Be honest. We all have one. What’s your poison? Booze, tobacco, prescription drugs… or something a little more exotic? Cannabis is a controversial plant, regarded by many as a godsend. If Carlsberg made a ‘erb… Continue reading Panacea Nostrum – The Forensic Toxicology of Cannabis
Erm…No. Not Mona Lisa! (Rolls eyes.) Think again!! This is LISA – the Lisa Pathfinder satellite, the key element for a grand new project: a space-based gravitational observatory. Continue reading Hunting Ripples in the Fabric of Space-Time – The Trials and Tribulations of LISA
They are made from assemblies of multiple elements fashioned from composite materials, like metals or plastics. And they promise to revolutionise the way we look at things. Continue reading Optically Brilliant Metamaterials
The Network Within Us
Everything is connected. And so it is in the human body too. Everything in the human body is connected. No doubt that all your organs – heart, liver, lungs – work as one to keep you alive and as close as possible to a healthy state. Continue reading We Consider Human Network Physiology and Medicine – The “Body Electric” – Part Deux
There is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms. From an all-physical point of view, the former tend to be so much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. At MIT, Jeremy England derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. Continue reading A Theory of Life… The Physics of Cells and Macroscopic Irreversibility
Once a chic resort on the Bay of Naples, Herculaneum was favoured by the finest of Roman’s elite society, who spent the hot Italian summers there… until a catastrophe struck one afternoon in 79 AD. The Villa dei Papiri, excavated centuries later, was found to contain the only library to have survived from the Classical World – a unique cultural treasure, which the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly destroyed, and yet preserved all at once. How do you read what is essentially a charred book? Continue reading Between the Lines of the Herculaneum Papyri using X-Ray Imaging Techniques
Plant life is one of Nature’s miracles. Imagine being a plant and almost all you will ever need to keep on striving is sheer sunlight. In green plants, both photosynthesis and aerobic respiration occur. It’s a lot like the way in which the human body breaks down food into fuel that it can store. Essentially, using energy from the Sun, a plant can transform carbon dioxide CO2 and water into glucose and oxygen… Continue reading A Day in the Life of a Plant – Photosynthesis and Phytochemistry
Black Holes Far Ago Have Been Causing a Stir…
You know how when you throw a rock into a pool, that makes ripples in the water? And how Einstein once upon a time predicted that the very mass of stars and planets should warp spacetime? Although we have had a justified inkling that Einstein was right for quite some time, we had never before detected such a phenomenon. Until THIS happened… Continue reading The Discovery of Gravitational Waves – Merging Black Holes and Advanced LIGO
Most of us are familiar with the idea that our bodies need calcium. And calcium is indeed the key element in our bones. Calcium is the most abundant metal in the human body – and those of animals too. The fifth most abundant element on Earth and our World’s chosen architectural building block. Yes, calcium is a metal. Do we really appreciate its true value? Continue reading Yes, Calcium is a Metal!
Just like buses, it seems. But even rarer and a damn sight more exciting to be honest. Ooohoo!!! Out with your old Science books!! HeL-LOOooo elements 113… 115, 117 and 118!! Continue reading You Wait Ages for a Chemical Element, and Then… BINGO!!
Already this article is beginning to sound like one of those sempiternal quizzes you so often get on social media… but it actually shows how science reality connects. Are you having a scientific identity crisis? Continue reading Lateral Thinking in Science – Who Are You?
Goofball, candy, ice, crack, snow, weasel dust, Belushi, Charlie… High in the Andes of South America, Erythroxylum coca grows as a shrub. For 2,500 years at least, its leaves have been known and used for their stimulant properties. Over 5 million people use cocaine and its derivatives in the United States alone. Continue reading We Do Science on Crack… with Cocaine and the Blood-Brain Barrier
The days of Professor Challenger are here. This week, scientists have set out to drill deeper into the Earth’s mantle than has ever been done before. This time, let us hope the World will not scream! Continue reading Professor Challenger, The Earth Core and The Moho
Better than the A-Team, it’s COP21! Never have so many World leaders been in the same place on the same day. This time, they have just ten years to make a difference! Could the problems be solved? Will the World finally be saved? Continue reading COP21 – The Return Les “Entreprenieurs” in Paris
This blog is cool. It’s spontaneous! It’s electric!! But not as cool as it has been at these cutting-edge laboratories on the outskirts of Europe. Scientists there are dealing with an entirely new type of solid matter – ‘spontelectrics’. Continue reading What’s the Matter… with Spontelectrics?
Following World War I and World War II, at least three major powers disposed of massive quantities of captured, damaged and obsolete chemical warfare material by dumping them into the oceans. Mustard gas, phosgene, lewisite… Submerged chemical ammunitions pose very serious ongoing environmental problems. Continue reading What Lies Beneath – The Toxic Legacy of Post-War Ammunitions Sea Dumping
23rd October 2015. The ‘strongest ever’ hurricane recorded in the Western hemisphere is about to make a “potentially catastrophic” landfall on the western coast of Mexico. This is hurricane Patricia. At that time, the super storm is a Category 5. Weather scientists predict 20 inches of rain and 200 miles per hour winds… Continue reading On the Trail of Hurricane Patricia
Astronomers have found the smallest exoplanet yet to be directly photographed by a telescope on Earth. A methane-shrouded gas giant. A young Jupiter… Continue reading Exoplanet ‘Young Jupiter’ 51 Eridani b
The radiocarbon 14C dating method has been used for decades to accurately determine the age of a wide range of artefacts. But our relentless use of fossil fuels has pumped a type of carbon into the atmosphere that is starting to confuse the dating technique. By 2050, scientists warn, new fabrics could have the same radiocarbon date as items 1,000 years old! Continue reading The Future of RadioCarbon Dating – And an Overview of the AMS Technique
Waste fibres from cannabis crops can be transformed into high-performance low-cost pseudo-graphene energy storage devices. Cannabis is quite possibly the most versatile, yet highly controversial, plant we have on the planet: from a popular recreational drug to a potential medicine for a range of incurable conditions. If Carlsberg made a weed, this would be it… Continue reading From Super Weed to Super-Capacitors, Another Surprising Use for Cannabis…
First predicted in the 1960s, like the Higgs boson before it, the pentaquark eluded science for decades until its recent detection at CERN’s LHCb collaboration. The discovery amounts to finding a new form of matter… Continue reading Behold… the Mystical Pentaquark! – More Exotic Matter Discovered at CERN
Forensic researchers from the University of Salzburg have developed a new method for establishing an exact time of death after as long as 10 days – a significant step forward from the current method of measuring core body temperature, which only works up to 36 hours after death. Continue reading We Check the Time of Death with Post-Mortem Degradation of Skeletal Proteins – And Other Gruesome Forensic Facts of Life
1/60 minute. 1/3,600 hour. 1/86,400 day. 1/1 hertz. The duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of a 133 55Cs caesium isotope corresponds to one second. But what does it look like? And where might you find a second? Continue reading Just a Second…
Deep down, in huge subterranean caverns… Underneath the Franco-Swiss border… 300 feet underground… lies a beast of unprecedented power… and mystery. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that man summons to explore the uncharted corners of the sub-atomic realm… After two years of a deep slumber, the mighty beast has awoken… Continue reading Physics at 13 TeV – Cranking Up the LHC
Still in its early stages, El Niño has the potential to cause extreme and even devastating weather around the World. According to climate graphs, we have reached a 0.6 value for the ENSO. It’s a 60% probability. El Niño is now officially back. Continue reading El Niño – Return of the ‘Enfant Terrible’