Any signal that may be represented as an amplitude varying over time has a corresponding frequency spectrum. This applies to concepts (and natural phenomena) that most human beings encounter daily, without giving them a second thought. Such as visible light (and colour perception), radio/TV channels, wireless communications… Even the regular rotation of the Earth. Even the sound of music… Continue reading The Art and Science of Music Acoustics – From the Humble Flute to the Mighty Didgeridoo (Featuring Tarzan…)
The Physics of Superheroes is a popular science book by James Kakalios, a Physics professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Minnesota, and a long-time comic-book fan. Continue reading “Pow”! “Bang”! The Physics of Superheroes
Over 50,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributed to air pollution. Physicist, entrepreneur and father Mark Richards is concerned about the environment and in particular the air pollution that we expose our children to. He has developed a handy machine which can monitor air quality. He wants people to see how bad air pollution is, so that we all think more carefully about our lifestyles and travel methods.
“God gave the Sun to everyone”, Alfredo Moser states modestly. And Moser gave his light to everyone. Over the last couple of years, Moser’s ingenious innovation has spread throughout the World, bringing the bottle lamps to locations from Brazil to the Philippines and Bangladesh. By early next year, it is estimated that one million homes will have benefited from his simple idea… Continue reading The Moser Bottle Lamp: ‘Divine Light’
Exploring Vacuum Instability
Scientists are currently exploring the concept of vacuum instability. What does this mean? Well, they believe there is a chance that… Billions of years from now, a new universe could open up into the present one and replace it. It all depends on some very precise numbers related to the Higgs boson particle that researchers are currently trying to pin down.
If the calculation on vacuum instability holds, it would revive the old idea that the ‘Big Bang’ Universe we can observe today, is merely the latest version in a permanent cycle of events… Continue reading Why the Universe may be Inherently Unstable
Keeping It Relatively Simple
The Einstein Field Equations of General Relativity are vast and complex, but they can be written with deceptive simplicity. Using modern notation, the field equations can be formulated as
Near-tropical thunderous rain downpours have succeeded the balmy high temperatures that summer has brought to Glasgow of late. Deep black skies. Thunderbolts. Lightning. (♫ Very, very frightening! Galileo Galileo… ♫) Unusual conditions even for a very wet Scotland. Continue reading Tropical Thunderstorms in Glasgow: The Tale of the Atmospheric River
Nope. Nothing to do with the arch-nemesis of the Smurfs or with an avant-garde artistic masterpiece, unlike the top picture appears to suggest… Actually, the Gargamelle on the left is at CERN and takes its name after the giantess in the works of satirist François Rabelais: she was Gargantua’s mother! The Gargamelle is a historical ‘bubble chamber’ detector however… Continue reading Secrets of the Bubble Chamber
Glasgow Science Festival 2013 begins today with a busy schedule of events for all ages!! Highlights include “Science Sunday”, a free event taking place at the University of Glasgow, Hunter Halls on June 9th between the times of 10:00 and 16:00. Continue reading The Glasgow Science Festival 2013 Starts Today. Naturally!
The Open University has created a series of 6 short animated iTunes videos about the Philosophy behind Maths and Science. Continue reading 60-Second Adventures in Thought
Made of Atoms
IBM researchers currently hold the Guinness World Record for the ‘World Smallest Stop-Motion Film’ after creating a short film about a boy and his ball, by manipulating single atoms. Continue reading A Boy and His Atom
Apparently, the phrase “once in a blue moon”, in the sense of something that occurs very rarely, dates back to 1824. I will check this out as soon as I have time… Continue reading Once in a Blue Moon…
Today, Thursday 14th March 2013. Only last year, the world of Particle Physics research was getting excited among rumours and speculation that the hunt for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was finally over, following the news that a Higgs-like particle had been identified in July. Continue reading It’s a Higgs!
Our planet is surrounded by layers of gas, the ‘atmosphere’, maintained around it by the very gravitational attraction of the Earth. An important part of the atmosphere that we use to breathe and that plants use in photosynthesis is the ‘air’. Continue reading Earth’s Atmosphere
The Open University has teamed up with “geek chic” comedian David Mitchell to release a series of 12 short animated YouTube videos about the Physics of the Cosmos: “60-Second Adventures in Astronomy”. A real treat. And it’s educational! If you have only 60 seconds, you can now learn everything we know about matter, energy, life, the Universe and everything…
20th Century World View
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a theory about the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions, developed throughout the mid-to-late 20th century, as a worldwide collaborative effort. Continue reading The Standard Model
Historic Event in Astronomy
Today, Friday 15th February 2013. Russia’s Ural mountains. A fireball streaks through the clear morning sky. Loud bangs follow. A meteor crashes in Russia about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) east of Moscow. Continue reading Meteors over Russia
Rainbows are one of Nature’s most gorgeous optical spectacles to behold, brightening up clouded skies with an ephemeral palette of colours when the light falls just right… Continue reading Rainbows, Rainbows Everywhere!
The Earth has an electric field. On average, this field points vertically downwards and it has a magnitude of about 100 N C-1 (Newtons per Coulomb). It exists because the Earth’s surface carries a negative charge of – 5 x 105 C, while the upper atmosphere carries a compensating positive charge. An average of 400,000 thunderstorms a day Continue reading Lightning and the Earth’s Electric Field
Black holes are known to exist at the centres of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way. The masses of those black holes are correlated to many of the properties of their host galaxies, which strongly suggests that galaxies and black holes evolve together. Measuring their masses Continue reading How to Weigh a Supermassive Black Hole?
Light. Most of us take it for granted during the day. And at night, we have learned to domesticate it. Light, the natural agent that stimulates our sense of sight and makes things around us visible. Continue reading Let There Be Light…
Early astronomers already make the distinction between stars and planets, as the former remain relatively fixed for centuries, while the latter wander an appreciable amount in a comparatively short time. But that’s not all!