Thought for the month

“When love and skill work together , expect a masterpiece.” John Ruskin, writer and critic (1819 – 1900).

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Dylan gets into science

Scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles as part of long-running bet

Monday, 28 November 2016

Speedy cycle

In September 2015, Aerovelo's Eta Speedbike set a new world record in human powered speed by going 139.45 km/hr (86.65 mph).

Friday, 25 November 2016

Decrease entropy?

Argonne researchers posit way to locally circumvent Second Law of Thermodynamics where entropy always increases.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Terahertz deflector

Work by UCLA-led engineers could dramatically improve imaging, sensing and communication applications

Monday, 21 November 2016

Slippery slope

Why being dishonest is a slippery slope

Friday, 18 November 2016

Walking on water

"Elegant Shadow Making Tiny Force Visible for Water-Walking Arthropods and Updated Archimedes' Principle" Langmuir

Monday, 14 November 2016

Bendable electronic paper displays whole colour range

Electronic paper from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden

Who needs a watch?

The latest figures on smartwatch shipments show a dramatic decline in 2016. Analyst house IDC report a 51.6 per cent drop in sales, with just 2.7 million wrist-mounted computers shipped in the third quarter, compared to 5.6 million over the same period last year.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Aixtron to stay German?

The German government has withdrawn its previously given approval for a Chinese takeover of semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron, throwing up an unexpected hurdle in the US$728 million deal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Teensy transistor

A research team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has created the smallest transistor to date. The device has a molybdenum disulphide channel with a one nanometre carbon nanotube gate.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Why less praise for women?

An analysis of 1,224 recommendation letters for postdoctoral fellowships in geosciences revealed that female applicants are only half as likely to receive ‘excellent’ letters versus ‘good’ letters compared to male applicants. However, there was no evidence that male and female recommenders differ in their likelihood to write stronger letters for male applicants over female applicants. The full paper is published in Nature Geoscience and can be accessed via this physicsworld link.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Is science doomed?

Could it be damaging to equate the success of science and scientists to metrics such as the number of papers published, how many times those papers have been cited and whether the journals the papers are published in are high-impact? An interesting attempt to simulate the scientific ‘ecosystem’ along the lines of natural selection has been published. It argues that certain quantitative metrics used to measure performance could lead to unethical behaviours and loss of public trust in science.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Blowing in the wind?

Bob Dylan may, or may not, be somewhat ambivalent, but awarding him the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature has certainly produced much media comment. The award is for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition. There is no Nobel Prize in Mathematics. Alfred Nobel’s will is very clear regarding the areas to be honoured. However mathematics appears to me to be a fundamental element in advancing physics, for example using topology, and perhaps in other areas including chemistry and economics. Like Mr Dylan, it allows for the creation of new expressions and concepts, but this time within traditional science. Is it time for the Nobel Committee to review the award categories?

Just an idea blowing in the wind but perhaps these times need to be a changing?

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Thought for the month - November 2016

“Never mistake activity for achievement.” John Wooden, US basketball player and coach (1910 – 2010).

Monday, 31 October 2016

Warning: This is a prank

Secret hack to get headphone jack on the iPhone 7

Friday, 28 October 2016

A little byte music

Restoring world's first recorded computer music

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Biased thinking?

20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Going dotty?

Now you see them, now you don’t - Here's why you can't see all twelve black dots in this optical illusion.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Staying small

≤200mm semiconductor manufacturing is here to stay

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Sweat test

A flexible wearable sensor that can accurately measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat

Monday, 17 October 2016

Expensive (old) apple

'First Apple computer' sells for $815,000

Friday, 14 October 2016

Chargers to get bigger in consumer electronics

Gallium nitride power ICs may find a niche in charging technologies with a recent report suggesting that consumer electronics chargers could comprise 30% of the GaN market in 2022.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The World’s largest database of crystal surfaces and shapes

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego, have created the world’s largest database of elemental crystal surfaces and shapes. The open source database called Crysatlium can be accessed online.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Single crystal measures radioactivity

A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to detect gamma radiation offering a new route to low cost radiation detectors. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Don’t call me, I won’t call you

I assume that social and behavioural scientists will write volumes in the years to come about the effects of smartphones on society and relationships. The recent Deloitte's sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey looked at the mobile phone habits of more than 4,000 UK consumers. Amongst its highlights being that one in three adults argue with their partner about using their mobile phone too much; about a tenth use their handsets ‘always’ or ‘very often’ while eating at home or in restaurants and a third while with friends or watching television. Interestingly, 31% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week. This figure was just 4% in 2012.