Seasons Greetings

Archive of our best loved seasons greetings

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ultra-low-cost, hand-powered centrifuge is inspired by whirligig toy

A human-powered centrifuge made of paper can generate centrifugal forces of 30,000 g and separate blood into its component parts in less than two minutes.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Thought for the month

“I think that the truth is a really stern taskmistress.” Carrie Fisher, actress and writer (1956 – 2016).

Friday, 30 December 2016

History improves science

Why science and engineering need to remind students of forgotten lessons from history.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Prime facts

Are you looking for the largest known primes?  Lists of records?  Information on who finds the biggest primes (and how?)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Chemical texts

Researchers send text message using chemicals, pulses of vinegar and glass cleaner replaced electric signals of 1s and 0s

Monday, 26 December 2016

Engineered spinach detects explosives

Engineering electronics into plants is a new and upcoming field of research called nanobionics.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Teacher free zone

A university without any teachers has opened in California this month.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Monday, 19 December 2016

Inducing superconductivity

Texan physicists induce superconductivity in non-superconducting materials.

Friday, 16 December 2016

What is a zeptosecond - not a lot!

A team in Germany have measured helium photoionization with zeptosecond precision.  This is the greatest accuracy of time determination ever achieved, as well as the first absolute determination of the timescale of photoionization.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Rudolf the red nose reindeer

Apparently Rudolph’s nose (and other reindeer's) is red because it is richly supplied with red blood cells, comprises a highly dense microcirculation, and is therefore anatomically and physiologically adapted for carrying out any flying duties for Mr S Claus.

Monday, 12 December 2016

New multi-junction solar cell record

A conversion efficiency of 30.2 percent for a III-V / Si multi-junction solar cell has been measured at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. The 4 cm² device was made of GaInP, GaAs and Si stacks.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Semiconductor-free microelectronics

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have fabricated the first semiconductor-free, optically-controlled microelectronic device.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Speedy suanpan

The first suanpan, calculating pan or Chinese abacus, was mentioned in second century BC scrolls and would have been in use for many years prior to this. The current Sunway Taihu Light supercomputer can perform 93 million billion calculations per second (93 petaflops) and heads the latest Top 500 list of supercomputer performance. A machine with ten times this speed is at the prototype stage.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Scared of sums?

Are physicists really afraid of mathematics to the extent of avoiding highly mathematical work? A controversial claim by Exeter academics that is attracting much debate. Previous work had indicated that biologists tended to neglect and be deterred by papers with equations. In 649 papers from three major ecology and evolution journals there were 28% fewer citations on average for each additional equation per page. Other researchers question the citation analysis but claims and counterclaims continue as to whether negative relationship between equation density and citations extend across the breadth of the sciences.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Foul play?

Whilst scientific investigations that aim to understand the natural world can undoubtedly be demanding and difficult, the last three hundred years have seen huge leaps in our knowledge. In comparison unravelling the complexities of human behaviour sometimes appears more challenging. Even so, the inability of pollsters to predict the recent intentions of voters both in the USA and UK is rather noteworthy. Post event explanations have varied from devious foul play to poor polling sampling methodology and analysis. However I think Theodosius I has a lot to answer for. As the last emperor of a united eastern and western Roman Empire he abolished haruspicy. Consequently YouGov, Gallup and others have missed out on nearly two thousand years of refining entrails analysis as a prediction tool.

Perhaps for the sake of a few chicken livers things might have been very different. Fowl play?

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.