Ever since the early days of human space travel, back in the 1960s, astronauts have run experiments involving plants in space. Over a million seeds of rocket (two kilograms of rocket seeds) are shortly due to take off from Florida, bound for the International Space Station, as part of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month Principia mission. Continue reading Space-Age Rocket
What a World!!
Amazing timelapse footage of the Earth (including aurorae, lightning and city lights) as seen from the International Space Station. Just mesmerizing…
Published on YouTube on 3 Dec 2013
Music: ‘Fill My Heart’ by Two Steps from Hell
Editor: David Peterson
Late O’ Clock at Night
It’s late o’clock at night. All alone in the night? Enjoy this amazing time footage flyover of the Earth from the International Space Station. Absolutely uplifting… Positively enthralling…
Continue reading All Alone in the Night…
The Standard Model of Particle Physics describes the fundamental particles and their interactions via the strong, electromagnetic and weak forces, providing precise predictions for measurable quantities that can be tested experimentally. Here’s the latest!! It’s hot!!! It’s exciting!!! At least, if you’re a particle physicist… Continue reading Rare Beauty Decays at CERN
One of the all-time most interesting elements in the Periodic Table, nitrogen is a colourless, odourless, inert diatomic gas that makes up to 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere. We breathe it everyday, although an atmosphere of pure nitrogen is nefarious to animal and human life. It is vital to life and plants simply strive on it. Nitrogen compounds are explosive, and nations have gone to war over it. It can feed… or kill. Continue reading Nitrogen – Nature’s Explosive Building Blocks
Expedition 43 astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti snapped this photograph of herself wearing the Starfleet uniform from TV series “Star Trek: Voyager” aboard the International Space Station, and posted it on her Twitter account @AstroSamantha last month.
Be under no illusion. You saw the sign: “Pickpockets are operating in this area”. You reacted. Instantly. The first thing you did was to check your pockets or handbag for signs of financial solvability. All is well. You relax. Only now, you’ve become the “mark”… because you’ve just given away precious information about the location of your valuables around your body. Continue reading The Illusion of Choice – Now You See It, Now You Don’t…
Surrounding the town of El Ejido, Almeria Province, southern Spain is a sea of greenhouses, stretching for tens of kilometres, visible from space. Millions of tons of vegetables are exported from there to other European countries and further parts of the World. Along the Mediterranean coast, tourism flourishes, fuelling a booming real estate economy… Continue reading Food as Geopolitical Subjugation – Welcome to Plastic City, Almería!
Should you ever have wondered what the Higgs boson sounds like… It’s… “AS LOUD AS A RIFF BY JOE SATRIANI. WHAT?! IT’S AS LOUD… AS A…” Oh, wait!! Here it is. Continue reading The Sound of Physics
The Rise of Solar Power Farms
This is the Jasper Project. Over 325,000 photovoltaic panels capable of producing 180,000 MWh of clean energy every year and support the needs of almost 80,000 households. More and more solar farms are being built across Africa. Solar energy is on the rise. Continue reading Sunrise over an African Power Revolution
“Dark matter?” You cannot see it. But there is something there. As for what it is, it’s anybody’s guess! Dark matter does not interact with light. At all. Which makes it difficult to detect. “But if you cannot see it? How do you know it is in fact there?” Well, it does interact with gravity, and as it does so it bends the path of any light ray passing nearby... “And did it really kill the dinosaurs…?” Continue reading That Mysterious Missing Matter – Cocktail Party Physics
A ground-breaking one-year space mission involving twin astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly should help doctors, scientists and mission planners better understand the physical and psychological impacts of a long-duration spaceflight. Continue reading The Real-Life Space Twin Paradox
That’s how this TED video on the Higgs boson begins. I say two guys… It’s more like one physicist working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN – the European laboratory for Particle Physics – aka Dave Barney, and a Blues singer, aka Steve Goldfarb, in the guise of a pink slug… Continue reading The Basics of the Higgs Boson Explained
Four states of matter can be seen in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and – somewhat more exotically – plasma. As a tightly bound combination of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, a water molecule is nothing out of the ordinary. Liquid water, steam or ice are still just water. Yet, it is intriguing to see how the very same building blocks of matter are capable of producing such broadly distinct states. Continue reading Changing States – Fundamental Phases of Matter
You. Yes, YOU! You’re pretty smart, right? Clever and witty too, I bet. Of course you are. You’re just like me. But wouldn’t it just be terrible if we were all thoroughly mistaken. Psychologists have now shown that we are more likely to be blind to our own failings than perhaps we do realise. This might explain why some incompetent people are SO annoying… and also inject a healthy dose of humility into our own sense of self-regard… Continue reading Ode to the Numpty or Why Incompetence is a Double-Edged Sword
Take one second and divide it a million times. Then, take one millionth of that second and divide it again… by a billion! All you’re left with is a femtosecond. That’s how fast the Linac laser at Palo Alto can deliver burst of X-rays and track chemical reactions in living systems… as they happen. Continue reading Stanford’s Linac X-Rays capture Molecular Matter in Motion
Ever since Francis Crick and James Watson brought Physics and Biology together in 1953 to unveil the molecular structure of DNA, the boundary between the two disciplines has continued to become increasingly blurred. In this genomic new era, ever more principles from Physics are being applied to living systems in an attempt to understand complexity at all levels. Although sometimes the best solution to a Physics problem lies in the macroscopic world of Biology… Continue reading When Biology Met Physics…
What happened at time T = 0? is still anybody’s guess. At least, earlier observations of Planck’s radiation had suggested the first generation of stars were bursting into life by about 420 million years after the Big Bang. However, scientists from Europe’s Planck satellite mission now say the first stars lit up the Universe later than was previously thought… Continue reading Planck’s Time and the “Oldest Light” in the Cosmos
At the beginning of the 20th century, the discovery of the radiometric “clock” revolutionised our understanding of the Earth’s deep history, confirming what geologists had been claiming for decades. Nevertheless, newer and more accurate dating methods posed further problems in themselves. After all, how do we know our Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and not a mere few thousands of years as suggested by the Bible? Continue reading Testing Times – Methods of Dating the Geological Past
Tin – an important element for the electronics industry. Tin is in high demand to manufacture devices like smartphones and tablets. In Indonesia and elsewhere, people work in mines to dig tin ore out of the ground. A dangerous job is made even more unsafe where the mine is being run illegally. And it is not just the adults who take risks. Children in Indonesia are working in brutal conditions to collect the materials used in our cool gadgets. The manufacturers are complicit. Do you really feel like buying that brand new mobile phone now? Continue reading Little Tin Soldiers of Indonesia
Our planet has existed for 4.5 billion years, and it has been a busy lifetime. From amazing leaps and bounds forward into evolution to devastating asteroid impacts and other episodic extinctions, here are the biggest milestones in Earth’s history – the eventful journey that shaped our World today. Continue reading Earth Creation – The Story So Far…
I don’t do politics – much. I just blog here… I have an honest opinion. Mostly, I tend to disagree with all those who try to suppress opinions, ideas, and attempt to stifle creativity and common sense… whoever they may be. Unfortunately, once in a while, events are so traumatic that I simply forget that I don’t do politics… Voilà!
I am not sure how many of you out there actually knew those Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but if you’re easily offended… DON’T read further!! Continue reading Don’t Shoot, I Just Blog Here! – I Am Charlie.
Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly referred to as “fracking” in the media, is the fracturing of rock by a pressurised liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally – certain veins or dikes are examples. However, induced hydraulic fracturing or hydro-fracturing is also a long tried-and-tested mining technique that has been most controversial recently… But let’s not panic! Continue reading The Craic about “Fracking” – Technical Facts on Hydraulic Fracturing
What is the ultimate strategy for winning at rock-paper-scissors? According to three physicists in China, the answer does not lie in having absolutely no strategy and ensure that your choice of weapon is completely random, unlike previously thought. If that strategy seemed obvious, perhaps you haven’t played the game enough to delude yourself into thinking that this might be a winning strategy… Continue reading Winning at Rock-Paper-Scissors… Lizard-Spock!