Recently in Physics 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!
Black Holes conjure up a variety of images for people. To some, they are beautiful, celestial objects that drift through the cosmos whilst to others they are fierce, destructive forces that seek out and destroy other worlds in an attempt to satisfy an insatiable appetite. To yet others, they are imaginary; made up by astronomers to fill gaps in what we think we know. To those people that came to the December Birmingham Café Scientifique, a new understanding of Black Holes was formed, that brought together current research from a variety of fields, in an evening that was entertaining and fascinating in equal measure.
It was very interesting to read Jack Cohen's article on the demise of Archaeopteryx: in it he highlighted a worrying issue - that of the need for certainty in our society. All good science and scientists are in the business of 'changing their minds' - that is, continuously developing theories that are the best stories we can tell that offer the simplest description of the available evidence.
Spree killing is different from serial killing - it occurs when multiple people are unlawfully killed by one or more killers, within a single onslaught or attack.
Serial killing can occur over months or years, and involves repeated murders with "cooling off" periods in between.
Spree killers are usually white, mostly acting alone, and almost always male (although some females have spree-killed).
Why is this distinction important?
If psychology can help reduce spree killings, then such distinction is vital to its understanding.
To someone like me, for whom science is a way of life rather than a job, or simply a passing interest, I shouldn't have been surprised when I heard about the next generation of particle accelerators. Every month, I organise the Birmingham Café Scientifique series of events where we have an invited speaker come in for some pub based banter about their work. This month, our speaker was Dr Nigel Watson from the University of Birmingham and he has one of those great job titles: Particle Physicist. I think he was as surprised as anyone about the standing room only audience that was attracted to the event, and he talked us through the current particle accelerators as well as what the future holds whilst also discussing the subtleties of neutrinos, muons and antimatter.
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.