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.
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
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?
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
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
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…
♫ 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
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…
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
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 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 CO2. Continue reading Olivine – Squeezing Hydrogen from Stone and Capturing Carbon
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
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!!
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
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.
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
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
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!
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…
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 e. Continue reading Revisiting the Millikan Experiment – What’s in an Oil Drop?
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
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”?
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