At the Heart of the Hydrogen Atom…
The Physics Nobel Prize was awarded on 8 October 2013 to Edinburgh University-based scientist Peter Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism crucial to our understanding of the origin of everything…
At the end of the 19th century, many people considered Physics as the foremost of sciences. Perhaps chemical engineer Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) saw it in this way too, and that is why Physics was the first prize area which he did mention in his will. Continue reading Physics Nobel Prize 2013: Scotland’s Own Peter Higgs
According to the current understanding of Physics, there is as yet no uniform field theory. No all-encompassing well-rounded theory that would enable all the known fundamental forces and elementary particles to fit neatly into one simple model, and to be expressed in terms of a single field.
And since there is no accepted unified field theory, it remains an open line of research. Canadian graduate student Timothy Blais decided to explore the idea and promote his findings in a way that really rocks… ♫ Continue reading Strings + A Capella = “Bohemian Gravity”?
Over 50,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributed to air pollution. Physicist, entrepreneur and father Mark Richards is concerned about the environment and in particular the air pollution that we expose our children to. He has developed a handy machine which can monitor air quality. He wants people to see how bad air pollution is, so that we all think more carefully about our lifestyles and travel methods.
Exploring Vacuum Instability
Scientists are currently exploring the concept of vacuum instability. What does this mean? Well, they believe there is a chance that… Billions of years from now, a new universe could open up into the present one and replace it. It all depends on some very precise numbers related to the Higgs boson particle that researchers are currently trying to pin down.
If the calculation on vacuum instability holds, it would revive the old idea that the ‘Big Bang’ Universe we can observe today, is merely the latest version in a permanent cycle of events… Continue reading Why the Universe may be Inherently Unstable
Keeping It Relatively Simple
The Einstein Field Equations of General Relativity are vast and complex, but they can be written with deceptive simplicity. Using modern notation, the field equations can be formulated as
Glasgow Science Festival 2013 begins today with a busy schedule of events for all ages!! Highlights include “Science Sunday”, a free event taking place at the University of Glasgow, Hunter Halls on June 9th between the times of 10:00 and 16:00. Continue reading The Glasgow Science Festival 2013 Starts Today. Naturally!
The Open University has created a series of 6 short animated iTunes videos about the Philosophy behind Maths and Science. Continue reading 60-Second Adventures in Thought
Today, Thursday 14th March 2013. Only last year, the world of Particle Physics research was getting excited among rumours and speculation that the hunt for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was finally over, following the news that a Higgs-like particle had been identified in July. Continue reading It’s a Higgs!
The Open University has teamed up with “geek chic” comedian David Mitchell to release a series of 12 short animated YouTube videos about the Physics of the Cosmos: “60-Second Adventures in Astronomy”. A real treat. And it’s educational! If you have only 60 seconds, you can now learn everything we know about matter, energy, life, the Universe and everything…
20th Century World View
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a theory about the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions, developed throughout the mid-to-late 20th century, as a worldwide collaborative effort. Continue reading The Standard Model
Historic Event in Astronomy
Today, Friday 15th February 2013. Russia’s Ural mountains. A fireball streaks through the clear morning sky. Loud bangs follow. A meteor crashes in Russia about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) east of Moscow. Continue reading Meteors over Russia
Black holes are known to exist at the centres of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way. The masses of those black holes are correlated to many of the properties of their host galaxies, which strongly suggests that galaxies and black holes evolve together. Measuring their masses Continue reading How to Weigh a Supermassive Black Hole?
Light. Most of us take it for granted during the day. And at night, we have learned to domesticate it. Light, the natural agent that stimulates our sense of sight and makes things around us visible. Continue reading Let There Be Light…
Early astronomers already make the distinction between stars and planets, as the former remain relatively fixed for centuries, while the latter wander an appreciable amount in a comparatively short time. But that’s not all!