Greifswald, Northeastern Germany, 2016. Physicists at the Max Planck Institute have been racing to find a way of producing sustainable, clean energy with a stable nuclear fusion reactor. The challenge? Re-creating the Sun’s powerhouse on a much, much smaller scale. Continue reading Engineering A Star – Nuclear Fusion, Tokamaks and Stellarators
As World leaders meet for COP26 in Glasgow, the Earth has already reached 1.2 °C warming above pre-1880s industrial levels. Continue reading Our Burning Planet – Beyond Net Zero, Will We Adapt Or Die?
A clock is ticking inside a mountain in Western Texas. It is a monumental clock. Hundreds of feet tall, its mechanism is designed to tick for 10,000 years. It’s a real clock. The first of several millennial clocks being built around the World, to endure for centuries. Tick…
This 2.5-tonne lump of rock is a banded iron formation. It marks a turning point in the history of life on our beautiful planet. A crucial chemical transition. When oxygen started becoming abundant. And life took its next step towards complexity… Continue reading Rock of Ages – Why Banded Iron Formations Are Far From Boring…
It’s unclear why so many great whales beach en masse around the World. And it’s really difficult to estimate their number, especially when the cetacean strandings occur along remote shores. But there is hope. Scientists are now developing techniques to monitor marine populations from space. Continue reading Saving Hope… – Cetacean Strandings and Satellites
A hypothetical Ninth planet has been lurking on the outskirts of our Solar System. But Planet Nine may not be a planet at all… Continue reading Nine – The Elusive Planet in Our Solar System
Canada. A land of unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty, led by the poster boy of progressive politics Justin Trudeau who has cast himself as an environmental champion. Canada as the World sees it… Continue reading Trudeau’s Canada: From Climate Champion to Environmental Pariah?
Come in. Step into the pristine environment of a modern science laboratory. With all its cutting-edge equipment neatly arranged and organised work spaces clearly delineated, you might just be forgiven for thinking it is a model of sustainability but… Look a bit closer! You might be surprised…
Pesticides have a dramatic impact on the health of ecosystems, posing real risks to pollinating insects, such as bees. But did you know that your favourite bouquet may be posing a risk to your own well-being? Continue reading A Bouquet of Pesticides – The Dark Side of Flowers
The Universe is accelerating
For a while now, astrophysicists have known that our Universe is expanding, and accelerating. And much like the surface of a rubber balloon getting inflated, space is getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger… Continue reading The Universe Expands Far Faster Than Anticipated…
Five years after the Chelyabinsk asteroid impact, a three-in-a-century event happens again over the Bering Sea. And almost no-one notices. I say “no-one”… but the Earth is a planet under constant scrutiny. Continue reading Large Asteroid Impacts Earth…
Pushing the Boundaries
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster left behind a highly toxic landscape. Thirty-two years hence, the area around the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat largely reverted to forest. Despite the contamination, wildlife gradually took over. Hints of recovery emerged as animal species began to thrive, free from the disruptive influence of human activity. And for the first time, researchers recorded evidence of a young wolf boldly venturing away from the danger zone.
The Scottish coast is renowned for the wealth of its rocky features. And if you can’t abide Geology, you can while away the hours with the local marine biology. It’s dead quiet and if you’re lucky on a clear day, you might even see Arran magically emerge from the mist across the waters of the Clyde estuary.
Our environment is permeated by radiation, present around us at all time. We are constantly exposed to radioactivity from natural sources for the most part naturally occurring radioactive nuclei in rocks and cosmic rays – the ‘background’. Without ado, this is my lowdown on radioactivity.
No need to be an atomic scientist, when you’re considering the state of the World today, to understand the picture is an alarming one. Allegorically-speaking, the Earth is now only two minutes away from impending catastrophe. Continue reading Closer to Midnight… – The Countdown to Doomsday Earth
The World’s only particle accelerator dedicated to analysing artworks is back online at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Continue reading Shedding Light on Art – A Particle Accelerator in Paris
On the whole, Earth scientists agree that melting of land ice greatly contributes to sea-level rise. And one thing’s for sure. Future global warming will exacerbate the risks posed to human civilisation. But… What if you could forecast major floods? You can. Continue reading Future Floods and Melting Ice Sheets – Predicting with GRACE
Another Brick in the Whorl of Forensic Science
Fingerprint spectrometry analysis – a technology which can detect the brand of hair gel or condom used by a suspect – could soon be admissible as evidence in UK courts. Continue reading Fingerprint Forensics Delve Deeper Into Spectrometry Analysis
CERN’s LHCb collaboration has announced the discovery of a new “charming” particle, thought to be instrumental to the strong force – the Xi-cc++. Another particle. So…? Continue reading Charming New Particle Xi-cc++ Discovered at CERN
Within every object on Earth lies concealed a positive or a negative electric charge. From the very structure of the atom to the essential functioning of our brains, the natural power of electricity is all around us, and it is one of the most potent symbols of our Modern World. Making the story of electricity, the story of life itself… Continue reading The Spark of Being – A Not-So-Brief History of Life and Electricity
Negative mass has always been theoretically possible, and the concept has finally made it from a mathematical idea on paper to a reality achieved in the lab. Scientists at Washington State University have created a fluid with negative mass. Continue reading The Bizarre Behaviour of Negative Mass
The Sentinel satellite program was designed to replace the older Earth observation missions, which have reached retirement or are nearing the end of their operational life span. The satellite array will ensure a continuity of data, so that there are no gaps in ongoing studies. Continue reading Sentinel Is Watching
As the X-Files series enjoy a revival on TV, the American spy agency has decided to place thousands of declassified documents detailing government research into UFOs on its website. The CIA documents also confirm the reality of humans with ‘Special Abilities’ able to do seemingly impossible things. Continue reading CIA Releases “X-Files”
Synthetic cannabinoids were designed for recreational use. Many used them legally in an attempt to recreate the effects of organic cannabis, or to achieve similar psychoactive effects, until they were banned in May 2016. But they promised more than they delivered. Spice is one of them. Continue reading Spice of Life? The Health Cost of Synthetic Cannabinoids and the Adverse Effects of Full Agonists
Just over a century ago, Einstein proposed the existence of waves in the spacetime continuum – the logical deduction from his Theory of General Relativity. In February 2016, scientists finally announced the detection of those “ripples” in gravity, using the technique of laser interferometry. Continue reading 2016: Another Year in Cutting Edge Science