Tag Archives: Science

From the Files of xkcd…

I love xkcd… Continue reading

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Free Voyager 40th Anniversary Posters from NASA

NASA have added some lovely 40th Anniversary Voyager posters to their download page. Continue reading

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Earth Day – April 22nd

Today is Earth Day, an annual event celebrated on the 22nd April. It was first celebrated in 1970 and promotes support for environmental protection issues around the world. Events are promoted globally in more than 190 countries. Continue reading

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GeekDad: Visions of the Future

NASA / JPL have commissioned an amazing set of posters to commemorate the achievements of NASA’s Voyager mission and the possibilities of space exploration.

“NASA’s Voyager mission took advantage of a once-every-175-year alignment of the outer planets for a grand tour of the solar system. The twin spacecraft revealed details about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – using each planet’s gravity to send them on to the next destination. Voyager set the stage for such ambitious orbiter missions as Galileo to Jupiter and Cassini to Saturn. Today both Voyager spacecraft continue to return valuable science from the far reaches of our solar system.”

“Imagination is our window into the future. At NASA/JPL we strive to be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, these visions of the future can become a reality. As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future.”

The Poster can be downloaded from the JPL NASA website

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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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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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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