Recently in Chemistry Category
Fusion Reactors are about 40 years away! When I first heard this, I thought it was a reasonable and uncharacteristically honest estimate of the time it will take to develop an as yet untested technology into a reliable energy source for the future. As the discussion developed though, it became apparent that this was an in-joke amongst fusion scientists - the joke being that fusion reactors have always been and will always continue to be 40 years away!
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, warned at the beginning of this week's Earth Summit in Rio, "if we really do not take firm actions [on climate change], we may be heading towards the end - the end of our future".
It shouldn't surprise us that hundreds of bigwigs and politicians from around the world cannot agree on anything. Radical change doesn't happen through consensus, it happens through a few informed very smart people deciding to do something different.
It is such a shame that biofuels have a bad name for themselves. Last week, at the monthly Birmingham Café Scientifique, we had an incredible evening with Prof Andreas Hornung from Aston University on the subject of biofuels and in particular, the technological and engineering advances that he has made, such that they are a very realistic alternative fuel of the future. What was particularly great to hear was that Aston University is very soon going to put into operation a biofuels reactor that will provide heat and power to the campus - in a significant way.
Birmingham Science Blog, in association with the New Optimists, examines the breakthroughs, discussions and theories taking place at institutions in the West Midlands. It will look at tomorrow's world and cover biology, chemistry, physics, health, medicine, astronomy, psychology and more.
The 350th anniversary day of the Royal Society was this last week, and Brum-graduate Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse (about whom I've written before) became President of the said Society. So it seems right that this blogpost should be about one of the "inspirational" New Optimists who can put the prestigious letters, FRS, after his name.
He's a chemist. Just finished his three-year stint as Head of the Chemistry Department at Warwick University in fact.
He's an inorganic chemist to be precise. So knowledgable about the hundred or so elements that make up everything in the known universe.
Like any scientist, though, he's more aware of what he doesn't know in his area of expertise than what he does. His optimism is grounded here, in what he doesn't know, and so in the excitement of discovery.
He has reason to be. His discoveries have made our world a better place.