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
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
The very latest technology in scanning and 3D printing is now providing vital clues and evidence in murder. And as it happened, scientists can now ascertain that World famous flightless extinct bird… the Dodo… died… AFTER BEING SHOT… in the back of the head… Continue reading Digital Forensics and The Case of the Dead Dodo
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.
Viewing tiny objects, like cells, under a microscope is a real game of hide-and-seek with the light. It follows that the specimen must be carefully prepared, or ‘mounted’ on a slide. Here we get a little closer to the eukaryotic cell. The building block of life itself… Continue reading Life Under The Microscope
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.
Mercury is rising. And in many more ways than one. As global temperatures go up, the Arctic ice is melting. Sea level rises. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. But below the permafrost, another threat is lurking.
Scientists accomplish the impossible. This time, a quantum physicist has only managed to capture the photographic image of an atom with a conventional camera. And THIS is the photograph….. Continue reading And THIS… is an Atom!
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
At the heart of central London, opposite St Pancras’ International station, stands the new Francis Crick Institute – a working building with distinctive ultra-modern architecture. Important science is being done here. Life-changing science. Continue reading The Francis Crick Institute – Open For Boundless Scientific Discovery
10 rivers on Earth may be responsible for around 90% of oceanic plastic pollution in the World. Continue reading Ten Rivers on Earth – The Great Plastic Tide
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
There are 1.3 billion cubic kilometres of water on Earth. Nevertheless, ready access to clean drinking water remains a major issue for millions of people. A much sought-after innovation was developed by a UK-based team of researchers who created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater. The new technology could aid millions around the World.
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
A meat and potato pie has been attached to a weather balloon, and sent “into space”… Continue reading Pie in the Sky
Many places in the World have limited sources of drinkable water, whether it is because of limited rainfall or because of polluted water resources. Without sufficient potable water, the health of possibly billions of people remains at risk. In Lima, Perú, a simple technology helps people harvest water from the fog. Continue reading The Fog Harvesters of Lima, Peru
Agronomic engineers have managed to improve upon one the most important biological process on the planet – photosynthesis. The increased yield in crop could be as much as 15%. Continue reading Feeding of the Nine Billion – The Future of Photosynthesis and Increased Crop Productivity
We live on the ever-changing planetary surface of Earth. Now, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s “Eruptions, Earthquakes, & Emissions” (“E3”) web application reveals a time-lapse animation of the data held on volcanic eruptions and quakes on Earth since 1960. The dynamic Earth at one glance!
Continue reading Fifty Years of Turmoil in One Minute – The Recent Living Respiring Dynamic Earth