Tag Archives: Science

Today: #scienceisvital

4 Oct

A recent protest silently growing in support, titled: Science is Vital, it aims to curb spending cuts in the scientific community by showing the government how science is VITAL.

I posted a blog a few weeks ago (Today: I’m a Grown up Scientist) hopefully it illustrated my dissapointment in the government for not seeing how cruicial science is.

I must admit i didn’t ever think that I could sign a petition, for any cause, I’m not entirely sure why but i think it has something to do with them not really having much impact. Now however I can tell why people sign it. It show passion, it shows enthusiasm, it shows that people care and most of all, It shows how vital science truely is.

I’m signing it. You should do it too here

So to the cut-myster. If you want to dissapoint all these people, these respected scientists, these budding young scientists, these enthusiasts and these researchers – GO AHEAD. I sure won’t stick around the UK to try any more further education as what’s the point? You’re getting rid of all the science jobs that attracted me to do a science degree in the first place.

I give you the finger, I take my Passport, I leave. Tarra!

Today: Good Gravity!

17 Sep

Gravity, one of the most taken for granted aspects of Physics, everybody uses it, most don’t realise they do, some find it something to overcome, few ignore it.

So it’s pretty important then.

A challenge I got set when i was in 6th form was to show Newton’s Law of Gravitation:

F(g) = GMm/r^2

One thing that bugged me then – and was one of the reasons I initially couldn’t do it, was the fact you need TWO bodies to solve the problem.

Solving Gravity as a two body problem – Easy

Solving Gravity as a single body problem – Near Impossible, you could say that F=ma (where a = g) is a simplified equation explaining Gravity as a single body problem. However this equations explains the motion of a body in ANOTHER’s gravitational field.

Getting a bit more pedantic, you could even say that solving a single body program is never that – single body – going to smaller and smaller dimensions, even an atom, is made up of smaller ‘masses’. Although the electrostatic force is more dominent (or even forces within the nucleus).

So is there a single body problem? For any type of Force?

– Electric Charges move in magnetic & electric fields; but not their own. They move in another charges field, but also create their own.

This is the same for Gravity, Push and Pull forces – everything.

So what happens to a single proton in the vastness of space?

I’m not sure yet myself. But let’s put a point(less) mass there to have a look……

Today: The Education of Science.

10 Sep

Sitting at second tea break, normally i am there dead on time. Leaving before the mass of academics converge on the tea room, indulging in in depth conversations. Usually involving Cricket, Where they have been on holiday and Golf.

Today however i was late due to reasons beyond my control (I lie. i just forgot the time) so i was surrounded by these people, all alot cleverer than i could every really be, all having about 4 conversations at once.

One conversation caught my attention however, one being held between 2 professors all about the correlation between A-level results and degree outcomes.

I’m always a little defensive when it comes to A-level’s, having not done very well (CDD) I had to do a preliminary year to guarentee myself a position at Cardiff University, doing alot better than what i had acheived in my A-levels.

However they turned not on the students in this case, but on the teaching standards that you receive. I was relieved and intrigued to hear what they were saying about how teachers make things seem too easy for the pupils. Effectively enabling them to fail when they don’t put effort in (for those of us lacking that genius gene), or denying those who are super genius’ from the challenge they deserve.

It took me back to ALL of my A-levels and how they were taught.

I went to Waingels Copse School in Woodley, Reading (Now called Waingels College…), for A-level i did Physics, Maths and Chemistry. Pretty much the hardest lot you could do, I was only ever really good and had fun in my science classes so it was an easy choice for me going into year 12 (where i also took Geography… I am still not sure why).

At the end of year 12, I had an E in physics, 2 marks INTO an E,  and D’s in everything else. I chose to drop Geography, and re-sat my As Physics and A-level Physice all in 1 year, bumping my final grade up to a C. The problem my school hit with this? My head teacher didn’t want to grant my head of physics permission to hire another physics teacher (there were 2 dedicated and one complete idiot who admitted that he hated teaching Physics). So he left… Half way through my final year. Causing my favourite Physics teacher Mr Jon Clarke to have to cover The department heads classes, and teach an A-level class. Needless to say the A2 class had dropped a lesson a week, and the As had the same. Leaving me 2 lessons down, and wanting to study Physics at Uni. Panic E-mail to the admission tutor cleared that issue up. Thankfully.

Next Issue came when January results came out. The people who took double maths (top set GCSE sat the full A-level in a year after doing their GCSE a year early) pretty much failed and dropped down into my class. So my class went from having 5 people in, to 25. It became a revision lecture for them, and i failed to get taught pretty much anything, no matter how much i asked, how much i complained to the teacher. It was not the students who dropped down to my classes fault, but my teacher for failing those of use who needed to be taught in the first place.

Chemistry was a bundle of laughs. Nothing went really wrong, just nothing went really right either. The teachers made us  try and see chemistry as an easy thing. So apart from my full marks in my practical examination, I learnt nothing.

It’s good to see that the lecturers see that A-level results are a result of teaching practices and not a students bone idle-ness when it comes to university. I tried very hard at my A-levels. In the end my hard work has paid off and i am currently averaging a 2:1, I have been taught well!

On a side note: If anybody reading this knows Mr Jon Clarke, or at least where he is, I would really like toget back in contact with him, as thankfully he has left Waingels and moved on. I want to thank him for keeping everything real. Being honest with me about my results, and to show him how far i have come. I did Physics and Astronomy because of his inspiration, I think shaking his hand is necessary.

Today: Seriously?

9 Sep

On twitter I follow alot of erm… random things.

Rugby, IOP,  lecturers, F1 stuff as well as friends. Yesterday one of them posted a link to This Telegraph article, a response to Stephen Hawkings’ declaration that there is no God, because he says so.

Although i thought his statement to be about a completely unproven theory and as arrogant and self absorbed as his personality dictates, the response by Baroness Greenfield was even more ‘out there’ than his original statement.

What bothered me most about his statement of there being evidence that there was no God and that science had proven the start of the universe through m-theory (a derivation/combination of different string theories) is that in simple terms, it hasn’t.

The fact that m-theory is a THEORY defines itself as ‘yet to have experimental proof’ which makes his statement – i feel – sickening. Giving science a bad name in an economic climate where science really isn’t regarded as high as it should be. (Thanks for the cuts Vince Cabel). He (SH) has put across that all scientists are either arrogant know-it-alls, OR they just aren’t as clever as he is and hence should have no input in….well….life.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a genius and even though i have little respect for him, i do have respect for what he did in his early research life.

However whatever bad press he has given science in the past 2 weeks, nothing can really compare to this quote in before mentioned article:

“Asked whether she was uncomfortable about scientists making comments about God, she said: “Yes I am. Of course they can make whatever comments they like but when they assume, rather in a Taliban-like way, that they have all the answers then I do feel uncomfortable. I think that doesn’t necessarily do science a service.”

I do think this happily shows her ignorance to the world around her. Don’t you think?

Having recently lost her job (and is now suing them for sexual discrimination…. and wants her job back) it makes you wonder whether this is just her gagging for some press.

Hang on…. Doesn’t Stephen Hawking have a new book out?…..