Category Archives: Science

Ordnance Survey have created a one-off map of the planet Mars. It’s not available as a fold out map (yet) so you’ll have to blunder about on your next trip to the red planet.

“The planet Mars has become the latest subject in our long line of iconic OS paper maps. The one-off map, created using NASA open data and made to a 1:4,000,000 scale, is made to see if our style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions.”

– Your Joyful Benefactor

Image: Ordnance Survey

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16th February 2016 · 10:16 pm

Darwin Day

12th February is Darwin Day and commemorates the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809.

Darwin’s contribution to science should not be underestimated and the facts of Evolution should be taught more, in all centres of learning around the world.

– Your Joyful Benefactor

Image: Painting by John Collier

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One Hundred years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of Gravitational Waves, the announcement that they had been discovered finally came. The two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)  simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal last year on September 14th.

From the Introduction in the Physical Review Letters paper:

“In 1916, the year after the final formulation of the field equations of general relativity, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. He found that the linearized weak-field equations had wave solutions: transverse waves of spatial strain that travel at the speed of light, generated by time variations of the mass quadrupole moment of the source. Einstein understood that gravitational-wave amplitudes would be remarkably small; moreover, until the Chapel Hill conference in 1957 there was significant debate about the physical reality of gravitational waves.”

 

From the Conclusion:

 

“The LIGO detectors have observed gravitational waves from the merger of two stellar-mass black holes. The detected waveform matches the predictions of general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.”

 

The complete paper can be read here:

 

 – Your Joyful Benefactor
Image: LIGO

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12th February 2016 · 8:15 am

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen

I originally tried to read this stunning book back in 2011 when I received it as a present, but struggled from the outset. I have always been fascinated by Quantum Mechanics but found its abstract nature and sheer weirdness overwhelming when compared to classical mechanics. I have recently given the book another go but this time tried to obey the mantra that the world of the Quantum cannot be visualised or imagined in any meaningful way and that one has to really ‘give up’ and let oneself be carried along by abstract notions that are completely counter-intuitive and with the mathematics, which can be simplified into meaningful snippets for the lay-reader.

Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw have done an admirable job of explaining the Quantum world – partly in the early chapters, by replacing waves with ‘clocks’ that can be wound to visualise the states of waves, and that the concepts involved can be layered onto the concept of a clock as a model that does not refer to ‘time’ in sense that we usually mean it. Many of us have heard of the two-slit experiment but become baffled with the notion of a particle that can produce an interference pattern like a wave so that it behaves as both – with the devastating conclusion that the wave/particle can really be anywhere in the universe until the probabilities of it being somewhere are finally multiplied out and its position calculated – but not its momentum as this would conflict with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. The latter part of the book puts Quantum Mechanics into more meaningful scenarios such as describing how it works in relation to the structure of stars, so that they remain as stable entities in the universe.

To really understand Quantum Mechanics a book such as this demands multiple readings in conjunction with other works, if one really wishes to have a grasp of a subject about which the genius Richard Feynman said: “I think I can safely say nobody understands Quantum Mechanics.”

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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Filed under Bookworm, GeekDad, Science

Nasa Launches Project Apollo Archive – Over 8,400 Images of the Lunar Missions

Nasa have just released an Apollo photo archive into the public domain via flickr. The Nasa archive contains most of the Apollo images that were shot on Hasselblad cameras by the astronauts. Continue reading

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GeekDad: Images and Animations of The Eclipse 20th March 2015

pinholecameraeclipse3eclipse1Take a look at these images of the Eclipse of 20th March 2015. My son and I built a pin hole camera, but I was surprised at how good my smart phone captured the event.

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Happy Pi Day!

pi2Today, 14th March (sometimes written 3.14) is pi day (π). It’s extra special this year because it’s 2015 and the date can be written as 3.14.15 which is the first five digits of π. The number π is a mathematical constant, and is calculated from the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter. For more information about π see the Wikipedia article here. To help celebrate π day and for more fascinating facts visit the website www.piday.org

π is an irrational number. Any number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of two integers is described as irrational. Their decimal representation neither terminates nor infinitely repeats but extends infinitely without repetition and π is such an example.

For your interest and pleasure here is π to one hundred decimal places:

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 …

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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Filed under Mathematics, Science

Happy pi day!

 

pi2Today, 14th March (sometimes written 3.14) is pi day (π).  The number π is a mathematical constant, and is calculated from the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter.  For more information about π see the Wikipedia article here. To help celebrate π day and for more fascinating facts visit the website www.piday.org

 

π is an irrational number. Any number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of two integers is described as irrational. Their decimal representation neither terminates nor infinitely repeats but extends infinitely without repetition and π is such an example.

 

For your interest and pleasure here is π to one hundred decimal places:

 

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 …

 

The big question is, why do the digits of π extend for ever?

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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Filed under Mathematics, Philosophy, Science