Are the Jet Streams Dynamics Santa’s Revenge? No, really.

A picture showing the location of the Earth's jet streams taken by NASA's Cassini space probe.Unprecedented Weather Events

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.

Mercury: Beautiful Poison

Liquid_MercuryOverused for Millenia…

Ancients called mercury the “first matter” from which all other metals were formed.  For centuries, the heavy metal was also used in medicine.  Yet mercury is now in such disfavour that an international treaty exists to curb its use…  Continue reading Mercury: Beautiful Poison

Algae to Bio-Crude Oil in 60 Minutes?

A photograph showing a hand covered with slimy green algae.Evergreen Energy from Algae

Engineers have designed a continuous chemical process that produces useful crude oil in under an hour.  All from a verdant green algae paste with the consistency of pea soup…  Continue reading Algae to Bio-Crude Oil in 60 Minutes?

Sea Level Rise vs Atmospheric CO2

A map showing what the coast lines of Western Europe will look like with a 20-metre sea level rise.Manmade Carbon CO2 Pollution Has Already Put Us on Track for 20 Metres of Sea Level Rise

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

Silent Sun

A photograph of the Sun's full disk. Image: NASAWhy has the Sun been so quiet?

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

North by Northeast: The Trouble with the Earth’s Shifting Magnetic Field

A photograph taken at Loch Lomond. Image: NaturPhilosophieA Rambling Geomagnetic Pole

Magnetic North made an unusual and historic shift.  For the first time in more than 220 years of map making, Ordnance Survey has noted that North lies East, and not West, of Grid north for parts of Southern Britain.  But how does this shift in magnetic field affect map reading in Scotland’s hills?  Continue reading North by Northeast: The Trouble with the Earth’s Shifting Magnetic Field

Waiting for Rosetta to Wake Up…

An artist's impression of the Rosetta spacecraft in outer space. Image: ESAThe Rosetta Spacecraft

January 20, 2014.  500 million miles from Earth.  09:59:58…  09:59:59…  10:00:00 GMT.  After spending two and a half years into deep-space hibernation, Rosetta awakes

Launched in March 2004 by ESA (European Space Agency), it has since travelled around the Sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line itself up with its final destination.  Continue reading Waiting for Rosetta to Wake Up…

Living out in Space: From ‘Major Tom’ to Major Tim

A photograph showing astronaut Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station (ISS) in the video of his cover version of 'Space Oddity' by David Bowie.Chris Hadfield’s Space Oddity

♫ This is Ground Control to Major Tom… ♫

Commander Chris Hadfield ascended to international stardom when he released his cover version of David Bowie’s 1972 Song ‘Space Oddity’ from the International Space Station.  Continue reading Living out in Space: From ‘Major Tom’ to Major Tim

http://www.roboearth.org/ – The Matrix is Everywhere…

A photograph showing an old-fashioned computer screen showing a lot of data in green font type on the black screen background and the words "The Matrix has you..." is displayed in the centre.What is RoboEarth?

A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being unveiled for the first time.  The eventual aim of the system is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines.  Continue reading http://www.roboearth.org/ – The Matrix is Everywhere…

CSI Scotland: Murder by the Loch – Studying the Forensics…

A colour drawing of Ross Priory - an early 19th-century country house, located west of Gartocharn, West Dunbartonshire, on the south shore of Loch Lomond, Scotland. The scene of the crime? Forensic science and murder meet by the Loch.Can you Solve the Murder by the Loch?

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…

2013: A Year in Physical Science and Technology

A cartoon by Drew featuring Voyager 1. The caption reads: "What do you mean I haven't left the solar system? I've already posted it on Facebook."Voyager leaves the Solar System

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

Water of Life

A clever design showing the word H2O drawn in condensation water droplets.An Essential Molecule for the Sustainability of Life

Water.  H2O.  The chemical formula is simple.  Two atoms of hydrogen H and one atom of oxygen O, held together by covalent bonds, are all it takes to make what is perhaps the most fundamental substance to life on Earth.  Continue reading Water of Life

Olivine – Squeezing Hydrogen from Stone and Capturing Carbon

A photograph showing a block of olivine gemstone.Olivine, A Common Earth Mineral

Olivine is a common green mineral, present in the Earth’s subsurface.  The mineral is also called ‘peridot’ and ‘chrysolite’ when mined as a semi-precious stone.

When exposed at the Earth’s surface, olivine weathers quickly.  The serpentine mineral that results is of increasing interest to scientists looking for a viable solution to clean the atmosphere from CO2Continue reading Olivine – Squeezing Hydrogen from Stone and Capturing Carbon

Amazing Grace Hopper

A black and white photograph of a young Grace Hopper.21st Century Women in Physics and Sciences

At a time when the United Kingdom’s Education System is being put on the spot for encouraging the enduring gender bias in subjects being taught at school, Google celebrates the 107 year-old birthday of Grace Murray Hopper in classic Google Doodlestyle.  That is, Dr Grace Hopper.  Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.  “Amazing Grace” Hopper.  Continue reading Amazing Grace Hopper

Making Plans on the Comet – C/2012 S1 IS ON!!

A photograph of comet ISON. Image: Damian Peach.A Comet is not just for Christmas…

Just when you had high hopes of getting your hands on the latest gizmos and trendy gadgets in time for Christmas… and Boom!  You’re being given a comet!  Not just any comet.  Comet ISON (C/2012 S1).  It’s 4.6 billion years old!  And it will pass within 40,000,000 miles of Earth. Continue reading Making Plans on the Comet – C/2012 S1 IS ON!!

November’s Greatest Sex Show on Earth

An aerial photograph of the Big Blue Hole - a stunning part of the Belize Coral Barrier Reef.The Coral Barrier Reef is Only in the Mood Once a Year.

Aawww!!  What?  Not what you were expecting?  What are you like…  Anyway, it made you look!  😉

This great sex show, the greatest sex show on Earth, happens every year, around about now, in November.  When the tides are just right and the Moon is full, the Coral Reef literally erupts!  Continue reading November’s Greatest Sex Show on Earth

A Short Tribute to Frederick Sanger – Genome Man

A photographic portrait of Frederick Sanger.Have you even heard his name before?  Frederick Sanger?

Dr Frederick Sanger, the British biochemist who is considered to be the “Father of Genomics“, died yesterday, aged 95. 

Continue reading A Short Tribute to Frederick Sanger – Genome Man

In the Eye of Super Typhoon Haiyan

A photograph of typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines, taken from the International Space Station (ISS). Image: NASATyphoon Haiyan of the Philippines

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

Chelyabinsk Asteroid: Nine Months After The Russian Meteor Impact

A CCTV photograph showing the Chelyabinsk meteor burning bright in the atmosphere over Russia. Image: NaturPhilosophieThe Day of the Chelyabinsk Asteroid

Just nine months ago, a massive asteroid blew up above the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia.  The explosion created by the Chelyabinsk asteroid on Friday 15 February 2013 was the    Continue reading Chelyabinsk Asteroid: Nine Months After The Russian Meteor Impact

The Law of Conservation of Energy: Life’s a Roller Coaster!

A photograph showing buddhist monks enjoying the scary thrills of a roller coaster ride. The Law of Conservation of Energy: Life's a roller coaster! - NaturPhilosophieWhat is Energy?

And what does the Law of Conservation of Energy actually mean?  In science and Nature, the word ‘energy’ conjures up a wealth of images associated with speed of movement, activity and work.  Energy does appear in many guises.  Even matter is a form of energy.  Actually, everything in the Universe is nothing more than energy in one form or another…  Continue reading The Law of Conservation of Energy: Life’s a Roller Coaster!

At the Heart of the Hydrogen Atom…

A photograph showing a Hydrogen atom visually captured for the first time using the technique of Quantum Microscopy.

The Humble Hydrogen Atom

Back in May 2013, scientists announced that they had managed to capture a photo of an electron’s whizzing orbit within a hydrogen atom, using a unique new technology of ‘quantum’ microscopy.  Ladies and gentlemen, let’s take a short trip into the infinitesimally small!  Here is the first photograph of a hydrogen atom!  Continue reading At the Heart of the Hydrogen Atom…

Revisiting the Millikan Experiment – What’s in an Oil Drop?

A droplet of oil just falling into a little yellow pool.A Historical Experiment

In 1909, physics pioneers Robert Millikan (1868-1953) and Harvey Fletcher (1884-1981) performed an experiment that would ultimately enable them to determine one of the most fundamental of all physical constants: the elementary electric charge, i.e. the electric charge of an individual electron – the constant eContinue reading Revisiting the Millikan Experiment – What’s in an Oil Drop?

Physics Nobel Prize 2013: Scotland’s Own Peter Higgs

Don't try this one: Professor Peter Higgs with a description of the Higgs model.The Latest Physics Nobel Prize Laureate

The Physics Nobel Prize was awarded on 8 October 2013 to Edinburgh University-based scientist Peter Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism crucial to our understanding of the origin of everything…

At the end of the 19th century, many people considered Physics as the foremost of sciences.  Perhaps chemical engineer Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) saw it in this way too, and that is why Physics was the first prize area which he did mention in his will. Continue reading Physics Nobel Prize 2013: Scotland’s Own Peter Higgs

Strings + A Capella = “Bohemian Gravity”?

Bohemian Gravity: "Any way you quantize, you encounter infinity."Describing The World Dynamics So Far

According to the current understanding of Physics, there is as yet no uniform field theory.  No all-encompassing well-rounded theory that would enable all the known fundamental forces and elementary particles to fit neatly into one simple model, and to be expressed in terms of a single field.

And since there is no accepted unified field theory, it remains an open line of research.  Canadian graduate student Timothy Blais decided to explore the idea and promote his findings in a way that really rocks…  ♫  Continue reading Strings + A Capella = “Bohemian Gravity”?

IPCC 2013 Stockholm – Latest Findings on Climate Change

A photograph showing the bright Sun shining over the Chukchi Sea. The planet's far northern and southern latitudes are projected to experience the greatest change under increasing global temperatures - and in many cases they already are. Image: Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The IPCC 2013 Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released its latest summary of the science behind human-caused climate change or, to use its catchy official title, the IPCC Working Group 1 Fifth Assessment Report Summary for Policy Makers – Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.

The document summary is 36 pages long.  The report includes 14 chapters and a dizzying amount of graphs, data and figures.  Here are just a few…  Continue reading IPCC 2013 Stockholm – Latest Findings on Climate Change

Little 'Bytes' about Natural Phenomena, Theoretical Physics and the Latest Worldwide Scientific Findings. Edited from Glasgow, Scotland.

 

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