Archive for the ‘Science’ category

Aristocratic titles that shaped physics teminology

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I recently read that the buildings of the old Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University are under threat of partial demolition, which led me to consider where the laboratory’s name came from. Most people who work in physics will have heard of the Cavendish, and may assume the laboratory, and the associated professorial chair, are named […]

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Return of the giant hogweed?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

This summer has seen numerous stories in the media about giant hogweed, including plenty of cases where people, particularly children, and even pets, have been injured after coming into contact with it. My fascination with the giant hogweed began in childhood when on holiday in Cornwall one year. There was an article in a local […]

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Nobel prize for prestige not profit

Sunday, 5 January 2014

In recent months there have been reports that the Nobel Foundation, the body responsible for awarding the world famous Nobel prizes, has been concerned that the prize money they offer may begin to fall behind other prizes awarded in similar fields of science. They are concerned that this will reduce the importance of the Nobel […]

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Erdős number

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A while ago I read about the Erdős number, which is a measure of the “collaborative distance” between a researcher and the late, prolific Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős. (His surname is pronounced something like air-desh, with a slightly rolling “r” in the first syllable, a bit like a Scot saying “err”…) It is related to […]

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Science funding: Cox-up not conspiracy

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Last week, pop musician turned particle physicist turned TV presenter Brian Cox wrote two articles in the New Scientist blog about the STFC‘s proposed funding cuts to particle physics and astronomy. Cox claims that the cuts are some sort of conspiracy by un-named people who sit somewhere between government and the scientists at the sharp […]

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The price J. P. Morgan couldn’t afford

Monday, 9 February 2009

Until yesterday, I’d never heard of the person called J.P. Morgan, but then two references came along at once. Of course, I’d heard the names of financial companies such as JPMorgan Asset Management. But who was it named after? Yesterday I was watching an old ’70s episode of Columbo, as I’m currently working my way through […]

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Let’s keep GMT and lighter mornings

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Tonight the clocks go back in the UK as British Summer Time ends. At this time every year, the media is full of stories about why we should stay on BST in the winter (either with or without double summer time in the summer). Usual reasons given are to save energy, and to reduce the […]

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Reality on the Rocks

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

With CERN‘s new machine, the Large Hadron Collider, very much in the news at the moment, it made me think back to the television series, Channel Four’s Reality on the Rocks, broadcast in 1995, which first made me interested in visiting CERN, and no doubt played a part in me eventually working with large scientific […]

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