At the end of March, the international scientific journal Nature published a paper announcing the discovery of a new dwarf planet in the outer reaches of our Solar System. This made a lot of people very excited. It also made a lot of astronomers very confused.
It’s our birthday: Physics Focus first began publishing a year ago today. Since then, we’ve run 78 articles from 27 different writers, and attracted more than 500 comments from readers. We’ve covered everything from supernovae to storytelling, and from nuclear to nonsense. Here are some of the highlights from our first 12 months.
This post has been simmering and in gestation for quite a while. This week, however, a number of documents arrived in my inbox to finally catalyse me into putting pen to paper. (Literally. I wrote this out long-hand before editing while typing it up. If you think that it’s vitriolic and ranty now, you should […]
Graphene hit the headlines a decade ago with its remarkable properties and single-atom thickness. But can we turn hyperbole over the “wonder material” into exponential economic growth?
Barely a day goes by without hearing claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut carbon emissions, and treat disease. Some of these claims will be based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. But many are not.
We all know that the ideal experiment consists of drawing up a hypothesis and then testing it to see if your hypothesis stands up. If the experiment is well designed you will get a clear answer, ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and if it’s a ‘no’ it’s a case of going back to the drawing board. If […]
The other night I attended a talk in Cambridge given by the local Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert. The talk was entitled ‘Science in Politics’, and so, being a scientist who wants to see more of them in politics, I was greatly looking forward to it. After all, how often do we get to hear […]
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assert that equality of opportunity is a good thing. Gone are the bad old days when jobs and privileges were determined at birth. No longer do you have to be an aristocrat or wealthy land-owner to study science: Michael Faraday broke that mould. Nor is […]
When I inherited a module from a colleague, I also inherited its title. And it was its title, I believe, that led to complaints and objections, rather than the actual content.
I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have a sense of musicality. We have an innate sensitivity to rhythm, melody and beauty. Sometimes, the right combination of beats and notes seems just perfect and our heart resonates in tune with the music. We snap, tap, clap to music. Wouldn’t it be nice if a […]