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
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
Geothermal energy prospectors have long used gravity meters in their search for the right subsurface characteristics. But these have been point measurements. GOCE now provides this information across the World at a resolution never before achieved on that scale. Continue reading Geothermics and Gravity – The IRENA Global Atlas for Renewable Energy
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
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
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
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
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…
We all know about diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Well, as much as any of us can learn from watching the news whether on TV or on the Web. On average, the advice is loud and clear. You’re told to: eat healthily, exercise moderately. Additionally, don’t smoke, don’t take drugs and go easy on your alcohol consumption. Overall, it makes good sense. Your heart, your lungs and your liver play a major role in keeping you alive and well. That little, everybody realises. But how much do we really know when it comes to illnesses of the nervous system? And without a healthy nervous system, well… This article deals with Multiple Sclerosis. It is an attempt to fill a gap in my own general ignorance and to inform others about this cruel condition…
It’s not often you can see lightning above Glasgow, so this 2006 Flickr photograph is a rare and impressive sight. But that’s not the point… A study by researchers in the United Kingdom shows it is not just conditions here on Earth that determine how much thunder and lightning we get. The Sun’s magnetic field also has a major influence, more than doubling the number of lightning bolts on some days… Continue reading Lightning and the Sun’s Magnetic Field
Ever since French physicist Louis de Broglie first described the wave-particle duality in 1926, scientists have struggled to come to terms with this strange particularity of our natural World when observed at the quantum level. Waves can be particles, and particles can be waves. But are entities waves AND particles all at the same time?
Scotland’s Quiet Revolutions
It seems quiet at first, and even dull. Not much happening… Dreich, as one might say! Sad. Grim. Bleak. Not much to do… Not much to see here… Just sheep… But wait!! Look closer! Is that Dolly in this field? Now, that’s interesting! Oh, Aye, we’re in Scotland! It changes EVERYTHING… Continue reading Scotland’s Quiet Revolutions – One Nation with Sovereign Achievements… and a Pure Dead Brilliant Future!
The human nervous system contains roughly 100 billion nerve cells. Worth pausing for an instant… and read it again. That’s right, 100 billions! To give an idea of the scale, the Milky Way, our own galaxy, contains roughly 100 billion stars. And although human beings are way smaller than galaxies, we begin to appreciate how each one of us is as complex, as mysterious, and as magnificent in its own right, as any large astronomical entity in the physical Universe. Continue reading We Glimpse at the Body Electric – An Introduction to the Physics of the Human Nervous System
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
Earlier this month, UKube-1, a satellite built by Glasgow-based technology firm Clyde Space, successfully launched on a test flight from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It is the first ever spacecraft to be fully assembled in Scotland. Continue reading Satellite of Love – It’s Up, Up and Away for Scotland’s UKube-1
Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry is a technique for separating ions of different masses by measuring the time taken to traverse a fixed distance through a magnetic field. Sounds a bit arcane? The technique is used daily by forensic investigative teams to research criminal profiling and provide reliable evidence for the prosecution… Continue reading We Delve into Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry Forensics!
Mysterious flashes of light and clear-sky lightning, blue flames? Glowing orbs and fireballs? Will-o’-the-wisps? Stand-alone rainbow clouds and light pillars? How could this be…?
Scientists in the United States now say that earthquake lightning flashes appearing to precede earthquakes, are likely to be sparked by movements within the ground below. This phenomenon could be used to trigger alarms and help warn millions of an impending danger…
Break a magnet into two pieces, and what do you obtain? What you get, unsurprisingly perhaps, are two new magnets – each one with two sides of opposite polarity. You don’t get a north half and a south half. Back to square one, it seems… Continue reading Magnetic “Monopole” Observed in Quantum System – The Lowdown on Electromagnetism
If you have had it up to here with floods in England, if you are left cold by the snow in the United States or mystified by the unseasonably mild temperatures in Scandinavia, blame it on Santa Claus! Continue reading Are the Jet Streams Dynamics Santa’s Revenge? No, really.
The bad news is that we’re all but certain to end up with a coastline at least this flooded: 20 metres or 69 feet. The “good” news Continue reading Sea Level Rise vs Atmospheric CO2
The Sun ought be awash with activity right now. But space scientists are baffled… The Sun has reached its solar maximum: the point in its 11-year cycle where activity is at a peak. Yet it has hit a lull. And to see when the Sun was this inactive last… you’ve got to go back about 100 years… Continue reading Silent Sun
Well, you can try… I love a gothic mystery, don’t you? 😉
You have six weeks to do it – and a staged murder at Strathclyde University’s Ross Priory house – using the techniques of forensic science. Starting NOW. Continue reading CSI Scotland: Murder by the Loch – Studying the Forensics…
A lot of things happen in 12 months. And 2013 is no exception.
Remember when you were a kid back in 1977, when Voyager-1 was all the talk? Remember the wonderful artefact it carried away into space like a gift from the Earth human civilisation – the golden disc and the message on it? Where is it now? Continue reading 2013: A Year in Physical Science and Technology
Typhoon Haiyan was a huge weather system. If you haven’t heard about the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines by now, then you probably don’t care… Continue reading In the Eye of Super Typhoon Haiyan