Scientific

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Special Report: Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)

Cheryl Dyer Ballard takes a look at the incredible life of Stephen Hawking, cosmologist, scientist, and one of the most incredible minds of all time.    Trapped in a failing body, he netherless succeeded where others would have given up, producing some incredible work over  the course of the last few decades, increasing our understanding of the universe, time, space and reality.  This week, Cheryl takes a good look at the man, his career and his legacy. This week has seen one of the saddest moments in the world of science and education, with the passing of British Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Author and Director of Research at the Centre of...

Scientific News (March 2018)

Alzheimer’s researchers win top research prize Four neuroscientists have been awarded the prestigious 2018 Brain Prize, following their pioneering research on the genetic and molecular sources of Alzheimer’s Disease. The Brain Prize was awarded by The Lundbeck Foundation based in Denmark. The winners not only gain a title, they are also rewarded with a €1 million prize fund. The prize is awarded to one or a group of scientists across the globe who have proven excellence and have provided continued contributions within the field of neuroscience, and highlights great discoveries. The group of four scientists this year were Professors Bart De Strooper, Michel Goedert, John Hardy and Professor Christian Haass....

Scientific News (February 2018)

The future is too bright The technology used in space exploration has dramatically advanced in recent years, and astronomers are able to look deeper into space more than they have ever been. However, these technological advances have the potential to cause mass pollution in our skies, meaning that astronomers could be denied a clear view into space, and have limited sensitivity in terms of remote sensing, leading to inaccurate measurements. Space debris, radio interference and light have already been highlighted as major causes of pollution within our skies, and the situation is set to deteriorate over the next 20 years following the launch of a further 20,000 satellites that would...

Scientific News (January 2018)

It came from outer space Astronomers are baffled by the presence of unusual recurring radio pulses that they are receiving from space. FRB – more commonly known in the space industry at Fast Radio Bursts – are proving to be astronomers most tenacious puzzle to date. The FRBs are frequently short-lived; however, astronomers have found a source of repeated flashes. It is believed that the unusual events have been caused by a dead star that possesses an extraordinarily strong magnetic field. Archives have shown that the first FRB was recorded in 2007 from the Parkes Radio Telescope based in Australia during their search for new examples of magnetised neutron stars,...

Scientific News (December 2017)

Well and truly rooked An AI program, has successfully taught itself the game of Chess, and within hours has triumphantly won against a world-leading professional chess program. The AlphaZero program, went up against specially designed software Stockfish 8, triumphantly dispatching its competitor with wins or final draws after 100 games according to Google’s, DeepMind Division. AlphaZero successfully won 25 games, playing the white pieces on the board and having the first move, 3 games were played using the black pieces of the board. A further 72 games ended with ties. Each computer program was given a minute for thinking time each move. Deepmind has continually proven successful, and has come up against some...

Scientific News (November 2017)

Measuring up The measurement systems that we take for granted are about to receive a long overdue overhaul. The original metric system was first created in France following the French Revolution in 1789. When first introduced, it had only two standard units, these being the kilogram and the metre. It was during the 1860’s that James Clerk Maxwell and William Thomson (also known as Lord Kelvin) developed a new system with three base units – known as length, mass and time. Scientific experiments involving electricity and magnetism led to the realisation that other units of measurement were required and needed to be introduced, as many confusing versions of the metric system...

Scientific News (October 2017)

It’s an ill wind A satellite, belonging to NASA has been providing fresh information involving carbon dioxide (CO2) and the way it moves through the atmosphere.  The satellite, known as the “Orbiting Carbon Observatory” (OCO) has been providing scientists with new insights into – and the behavioural movements of – CO2 throughout 2015/2016, during a time when Earth experienced an El Nîno event. This is when the Trade Winds weaken in the Central and Western areas of the Pacific.  The surface water temperatures in South America warm up, due to less cold water welling up from below to cool the surface. The clouds and rainstorms associated with warm ocean waters then move towards...

Scientific News (September 2017)

A salt and battery Non-explosive batteries have recently been developed by scientists. These Lithium-ion batteries provides an adequate power supply to use in your everyday household electronic devices. Researchers carried out a number of physical and destructive tests, however, no explosion or ignition was produced.  Their findings were published in the academic journal Joule at the beginning of September. The batteries have been developed using a saline solution as the electrolyte. This has removed any risk of explosion that some non-aqueous models are prone to.  Until recently, if you required a high energy battery, your first choice would be a non-aqueous lithium-ion battery, which could overheat and in some instances catch fire. For...

Scientific News (August 2017)

Eclipse Americans are in for a treat on August 21st, when the USA falls under the direct path of a total solar eclipse. Skies will darken across a 70 mile wide stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, and multitudes of onlookers will travel hundreds of miles in order to witness the unforgettable, jaw dropping ‘path of totality’ experience. Every 18 months, both the sun and moon complete their journey through space, the moon orbiting on average 239,000 miles from the Earth. Both the moon and sun’s paths line up against each other, forming the solar eclipse. Onlookers will watch the moon block the last of light from the sun. Once this has...

Scientific News (July 2017)

Unclear Industry A clause within Article 50 has been under put under the spotlight by members of parliament with concerns relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Atomic Energy Community – more commonly known as Euratom – following the decision to leave the EU. In the run up to Article 50, little was discussed surrounding the hidden clause and some MPs are preparing themselves for a fight on the subject with arguments for and against leaving Euratom. Regulating the nuclear industry throughout Europe, Euratom was set up in 1957 alongside the European Economic Community (EEC). Euratom ensures that nuclear materials are responsibly transported throughout the EU and the wider...