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Issue 1 February 2017




Alonso de Salazar Frias‘s Deed


Extraordinary Love


Author: Krasimir Ivanchev

Author: Chavdar Chernikov

Galaxies – islands of matter and mystery

Author: Dr. Luba Slavcheva-Mihova | Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory, BAS



Vitanov’s White Chronicles


The First Planetarium in Sofia opened in Muzeiko


Coin type “M” follies equal to 40 nummi of Justinian I


Richard Dawkins on Poetry of Science and Beauty of the Facts


Comparison between the series and the true Vikings


Authors: Nikolay K. Vitanov | Institute of Mechanics – BAS Kaloyan N. Vitanov | Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics – SU “St. Kliment Ohridski”

Author: Kamen Kolev

Author: Kristina Stefanova

Author: Magdeliya Shugova


Peter Teodosiev

Editorial Board mEmBErs: Prof. Nikolay Vitanov Prof. Radi Romanski Habil. Plamen Fiziev Assoc. Prof. Ilia Penev Assoc. Prof. Valeri Golev Assoc. Prof. Milen Bogdanov Assoc. Prof. Peter Goliyski Assoc. Prof. Sevdalina Turmanova PhD Vladimir Bozhilov PhD Mariana Stamova PhD Velislava Shurolinkova PhD Vassilena Krasteva PhD Pavlina Ivanova PhD Nora Goleshevska PhD Chavdar CHernikova Nedelin Boyadzhiev Radoslav Todorov Krasimir Ivanchev Rositsa Tashkova


Prof. Nikolay Vitanov Assoc. Prof. Peter Goliyski Dr. Vladimir Bozhilov Dr. Velislava Shurolinkova PhD Tonev Dr. Chavdar CHernikova Dr Hristo Lozanov DM. Dimitra Lefterova Nedelin Boyadzhiev Radoslav Todorov Krasimir Ivanchev Marko Ivanov Vladimir Popov K. Gerbov


PhotograPhEr: Blagoi Anev


Blagoi Anev


Aruna PR Advisory

FONTS: Fontfabric PHOTOS: Public domains


Alonso de Salazar Frias‘s Deed Author: Krasimir Ivanchev


ne of the most saturated with drama and undeservedly forgotten moments in European history happened in Spain in the early 17th century. It largely changed both the minds of anyone who is aware of the witch hunt and the medieval Inquisition, and brought back faith in the invincible power of human reason. Contrary to the popular belief (in history there often is “accumulation of clichés” that can obscure the essence of the processes - this, together with other factors has lately given rise to the unpleasant process of unbridled revision of history), famous campaigns and cases of witch hunt in the Middle Ages and in later periods, are far not as unambiguous, as we are used to think about them. There are atrocities in the Inquisition, but few people know that in most cases the confession and repentance of a “witch” led to remission of her sins and to her release. Less well known is the fact that the court of the Inquisition was in many cases secret and many of the accused have been able to live in the society again without the community being aware of the charges against them. On the other hand, it is clear that cases of fanatical destruction of people accused of witchcraft and heresy are not uncommon, especially in times when fanaticism and mass psychosis were much more easily generated phenomena than today (at least, this is the belief from the stand point of today’s society of information and civility). In the early 17th century in Spain, a drama in which the main role belongs to one of the brightest and unfortunately not so famous figures in European history, was playing out. In the Basque country, near the French border a 20-year-old maid who told women at the market that she was a witch and that she knew some witch practices, appeared. In fact, she really was accused by the Inquisition in 4 EUROPEAN SCIENCE

such things and had been previously absolved after her confession and remorse. But, old habits die hard, and her stories began again. What were the

motives of the young woman to boast so much, remains to be clarified by psychology, but it is clear that the rumor spread like an avalanche and the

alonso de salazar Frias‘s deed


February 2017


Extraordinary Love the peculiarities of love Author: Chavdar Chernikov


hen we talk about wildlife, inevitably we think about the diversity of shapes and colours, and also the behaviour of animals. Undoubtedly the most important behaviour is that associated with reproduction. I would like to invite you on a journey through the animal world, where we will see really unique things, we may even find a piece of ourselves. Thousands of volumes have been written on this subject, so we will “travel” through stranger and more unfamiliar places. Thousands of mating rituals have occurred in the process of evolution, some of them are so strange for us humans so it would be difficult for us to understand them. One of the most interesting examples of mating behaviour occurs in the bristle worm (Polychaeta). Most members of this class, which consists of more than 10,000 species are marine inhabitants. A small part of them inhabit brackish or fresh waters, but only a few are terrestrial species. Some species especially the families and Eunicidae and Syllidae (marine inhabitants) have an unusual “habit” of detaching parts of the bodies which contain gametes. These detached parts move independently in the water and thus happens the meeting between male and female gametes, and reproduction occurs. The Samoan palolo worm (Eunice viridis) is an especially suitable example, and can be found in huge quantities through cracks in the coral reefs in the archipelagos of Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific. Before the breeding season on the back end of the worms grow new appendages that are longer than the body of the worm. In these appendages all organs are re8 EUROPEAN SCIENCE

generated except sexual ones. In some worms the appendages are filled with eggs and other male gametes. After the appendages “mature” the Palolo begin to wait for a very specific time - 2 or 3 days after the third quarter Moon (8 days before the full moon) in late October and early November. On the given day when the evening comes the first of the male and female detached appendages start to appear. By nightfall their number has increased drastically and the water surface literally seethes - the appendages perform independent active movements. This time is expected also by the locals, for whom the appendages are a great delicacy. They gather the appendages, which are in huge quantities, with all sorts of tools by simply raking the out from the surface of the water. The appendages themselves thanks to their jumpy movements, burst open, and the eggs and male gametes meet. That is how fertilization occurs. Millions of fertilized cells spread through sea water and turn into the swimming larvae of the Palolo worm. During the day the release of appendages is suspended. This whole love affair and celebration for locals lasts three nights. Soon after the adult worms die. A similar is the behaviour of the Atlantic Palolo (Eunice fucata), but it releases its appendages 2 or 3 days before the third quarter of the moon. The Syllidae family is one evolutionary step ahead. In some members of this family on the detached appendages grow new heads, so the surface of the water is reached by new animals born asexually, they in turn reproduce sexually using the male and female gametes that are in them. This type of reproduction is called schizogamic epitoky. So the Syllidae family alternate their generations between asexual and sexual.

Schizogamy in a member of Syllidae family - Autolytus prolifer. O.F. MÜLLER, 1788. Public Domain.

Several other species of the genus Odontosyllis who also belong to the

Extraordinary Заглавие love

Galaxies – islands of matter and mystery Author: Dr. Luba Slavcheva-Mihova | Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory, BAS


February 2017

SPACE in the center of active galaxies is the feature distinguishing them from “normal” galaxies, proved unfounded. New questions rise on the agenda: what makes a galaxy active and what mechanisms carry gas to the active core, where it would serve as fuel.

Quasar PKS 2349 - testimony to the merger with companion galaxy. /Fig. 22/ Photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

of galaxies with comparable masses was observed (Fig. 22). One approach to the study of the mechanisms of feeding the nuclear activity is the study of galaxies with identical parameters, differing only in the activity of their nuclei. Mrk 766 and UGC 6520 are examples of galaxies - “doubles” the first is active, and the second with a calm core. The aim was to examine which of them has more prominent mechanisms of supply of nuclear activity. Once again, the intuitive expectations were that this would be the active galaxy. It turned out that both have a bar, and, surprisingly, in the active galaxy it is weaker. Even more unexpected, only the “normal” galaxy has a satellite. These results are representative of the Seyfert galaxies. In their case, there was no greater prevalence of bars or interactions with other galaxies, compared to “normal”

Fig. 22

The mechanisms that can feed the kernel must be able to bring gas in its reach. Numerical simulations show that the galactic bar and interactions with other galaxies are able to raise the necessary gas flows for the nuclear fields. In order for them to reach the central source additional mechanisms in the nuclear field are needed.

it appeared just 770 million years after the Big Bang (Fig. 25). Our little lesson is that intuition which is so valuable in our daily lives, is not synonymous to professionalism in science, but rather – to bias.

ULAS J1120 + 0641 - the farthest (so far) quasar (fenced) about 12.9 billion lightyears away toward the constellation Leo. Joint image of Liverpool Telescope and the UK Infrared Telescope /Fig. 25/ April 22, 1995 we are back in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington. 75 years after the Great Debate. The debate this time is for the distances to the sources of gamma bursts. Better known as the “Diamond Jubilee of the Great Debate.” Donald Lamb argued that the sources of gamma bursts populate the galactic halo, and Bodhan Paczynski considered that they are at cosmological distances. Who is right? This is not the most important part. Sooner or later the distances to them would have been measured. And, indeed, the mystery is permitted only three years later. How many scientists, however, dared to bet their name, speculating before the unequivocal facts have come to light? They are worthy participants in the great debates. There is one more mystery. What will the debate in April 2070 focus on??

Mrk 766 /Fig. 23/ Fig. 24

galaxies. What is the explanation? In mergers of galaxies with comparable masses gas flows sufficient to ensure the high luminosity of quasars may arise. In low-luminosity active galaxies the amounts of gas necessary for accretion are available in the central areas, or at least this is where mechanisms, weaker than the studied, can transport them to. Therefore, Seyfert galaxies do not have more bars or satellites. Fig. 25 Fig. 23

UGC 6520 /Fig. 24/ In the past decades, many studies have looked for a link between these mechanisms and the activity. Correlation between quasars and the mergers 20 EUROPEAN SCIENCE

Active galactic nuclei are the most powerful long term sources of energy in the universe. The farthest observed active galactic nucleus until today is quasar with redshift above 7 (although this is not the most distant object observed in the universe). It is seen as

galaxies - islands of matter andЗаглавие mystery

Vitanov’s White Chronicles Dr. Luba Slavcheva-Mihova Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory, BAS

Chronicle 4: alexander von humboldt Authors: Nikolay K. Vitanov | Institute of Mechanics – BAS

Kaloyan N. Vitanov | Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics – SU “St. Kliment Ohridski”


February 2017

In Mexico, Humboldt studied the natural conditions, ores, precious metals, but also volcanoes (reminding us of his education in geology) – as Popocatepetl and the nearby 200 m lower Iztaccíhuatl located in Mexico.

Malmaison and who, through Empress Josephine, could influence Napoleon’s decisions in regards to the purchases of rare plants for the gardens. The purchases were expensive and Napoleon grumbled, but Josephine was persistent and got what she wanted.

in Prussia his old friend Hardenberg, now chancellor of Prussia, offered him the post of ambassador in Paris. Humboldt refused and undertook the organization of German science instead, and used his fame to put the scientific community to a proper po-

Humboldt found that the composition of the mountain rocks was the same as in Europe. Together with Bonpland he continued collecting plants. Humboldt also conducted one of the first surveys of New Spain, while his studies of the atmosphere, magnetic phenomena and his astronomic observations in the New World, gradually connected the New and the Old World, into a coherent whole. Humboldt return triumphantly to the Old World in 1804. He was welcomed warmly in Paris, maybe even too warmly. Napoleon was not happy that the city was celebrating the German scientist, instead of his own persona. He even thought of extraditing Humboldt from France.

Fig. 18. Napoleon. Public Domain

Fouche, the wise head of the ministry of internal affairs, stopped Napoleon from performing this act, by suggesting that if the emperor expelled Humboldt, he would only admit that the German is more popular with his people than him. Napoleon equally disliked Bonpland, who was appointed as superintendent over the gardens at 27 LEARN MORE

Fig. 19. Humboldt and Bonpland at the Orinoco Expedition

Bonpland suffered from this situation. Napoleon also considered Humboldt for a Prussian spy. Humboldt started publishing the voluminous narrative of his trips in Paris. This caused unrest with Prussian scientists, who found this as an anti-patriotic act from Humboldt. Nevertheless, the Prussian king recognized Humboldt’s achievements and gave him the title of royal chamberlain, which gave him access to the king at almost any time of the day. There was a material factor to the award – the person in this position received an annual remuneration, but Humboldt was bored in Berlin and preferred to live in Paris. Apart from this, he wanted to travel to Russia. This wish was once again made impossible because of Napoleon’s attack on Russia. Humboldt stayed in Paris. The headquarters of the armies of the monarch-allies against Napoleon, where Alexander’s brother was, did not approve of his staying in Paris. However, when the Prussian king arrived in Paris on 31 march 1814, he asked Alexander von Humboldt to show him the sights of the French capital and later invited him to join him in his visit in England. Humboldt was received well in England. He was elected to the Royal Society in place of the deceased Henry Cavendish. Around the same time,

sition in the Prussian society. It is not a coincidence that Humboldt is very revered in German science, and a very famous foundation is named after him. Humboldt took particular care in Berlin University, the foundation of which was his brother work. There he tried to attract Gauss and discovered the talent of the young chemist Justus Liebig. Gradually, the university began to gain momentum, especially after 1818, when Hegel himself lectured there. Humboldt was unpopular with the conservative part of the aristocracy. They feared that after his brother became ambassador in London, Humboldt would quickly progress to the level of minister of culture. Humboldt, however, was not tempted by government posts. Instead, he began to read public lectures on science in language, accessible to broad layers of the society. In these lectures Humboldt explained the structure of the world and acquainted the audience with the history of the development of scientific views. When asked why deal with such things, he said, “With knowledge comes reflection.” Humboldt’s dream of visiting Russia had not extinguished. In 1827 the Russian Ministry of Finance asked Humboldt whether it was worth minting platinum coins. Humboldt replied that it was not worth doing so because February 2017

The First Planetarium in Sofia opened in Muzeiko


Coin type “M” follies equal to 40 nummi of Justinian I Author: Kamen Kolev


his is one of the types of early Byzantine coins that are most often found on the territory of Bulgaria. The coin type itself was introduced by Emperor Anastasius I (491-518), after his coinage reform of 498, its main aim was to replace the small in size bronze nummi and to issue several types, different denomination coins in their place to ease trade for smaller farms and ordinary people who used mostly bronze, low nominal coins. Thus he introduced several par values which persisted for a long time in the coin market in Byzantium – around two centuries during which the design of the coins did not change much. These types bear the following markings: a large M for 40 nummi (from Latin, n.a.) or follies, a large K for 20 nummi or half follies, a large I for decanummi or 10 nummi, and a large E for 5 nummi. Innovation is indigenous to the Alexandria Mint, and in turn, it brought, for relief or complication of its citizens’ lives, a few more par values of 3, 6 and 12 nummi with corresponding cuts. These coin types of the Alexandria Mint are relatively rare in Bulgaria, so we will skip their description here. After Anastasius introduced the relatively simple appearance of these new follies, Justin further refined the way they would look in the following 100-200 years. He added the inscription of the mint, the office (the number of the mint in the city mint) and the year of reign of the Emperor. This gave the coins their full and complete appearance. A great part of the coins of Anastasius and Justin can be found in Bulgaria, but the ones that are found most commonly are the coins of Justinian I (527-565). This is mainly due to his prolonged 40 year reign of the empire, and his various activities leading to Byzantium experiencing a long-awaited upturn, called by many researchers “Golden Age of the Empire.” Byzantium had not been in such rise since the beginning of its existence as Eastern Empire, Justinian sought to fix and renew all fortresses in the empire, protect the borders, to raise the cultural level, and a number of other improvements. During his reign much of Bulgaria was still in the territory of Byzantium, so the flourish of the empire was felt in its lands as well. Very old and largely abandoned castles were restored and life in them and some smaller cities began anew. Therefore it is not strange that his coins were among the most popular for this period in the Bulgarian lands. But let’s take a look in a specific coin type. Obverse: D.N. IVSTINIANVS PP. AVG (or similar) Bust in full face with a helmet and armor, holding an orbit, with or without shield, cross on the right. Reverse: Large M between A / N / N / O and numbers representing the year of reign, sometimes with or without balls above and below, a cross on top, a possible monogram with p above the cross, official letter under the features of the M, under the cut – an inscription of the mint.


Here of course there are incredibly many variations of years subject to a certain Mint, official letters (officio) typical for certain years and mints. Not a few times has it been the case that the legend inscription on the obverse of a coin was wrong, incomplete or inaccurate, but the coin was still considered as regular. The circulation of these coins was huge, new years tied to specific mints or certain offices are constantly discovered. There is also a large diversity in the images of Justinian on the coins, sometimes lacking standard elements and other times with additional elements. All these features make this type of coins extremely varied and constantly evolving. At the time of Justinian Byzantium has one of the largest and perhaps the greatest numbers of mints throughout its history. There are some that

are typical only for the period of his reign, or shortly thereafter, and then cease operations. During his time new mints opened, such as Carthage in 534 AD, Rome and Ravenna in 540, Cartagena in Spain, Constantine in Numidia and many more. During his reign, about 20 mints were active, some of them with more than 4 offices. Now let us focus on the manner of reading a particular coin, so that each reader could independently determine a coin that may be in their possession. The big M, as already mentioned, is the sign of the coin value, in this case it is 40 nummi. The letter may be different for the coins with smaller diameter and nominal value. Large K stands for 20 nummi or half follies, large I for decanummi or 10 nummi,

Coin type “m” follies equal to 40 nummi of Justinian Заглавиеi


Richard Dawkins on Poetry of Science and Beauty of the Facts Author: Kristina Stefanova

“My approach is not placing the emphasis on the practical application of science, I insist on poetry of science.” Richard Dawkins Poetry and science in one sentence sounds strange, maybe even too strange, but so is the Universe “stranger than we can imagine.” The world-renowned microbiologist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins visited Bulgaria for the first time, he was among the speakers at this year’s V edition of Sofia Science Festival, within the limits of which he delivered the lecture “Queerer than we can suppose.” One of the most amazing and strange things in our world is the very origin of life. Here’s how in his book “The Selfish Gene” Richard Dawkins explains this phenomenon: “At some point a particularly remarkable 36 EUROPEAN SCIENCE

molecule was formed by accident. We will call it the Replicator. It may not necessarily have been the biggest or the most complex molecule around, but it had the extraordinary property of being able to create copies of itself. This may seem a very unlikely sort of accident to happen. So it was. It was exceedingly improbable.” Maybe it did not happen exactly like that, the question of the origin of life has not been replied yet, this is actually one of the biggest problems that microbiologists have to deal with. However, combining molecules that at the dawn of the universe could have constructed only rocks in such a way that it appears all the huge variety of species and lead to the human species is so inspiring that could be described in a sci-fi novel. If we lived before 1859 even evolution would seem to be strange because

Charles Darwin would not have written his “On the Origin of Species” yet. Thanks to his theory today scientists like Richard Dawkins continue to explore it and even view it in two revolutionary perspectives: from the perspective of the gene, and from the perspective of the individual. Dawkins’ theory about the selfishness of the gene is undoubtedly dramatic-poetic. His theory explores the biology of selfishness and altruism and argues that genes are “selfish” in the sense of programmed them striving to preserve. People are unique species, only we have developed noticeably outer-intuitive altruistic behavior, despite the selfishness of our genes. We are able to put others’ interests before our own, we are the only species that deliberately takes care of protecting the Earth from environmental disas-

richard dawkins on Poetry of science and Beauty of Заглавие the Facts


Comparison between the series and the true Vikings Author: Magdeliya Shugova


he creator of the series “Vikings” on the History channel underlines that he does not claim that everything in the series is historically accurate. However, it is a series designed for the general public and to this end have been made many changes, so the show is more popular. Despite this arrangement many people accept everything in the series as an absolute truth. Let’s look at how they represented the Vikings and historical events until the end of season 3 and to compare them with what we known from literary sources and archaeological finds.

The historical figures in “Vikings”. Who is Ragnar Lodbrok?

Ragnar is based on a character from the Old Norse history and mythology. The Icelandic sagas speak of his life, and his name is mentioned briefly in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. It seems that this character incorporates several people. He is presented as a great fighter, and a Viking leader who defeated France and today’s Britain before he met his death in the face of King Ella of Northumbria. One of the prototypes for Ragnar’s character is a Viking who attacked France and the kingdoms of modern England in the mid-ninth century. The Irish annals call him Reghnall. He attacked Paris and died in what is now England. The Norse Sagas mention Ragnar, who was a real scourge for France at the time. It’s most likely the same person. France became a favourite target for Ragnar. He used coordinated military forces in battles with the enemy. The mobility of the Vikings took advantage over the Franks. The Viking era began in 793 A.D. and 38 EUROPEAN SCIENCE

Ragnar’s attacks against France in 845 A.D. The Vikings looted Paris and forced King Charles the Bald of France to pay them over 3000 kg. silver to withdraw their forces from the city. Ragnar probably died in 865 A.D. His ship was wrecked in the coast of Northumbria and he was captured by King Ella. The King threw him into a pit of vipers and the renowned Viking leader met his death. According to some versions Ella King was killed in battle, and according the ninth book of The History of the Danes - Siward and Bjorn made him the so called Blood Eagle (victim’s ribs are separated from the spine and positioned so that the shape and location resemble wings, after that the lungs are removed.) According to the Tale of Ragnar the ritual is ordered and directed by another of Ragnar’s sons - Ivar, who commands the best man in whittling wood to perform the ritual.

The women and children of Ragnar

According to the legends Ragnar was married 3 times. His first wife was Lagertha. The history of Lagertha was recorded in the 12th century by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in the ninth book in The History of the Danes. It is said there that in the battle in which Ragnar took revenge on Froy (Frø) for the death of his grandfather, a lot of the women who Froy tormented changed in men’s clothes and fought alongside Ragnar. The primary among them was Lagertha, she played a key role in Ragnar’s victory. Ragnar was impressed by her courage and started courting her. When he went to ask for her hand, he was attacked by a bear and a large hound which Lagertha had ordered in advance to keep her home safe. Ragnar killed the bear with his spear and the hound he strangled to

death. That is how he won Lagertha’s hand. According to Saxo they had a son called Fridleif and two daughters, whose names were not recorded. After several years Ragnar divorced Lagertha to marry Torah. Lagertha also remarried. Later there was a civil war in Denmark and Ragnar needed help. Lagertha who still loved him, came to his aid with 120 ships and determined the outcome of the battle. Then she returned to Norway to her husband. They quarrelled and she killed him with a blade that she had hidden under her dress. Then she usurped all his property. In the series it is not shown how they meet, and the story sounds too mythological to be presented. They have no son by the name of Fridleif. Regarding their daughters, they have one daughter - Gida, who died and the boy who was never born because Lagertha has a miscarriage. Their only son was Bjorn. Lagertha helps Ragnar to drive Jarl Borg out of Kattegat and after returning back to her husband stabs out one of his eyes with a knife. After he is murdered by Einar, she takes control over his property, so this part of Lagertha’ storyline is present, although she is not the one who killed her husband. The second wife of Ragnar was noblewoman Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr / Thora Town-Hart/. One day her father gave her a snake that looked very beautiful. However, it grew a lot and encircled her room. Nobody dared approach the snake, with the exception of the servants, who brought its food. Then Torah’s father vowed that he would marry his daughter to the one who kills the snake. Ragnar heard about the vow and went there. He pierced the snake with a spear, as the blade was left in the dead

Comparison between the series and the true Vikings

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