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 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…
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.
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
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
The Arecibo observatory is a very large radio telescope located in Puerto Rico. In 1974, astronomers used it to broadcast a message into outer space intended to demonstrate human intelligence. Why are we so interested in finding intelligence in the stars, and yet so deaf to the many species who manifest it here on Earth?
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
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
It’s cold down there. Icy cold. It’s dark. Pitch black, in fact. And the crushing pressures make the deepest parts of the oceans into some of the most hostile places on our planet. The lowest of the low. The deepest of the deep. Only three human explorers ever made it down there. As a brand new wave of deep-sea exploration begins, we look at the mysterious world where marine scientists will be diving into… Continue reading Sailing the Lower Midnight… – The Uncharted Frontier of Modern Deep-Sea Exploration
A team of scientists have written music that they found most cats respond to a “little like sonic catnip”. They used tempos and melodies originating from purrs and suckling. Continue reading Music for Cats… – Guaranteed to be your Cat’s Jam!
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
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
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?
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
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…
Taking a radically different experimental approach, EPFL scientists were able to take the first ever snapshot of light behaving simultaneously both as a wave AND as a stream of particles. You need light to take a photograph. But how do you take a photograph of light? Continue reading Seeing the Light Fantastic – Particles, Waves and All