Category Archives: science

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg

I love In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg.. 45 minutes a week on BBC Radio 4 and you know you will always learn something new!

The thing that amazes me most about these programmes is how Melvyn seems able to ask pertinent question regardless of the topic. He is surrounded by people who have spent years studying a particular subject and he always sounds like he knows what he is talking about whether it is the history of Mali, The Salem witch trials, X-Ray Crystallography or Rumi’s poetry.
Only once have I heard him flummoxed.. and must confess I was too.. so have a listen and see what you think about this classic discussion about Bertrand Russell and his work on Analytic philosophy.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the influential British philosopher Bertrand Russell. Born in 1872 into an aristocratic family, Russell is widely regarded as one of the founders of Analytic philosophy, which is today the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world. In his important book The Principles of Mathematics, he sought to reduce mathematics to logic. Its revolutionary ideas include Russell’s Paradox, a problem which inspired Ludwig Wittgenstein to pursue philosophy. Russell’s most significant and famous idea, the theory of descriptions, had profound consequences for the discipline.

Have a browse through the comprehensive A-Z with all episodes broadcast since 1998 and I’m sure you’ll find something that takes your fancy.. from the A of The Abbasid Caliphs to the Z of The Zulu Nation’s Rise and Fall.  

TED-Ed Periodic Table

This is a brilliant TED-Ed resource for anyone interested in the Periodic Table or Chemistry. The Periodic Videos team at Nottingham University have done short videos for each element so far discovered.The teamAll these videos are created by video journalist Brady Haran, featuring real working chemists from the University of Nottingham. See Periodic Videos for more about the team behind the films.

Click on the periodic table below or http://ed.ted.com/periodic-videos to find out all sorts of chemistry facts!

periodic table

If you like this the Periodic Videos team have started a new series – The Molecular Videos which features their favourite molecules and compounds.

The Fragile Framework – Climate Change

The Climate talks in Paris are currently going on .. and I came across this cartoon by Richard Monastersky and Nick Sousanis  on the Nature site which summarises past talks and what they are debating.

I am writing this in a week when floods, rain and strong winds have devastated parts of Northern England. In Honister Pass in Cumbria 341.4 mm (13.4 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours. Floods are also affecting Chennai in India and parts of Norway.. but nobody seems to be making the link between this abnormal weather and the talks in Paris. Climate is already changing.

Click on the images below to go to the cartoon or see the Nature website.

David Tennant explains Einstein

This is a brilliant short animation explaining Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in a way that anyone can understand. Even better, it is narrated by none other than David Tennant a former Dr Who!

A short film celebrating the centennial of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.
EOIN DUFFY – Animation (http://eoinduffy.me/)
DAVID TENNANT – Narrator
WESLEY SLOVER – Sound Design
ANAIS RASSAT – Writer / Science Outreach / Communication (https://twitter.com/anaisrassat)
JAMIE LOCHHEAD – Writer / Producer

A WINDFALL FILMS production for the SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL

Light and the double slit experiment

Science is far less clear cut than you might think and I will blog more about some scientific anomalies. Homeopathy is often criticised for being ‘unscientific’ as dilutions cannot be adequately explained by current scientific models.. but there are many things such as light, radiation and microwaves that do not always behave as you might expect.

Light is extraordinary for many reasons and can act as particles or waves.. or sometimes both. The double slit experiment is quite hard to explain to non-scientists but this is a fabulous Royal Institution video with Jim Al Khalili demonstrating what it is and why it cannot really be explained.

An animated tour of the invisible with John Lloyd

This is a cartoon version of a TED talk by John Lloyd who is better known for being the creator of intellectual and excellent quiz show QI acheter du viagra avec paypal.

Gravity. The stars in day. Thoughts. The human genome. Time. Atoms. So much of what really matters in the world is impossible to see. A stunning animation of John Lloyd’s classic TEDTalk from 2009, which will make you question what you actually know.