Summer Holidays…

I don’t normally write any posts over the summer but since I gained a new subscriber today I thought I would celebrate. I am just about to embark on an overhaul of the blog with some new content, a shop and hopefully some interactive physics models. It will depend upon whether I can get the javascript […]

Continue reading

Cabbage Indicator…

Can red cabbage be used to make an effective indicator? We used methylated spirits (ethanol with 10% methanol added) to extract the colouring from some red cabbage. This was then added to a range of different pH values to see if it changed colour. A reliable and obvious colour change, at a given pH, would […]

Continue reading

Conservation Of Matter…

When a chemical reaction occurs, matter is conserved. This means that the reactants and the products have the same mass. No new atoms are created during the reaction and no atoms are destroyed; they are just rearranged. The following short video attempts to illustrate this principle and although it contains a rather big mistake, it […]

Continue reading

What Does It All Mean?

Chemical reactions can be described with word equations. These equations show how the atoms rearrange themselves during the reaction. The first thing you need to understand is the names of the chemicals because this tells you which elements you are dealing with. You will probably only be asked about chemicals containing the following elements. Symbol […]

Continue reading

Nix Panicus…

He fired almost before [McWho's] unconscious body hit the ground, yelling to Lavender, ‘Stay quite still.’ Of the two men at the console, the heavy technician at the radar screen moved first, snapping his head up and going for his own gun a split second before his partner. As Bond squeezed the trigger it crossed […]

Continue reading

Leaving France…

The above neatly reflects my preparation for leaving France and heading back to Oxford. There is work to be done for Jesus Christ Superstar so I have to call my trip short – just as the weather has become unbelievably nice. No doubt I will get around to packing at some point. Apparently tonight’s blood moon is […]

Continue reading

Scatological Diversity…

Here is a delightful take on the importance of diversity for the survival of an ecosystem. It is somewhat scatological but I have never avoided discussion of bodily functions when they are necessary.

Continue reading

A Bloke In A Hat…

I expect you recognise the gentleman in the picture above. He designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Paddington Station and the SS Great Britain; the first all iron, propeller-driven steam ship. At the end of last month the results of a survey were published in which people from non-scientific backgrounds were asked to name famous scientists. […]

Continue reading

How Science Works #2…

This is a repost from April 16th 2010 with some questions added at the end. The theory of evolution attempts to explain the many connections between all living things on Earth. The fossil record, evidence from genes, geographical distribution and laboratory experiment all point towards living things sharing a common ancestor from about 3.5 billion […]

Continue reading

Digger…

Today I had a gate fitted to my orchard, replacing the scruffy bit of wire netting that had served as the only barrier between my property and the farm animals regularly herded down my road. I am sure my farming neighbours will be pleased. It has rained a lot in the Vendée over the last […]

Continue reading

Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes…

This is a repost of two videos from April 2010 – the early days of the blog. I thought about it because of a question on a Winchester Election paper about strobe lighting. They are two quite long videos but I thought they were worth sharing, particularly for those who like optical illusions. They left me baffled but delighted. […]

Continue reading

Foiled Again…

Aluminium is a typical metal in that it is… Shiny An excellent conductor of electricity An excellent conductor of heat Malleable (meaning it can be bent and shaped without snapping) Ductile (meaning it can be drawn out into wires and rolled into foil) In other ways it is not very typical. It has quite a […]

Continue reading