SPACE JUMP Baumgartnerâ€™s record-breaking sky dive
THE DOPING CRISIS A fresh look on performanceenhancing drugs
MEET THE NEW PHYSICS TEACHERS Getting personal with Miss Broadhurst and Miss Plant
Physics Section___________ 16 Meet the New Physics Teachers An introduction to Miss Plant and Miss Broadhurst
Meet The Team
Reporting Section__________ 4 Space Jump
What Would Happen If You Jumped Into A Black Hole? 20 The secret behind Spaghettification
How Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier
Curiosity - a feat of engineering
Crossover Section_________ 21 Engineering the Olympics
Could life on Mars exist?
55 Cancri e – the diamond planet
6 How the most important event for London
An interview with the first British Astronaut
A Rough Guide to Kleptoparasitism
Humans aren’t the only species who steal…
Shut Yo Blowhole
A story about a talking whale
The Doping Crisis
Are drugs ruining athletes?
Chemistry Section_________ 13 How a battery works
The Perfect Cuppa
The scientific way to brew tea
How gullible are we?
Science of the Stars
Biology Section____________ 9
Does your horoscope mean anything?
Human Nature Seeming Born Again 23 A fresh look on psychology
Three Dimensional Printing
What the future holds for online shopping
Extras_____________________ 27 Book Reviews
What’s Going on?
How Hard Is Your Life?
MEET THE TEAM
TOP ROW: (L to R)
BOTTOM ROW: (L to R)
VERITY SPRAGGE – LOWER/MIDDLE SCHOOL COMMISSIONING EDITOR
FRANCES SPRAGGE – CROSS-OVER EDITOR
ELSA PERRYMAN-OWENS – BIOLOGY EDITOR ASHLYN O’RIORDAN – CROSS-OVER EDITOR
TILLY WALKER – CHIEF EDITOR EMMA STAVELY – PHYSICS EDITOR ELENA STEIN – CHEMISTRY EDITOR
DAYLA PASCADOR – DEPUTY EDITOR / EXTRAS EDITOR CLARA DE PRETIS – REPORTING EDITOR KAYA OLCZAK – DESIGN EDITOR KITTY WALKER – DESIGN EDITOR
Welcome to the Autumn Issue of Absolute Zero! You might be under the impression that science is ‘complicated’ or ‘irrelevant’ but as the new ditors eam, we are determined to change your outlook. Read on to discover the natural phenomena of Kleptoparasitism, everything you never knew about the Diamond Planet and the scientific formula behind the perfect cup of tea. Whether you are a scientist or not, we hope you enjoy the issue! Tilly Walker, Chief Editor
SPACE JUMP BY EMMA STAVELEY
On the 14th of October, 8 million people watched in awe as Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space and free fell for over 4 minutes, breaking 3 records and most importantly making it back to earth without a scratch. Felix rose to a height of 128, 100 feet in a Red Bull Stratos balloon, where he jumped out of the safety of the capsule and began the record breaking fall. Felix after returning to the ground said that “standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don't think about breaking records anymore, you don't think about gaining scientific data the only thing that you want is to come back alive” Millions of viewers watched live from a camera on Felix’s helmet, and after a few seconds panic set in as he began to tumble over and over instead of remaining in the steady delta position (usual free fall position.)
Lucky after a while his spinning stopped and everyone let out a sigh of relief. Felix landed in the deserts of New Mexico, 23 miles from where the balloon took off. It may seem surprising that he was able to land with such accuracy. However because he didn’t actually leave the atmosphere, he didn’t experience the earth rotating under him so it was relatively easy to remain directly above where he took off. The team also waited for clear weather conditions with minimal wind so that he didn’t drift while falling, and after opening his parachute he was able to steer himself to a preferred landing spot. There were many preparations necessary for jumping at this altitude. For at least a day before the jump, Baumgartner stuck to a "low-residue, low-fibre" diet. He needed his food to pass quickly through his body without any build-up of gas. In a low- pressure environment, the gas could expand and cause him severe internal pain. Similarly he had to prebreathe oxygen for two
hours before the balloon’s ascent to help reduce the amount of nitrogen in his blood. He wore a pressurised suit to prevent ebullism, or the "boiling" of the blood, where body would start to swell painfully within seconds as the blood boils at body temperature. Baumgartner also had a straw inside his helmet to allow him to drink. His suit also protected him from the sonic boom he felt as he reached the speed of sound. Baumgartner himself says that he didn’t feel much as he broke the sound barrier because his insulated suit protected him from external sounds and forces. So, what records did he break? Felix was in fact the first person to break the speed of sound in freefall (breaching a speed of 833.9 miles per hour) He also now holds the record for the highest freefall jump (128,100 feet) and highest manned balloon flight (128,100 feet). He didn’t however break the record for the longest free fall as he fell 5 seconds short.
“Standing there on top of the world, you become so humble – the only thing that you want is to come back alive”
CURIOUSITY– A FEAT OF ENGINEERING BY MADELINE TORR
Mars, the “Red Planet” has captivated the human race for thousands of years. It is our neighbouring planet and, over the years, several spacecraft have been sent there to uncover its secrets, either to orbit it, or to explore the terrain itself. Curiosity is the most recent rover to touch down on Mars’ surface, having been dispatched by NASA in order to answer the question that fascinates so many people: was there ever life on Mars?
We are closer to the day when Mars’ secrets will be revealed to us Curiosity is the most sophisticated rover ever to be sent to Mars, with the most ambitious and daring landing ever attempted on another planet. Its final destination was Aeolis Mons, a fivekilometer high mountain situated in Gale crater. Although now dry, it is thought this crater contained water for hundreds of millions of years. As we know now, the landing was successful Curiosity touched down at 06:14 BST on Monday 6 August this year- but its landing sequence was so complex that scientists at mission control were holding their breaths until the last second. uriosity’s weight was much too big to have its landing cushioned by airbags,
the method used to land its predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. Instead, mission engineers at NASA devised the Sky Crane, which was deployed in the last 20 metres of the rover’s landing. At the right distance from the surface, the rover inched down from the sky crane on 20 foot long nylon ropes, and then the Sky Crane lowered the rover onto the surface before flying off into the atmosphere. Before this, the rover and descent vehicle entered the Martian atmosphere travelling at 5900 metres per second. Weights were then ejected from the capsule in order to gain the right orientation, and at an altitude of 11 kilometres, a huge parachute (the largest supersonic parachute ever to leave Earth) was deployed, which slowed the spacecraft down from 400 to 80 metres per second in less than two minutes. The heat shield was then dropped and capsule cameras started to snap photos four times a second in order to look for the ground. At 1.6 kilometres from the surface, the parachute detached and, after a fraction of a second’s free fall, eight retrorockets were started, slowing the capsule down to a stop. At this point, the Sky Crane manoeuvre went into action. This mission cost $2.6 bn dollars, not only because of the complicated landing,
but also due to uriosity’s sophisticated on-board apparatus, capable of analysing Martian dust. The internal laboratory can identify the minerals present in the material that has been “swallowed”. he lab is searching for organic materials, specifically carbonates, which indicate that there was once water present. Last month, Curiosity sent back photographs of beds of rounded pebbles, suggesting that it is exploring what was once a river. Although we may have to wait until future missions have been sent to receive definitive answers, we are closer to the day when Mars’ secrets will be revealed to us.
55 CANCRI E – THE DIAMOND PLANET BY CLARA DE PRETIS
‘Like a diamond in the sky’ goes the song. It refers of course to a star, a fairly ordinary ball of gas – something we see every day. However, what scientists discovered this October is something far more exciting. 40 light years away, orbiting the star 55 Cancri moves a planet called 55 Cancri e (a typically imaginative name) that scientists think to be remarkable. It fits into the same category as Earth – a ‘rocky planet’. Previous to the discovery of this planet, scientists believed all rocky planets to have the same basic chemical composition. The core should contain large amounts of oxygen and little carbon, and should have a surface consisting mostly of granite and water.
Using infrared observations, estimating the planet's mass and radius and studying its host star's composition, scientists have concluded that 55 Cancri e is a mostly carbonbased planet. Though this may not sound exciting, it is. Because scientists think that most of the carbon manifests itself in a massive amount of diamonds equaling over three times the earth’s mass. Whereas Earth is blessed with a surface of water and granite, 55 Cancri e has one of diamond and graphite.
Whereas Earth is blessed with a surface of water and granite, 55 Cancri e has one of diamond and graphite
This discovery flies in the face of the previous conceptions of a watery, oxygen rich and carbon poor standard for rocky planets, especially given that 55 Cancri e appears to contain very little or no water at all. "This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan of Yale University said. 55 ancri e is what’s called a ‘super earth’. It has a radius twice the size of Earth and a mass eight times greater. It orbits fully in around 18 hours, and has a temperature of o approximately 2195 C. Although scientists are not yet absolutely sure about the composition of the planet, researchers aim to continue exploring 55 Cancri e’s atmosphere, in hopes of definitive answers. Until then, iffany’s is the closest we can get to experiencing 55 ancri e’s surface.
AN INTERVIEW WITH HELEN SHARMAN, THE FIRST BRITISH ASTRONAUT BY FRANNIE STEVENS
I feel strange when people ask about my mum. I mean, to me, she’s just my mum. It doesn’t feel like she’s done anything cool or even out of the ordinary. But to many other people, she’s the first British astronaut. In 1989 she was selected to go into space, beating 13,000 other applicants, after hearing an advert on the radio earlier that year. She was 26 at the time and driving home from work when she heard an advert on the radio: “Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary!” he applied and was successful. She lived in Russia for 18 months for training because she was going to fly with the Russians. During that time she lived in Star City, which is near Moscow, but travelled to the black sea and Kazakhstan for training exercises. This meant she had to learn Russian. She was given a tutor, but he spoke no English but he did speak a bit of French, so she learnt French- Russian as she had done a French GCSE.
A typical day in training would be: 9-11am - Astro-navigationnavigating using the stars. 11-11:30 - Mint tea and toasted, dried rye bread (Russian snacks). 11:30-1:30 - Russian language. 1:30-2:00 - Lunch. 2:00- 4:00 - Simulator work in the Soyuz spacecraft. 4:00-6:00 - Physical training e.g. tumbles on the trampoline, sessions in the gym and swimming.
It sounds pretty fun but apparently it was hard work.
“It felt as though the seas were immeasurably deep. The clouds were so bright; it hurt my eyes to look at them for too long”
She actually did 18 months training for just over a week in space- but she says that it was worth it. On the day of the launch she says that she was feeling “slightly more excited than normal, but not much more than normal because the day was planned and busy and I just had to get on with it.” he wasn’t scared because everything was scheduled and she knew what to expect. It only took 2 minutes to technically get into space, and a further 6 minutes before all the fuel got used up and she felt weightless. However, it took another 2 days before she docked at the space station and met up with the other cosmonauts who had already been up there for 6 months. She says that they were very happy to see her. While in space, she did lots of experiments, in all sorts of areas, from finding out how astronauts blood changes in space and growing crystals of luciferase to measuring colours on the arth’s surface and measuring the effects of space radiation on thin ceramic films. She passed the results down to mission control that passed them on to the scientists who carried out the data analysis, who figured out what it meant.
Continued on the next page.. COPYRIGHT TO HELEN SHARMAN
REPORTING However, there was time to relax, and there was a guitar and a small keyboard as well as treadmills for fun, but she says that she mostly just liked looking out of the window at the earth. She says: “ he Earth is really beautiful. The seas have such a deep blue, it felt as though the seas were immeasurably deep. The clouds were so bright; it hurt my eyes to look at them for too long. I could see signs of human life- long straight lines that are unnatural, for instance, the wakes of ships, condensation trails from aircraft, smoke being blown away from fires and long, sand coloured roads that cross deserts.” he says that it was also fun being weightless. She told me that: “Feeling weightless is the most natural, relaxing feeling that I can imagine.
COPYRIGHT TO HELEN SHARMAN Floating freely, my knees bent a little, my body angled backwards a bit, and my arms floated up in front of my face. I forgot what it feels like to sit down on something or to feel the pressure of the ground beneath my feet when I stood.” It was also amusing to just eat. There were packets of tinned dried Russian food and tubes of drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate, but the most fun was simply drinking water.
COPYRIGHT TO HELEN SHARMAN
You could squirt droplets of water into your mouth, and you had to catch it all as if you missed it could’ve damaged the electrical system. She was sad to come back as she had such as good time in space, and the journey back was harder than the journey there as it was bumpy when you opened the parachutes and went through the atmosphere. She is still in contact with her four companions and her Russian teacher.
A ROUGH GUIDE TO KLEPTOPARASITISM BY ELSA PERRYMAN-OWENS
Have you ever been at the seaside and have a gull cruelly swoop in and take your ice cream? It’s because the gull is a kleptoparasite. Luckily for you, a gull is both a perpetrator and a victim of Kleptoparasitism; the form of feeding that the thieves and bandits of the animal world use to get food or inanimate objects, such as nest materials, from their own species or another related one. These bandit animals take these items because of either an inability to get the items themselves or because of sheer laziness to put the work and effort into getting them; I doubt you’ve ever seen a gull actually queue up and pay for an ice cream. Kleptoparasitism occurs in a wide array of animals, including bees, whales, spiders and even humans. Apart from gulls, a prime example of Kleptoparasitism is between lions and hyenas. Most people would immediately say that the hyena; a great scavenger, would be the bandit and the lion the victim. However, it has been proved that both the hyena and the lion are kleptoparasites, both stealing food mercilessly off of the other. Interestingly, it is not only hyenas that steal kills
from lions. Apart from the obvious close relatives to the hyena; jackals and such, humans have also been found to scare lions away from their kills and take the meat for themselves, as documented in an article concerning the lions and villagers of the Bénoué National Park in North Cameroon: “At 9.30 hours, two adult radio-collared lions (male and female) were observed feeding on a carcass of western hartebeest… In the afternoon, around 17.00 hours, we returned to the site for further observations. Near the carcass we encountered several persons, who ran away and hid in the dense vegetation upon our arrival. The lions, obviously disturbed, had left the carcass and were not observed again. Cut marks made clear the carcass was stripped from all meat with a knife. The only remains left were the head, the feet and few remains from the skin. In addition, freshly cut leaves were found at the remains, suggesting they wrapped the meat in leaves for transport.”
…the carcass was stripped from all meat with a knife…
Perhaps the most curious case of Kleptoparasitism is that of the Sperm whale, the largest kleptoparasite. Like the gull, it both carries out and falls pray to this behaviour; Pilot whales and also some dolphins can harass Sperm whales to regurgitate their food allowing them to eat said regurgitated food in favour of hunting for their own. However what is really interesting if how a Sperm whale itself becomes a kleptoparasite; it actually steals off humans. It has been observed that Sperm whales steal fishermen’s catches from their lines for themselves. Perhaps acting as a sort of Robin Hood of the sea, taking back what the humans have stolen and rightfully returning it to the sea where it belongs. In conclusion, Kleptoparasitism, however inelegant it may seem, plays a fundamental role in the functioning of the animal world and life would not be the same without it.
SHUT YO BLOWHOLE BY ALICE MCCALL
We have all heard of parrots, cats and dogs trained to mimic the human voice, but were you aware of talking Beluga whales? NOC (1977-1999), a Beluga whale living in captivity at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, drew attention from researchers after a diver left the enclosure thinking a colleague had asked him to get out the water. The voice he had heard was in fact that of the young whale, NOC. NOC had been confusing researches by making chattering noises – as if children were playing far away or people were having a conversation in another language – until they were able to source where the noises were coming from.
The voice he heard was in fact that of a young whale… From the study of this behaviour, it became apparent that NOC was putting a lot of effort into imitating humans. In order to lower his voice several octaves to within human speaking range, NOC had to change the pressure in his nasal tract by working certain muscles, and increasing the pressure in the
air sacs to a much greater degree than normal, making his head bulge. The reason for this behaviour remains a mystery; parrots and dolphins have been trained to mimic the human voice, and dolphins copy each other’s characteristic clicks and whistles, but this is the first time a cetacean has been known to spontaneously imitate a human. This all took place in the early 1980s, and NOC stopped talking a few years after the research began. This may have been due to hormones with the young whale hitting puberty, or the novelty just wore off for him after people weren’t confused anymore and instead started sticking measuring devices down his nasal passage. Nothing was published until this October, 13 years after ’s death by Sam Ridgway, President of
the National Marine Mammal Foundation, Donald Carder, Michelle Jeffries and Mark Todd. For more talking animals, look up Hoover the talking seal, another 80s animal star and a resident of the New England Aquarium, or Einstein the African Grey parrot on Pet Star.
THE DOPING CRISIS BY TILLY WALKER
Unless you have been living in a hole for the past few months you will inevitably have been caught up in the patriotic madness that was the London Olympics. But it is often easy to forget how much effort is put into ensuring that the event is moral, and not blighted by the use of performance-enhancing drugs, otherwise known as doping. Anabolic Steroids increase the rate of protein synthesis in cells therefore increasing muscle mass and block the effects of the hormone that breaks down existing muscle tissue, called Cortisol. Good effects include increased muscle mass, aggressiveness and competitiveness. Bad effects include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, exaggerated characteristics of puberty. Amphetamines are a type of stimulant which means they modulate several neurotransmitters in the brain by releasing noropinephrine which stimulates certain areas of the brain. This is widely used because beneficial effects include alertness, increased heart and respiration rate and blood pressure. Amphetamines are psychologically addictive if used frequently, as well as inducing anxiety and physical collapse.
Excess of a natural hormone known as EPO stimulates the production of red blood cells, meaning more oxygen can be carried, and therefore the athlete has greater athletic endurance. In the past this was achieved by blood transfusions. This is called Blood Doping. On the plus side, with a higher oxygen supply the muscles perform more efficiently, improving endurance. However this may be accompanied by kidney damage, jaundice and blood clotting...
...increased muscle mass, aggressiveness and competitiveness. One very current doping story is that of the cyclist Lance Armstrong. Found guilty of blood doping, Armstrong was stripped of his Tour De France Titles. Despite never having a positive drug test, it was found that Armstrong was the mastermind behind the illicit drug use and blood doping scandal, while his team ensured that he was never caught. Millions of pounds are invested in drug testing so how did Armstrong find the loophole? In the London Olympics the first 5
competitors plus 2 random others from each event have their urine tested to detect steroids and stimulants, with the results processed and confirmed within 24 hours. The real problem is when it comes to blood doping because the number of red blood cells can vary significantly depending on where you train and live, creating a fine line between whatâ€™s fair and what isnâ€™t. Scientists are working on a Homologous Blood Test which involves comparing the levels of red blood cells in the competitors and their relatives. So what remains for the future of doping? As scientists delve deeper into the complex human genome, we have to be prepared to entertain the prospect of gene doping. The basic concept is that in the future athletes may be able to genetically enhance themselves in order to improve their physical strength or performance in sporting events. This could be achieved by either replacing current genes with more advantageous ones or adding beneficial genes to their â€Ś Continued on the next page..
BIOLOGY …existing ones, through methods such as plasmids that are presently used in gene therapy. There are 187 known genes that are linked to athleticism, allowing thousands of possible enhancements, many of which could bear catastrophic side effects such as cancer or an immune reaction.
The worry with gene doping is that if it becomes popular it will become difficult to control and could end up changing the whole concept behind sport. The usual method of taking urine samples would not suffice, so Officials would have to look into competitors’ medical records; an action which is sometimes seen as
unethical and invasive. o that’s all you need to know about doping. This summer 11 out of over 14,000 athletes tested positive following the drug testing, proving that whilst doping can’t be eliminated completely, the experts are doing a remarkably good job trying.
Interested in Biology? Why not visit www.biologynews.net to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Biology. If you’re thinking of doing Biological ciences in university you may be interested in the top 5 universities which provide the best courses in the UK; 1) Cambridge 2) Oxford 3) Imperial College London 4) University College London 5) Sheffield Taken from the complete university guide. Rated on student satisfaction, entry standards, research assessment and graduate prospects. 2012 rankings.
Little Known Biology Facts! A cockroach will live nine days without its head, before it starves to death. Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. Our eyes are always the same size from birth. Butterflies taste with their feet. Elephants are the only animals that can't jump. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. Our nose and ears never stop growing. The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning. Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE BATTERY REVEALED BY ELENA STEIN
Have you ever wondered how that mystifying cylinder in almost every gadget works? All electronic gadgets require an electric current, which is a flow of electrons. A battery is made up of a series of cells that generate a flow of electrons. There are many different types of batteries that generate electricity in different ways. The key reactions in a battery are reduction and oxidation, otherwise known as “redox” reactions. Oxidation is the loss of electrons while reduction is the gain of electrons. These are some of the most fundamental reactions in chemistry. Let me explain how a lithium-ion battery works. In a lithium-ion battery one end is made of olivine, a structure that imprisons Li atoms. In the olivine the Li atoms will release one electron into the circuit to become a 1+ lithium ion.
As an ion, Li is free to move through a thick organic solvent until it reaches graphite (what pencils are made of) at the other end. At the graphite end, the lithium ion will receive an electron from the external circuit to become a neutral lithium atom again. A flow of electrons is created from the olivine to the graphite through the wires of the circuit, and this is what is used to power your electrical gadgets.
A battery is made up of a series of cells that generate a flow of electrons. There are many different types of batteries that generate electricity in different ways
You may question what happens once all the lithium atoms in the olivine are used up and have moved to the graphite. The battery is now “flat” and can be charged again by reversing the process, which you can do with lithium batteries. So now you know, in certain types of batteries redox reactions are occurring and this is what generates a flow of electrons. However, there are some cells where this is not the case, such as fuel cells, which use the energy stored in chemical bonds. I will save that for another exciting issue of Absolute Zero!
THE PERFECT CUPPA BY TILLY WALKER
For those of you in the Sixth Form, you will surely by now have realised the sheer importance of tea; as a stimulant when you have 3 essays due the next morning and as a sedative when you’re just settling down to watch that much awaited episode of Made in Chelsea. But what if I told you scientists have revealed a recipe for the PERFECT cup of tea? 1. First you have to select your method of holding the tea. For the tea experts among you, you will already be equipped with a vacuum flask. This consists of one flask within another, creating a near-vacuum in which convection and conduction are impossible. Material-wise silver flasks are the best because being reflective, it reduces heat loss by radiation. But for the sake of the rest of you, a simple mug will suffice. 2. Empty out your kettle– freshly boiled water is much more effective for making tea because it has higher oxygen content, allowing more tea to be extracted from the leaves. 3. Refill it with soft water – If you use hard water to make a cup of tea, you might notice a film forming on the surface of the liquid. This is because the flavonoids in the tea react with the Calcium Hydroxide. Soft water is a much better solvent, so get a water filter. 4. Select your tea bag – When tea leaves are rolled, enzymes are released that react with the oxygen in the air, creating flavonoids. These contribute to the taste and colour of tea and vary between each type. Black, white and green tea all contain caffeine, whereas herbal teas are merely infusions and have a calming effect. In this case we will choose the classic English Breakfast Tea.
The perfect cup of tea, the scientists’ way. With a mug brimming full of antioxidants
5. Pour in the boiling water (100 degrees) and leave to brew for 2 minutes – Now this has been tried and tested by a team of university researchers, so it’s as close to perfect as you’re going to get. f course it varies on the type of tea, but between 1 and 3 minutes is ideal. 6. Remove the teabag – DO NOT SQUEEZE. This will only make your tea bitter and stewed. 7. Add 10ml of milk after removing the teabag – The proteins in milk will slightly inhibit the brewing; so do not add the milk too early on. On no circumstances put more than this in – it will react with the excess polyphenols in the tea leaves and leave you with an upset stomach. As regards to whether the milk goes in first, it seems that the on-going debate will remain a mystery. 8. GOOD NEWS – Scientists have found that sugar in tea makes us less aggressive, so for the sweet-toothed readers amongst you, you’re in luck. ry and use honey instead of sugar, as it is better for your health. 9. Last of all, wait 6 minutes before drinking – Researchers have found it takes 6 minutes for the tea to cool to the optimum temperature of 60 degrees. Do whatever you want in this time; turn on the TV, read the newspaper or, god forbid, get some homework done. So there you have it, the perfect cup of tea, the scientists’ way. With a mug brimming full of antioxidants and research showing that the polyphenol content of tea can greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer, what are you waiting for? Go get brewing.
HOW GULLIBLE ARE WE? BY DAYLA PASCADOR
A common chemical compound that is used in many industrial processes that has the name dihydrogen monoxide has been found to have the following properties:
Can cause excessive sweating and vomiting Is a major component in acid rain Can cause severe burns in its gaseous state Accidental inhalation of the chemical can kill you Contributes to erosion Decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes Has been found in tumours of terminal cancer patients
If yes, you are not alone. When 50 people were asked the same question: 84% answered yes, 4% were unsure and only 2% of people realised that this so called “dangerous chemical” is in fact water.
MEET THE NEW PHYSICS TEACHERS BY DAYLA PASCADOR AND EMMA STAVELEY
We both thought that our first issue of Absolute Zero wouldn’t be complete without an introduction to the mysterious, hilarious and sassy new physics teachers- Miss Broadhurst and Miss Plant. So we decided to set up an interview with them so we could really get to know them. Emma thought it would be a good idea to bribe them with tea to entice them into talking to us (even though we know they secretly love us already). So we sent them this email. Us: Hi Miss Broadhurst and Miss Plant Dayla and I were wondering if we could meet you some time on Wednesday, maybe lunch or break to ask a few questions about joining the physics department for absolute zero magazine? It shouldn’t take long and I’ll bring tea! Miss Broadhurst: Nice idea, very happy to do it. Are you happy coming to the physics office? We have a department meeting at lunch so it would have to be break if you’re happy with that? Miss Plant: I drink coffee. Slightly alarmed by Miss Plant’s bluntness, we scrambled together instant coffee and set off to the work room.
We stood outside the physics workroom for nearly a minute, debating who would have to face Mr McGrath as we had both seriously messed up a seemingly “simple circuit” in his previous lesson. We decided that he hated Dayla more, so with trembling hands Emma took one for the team and opened the door to the dark gloomy cave in which the physics teachers dwell. After taking Miss Plant and Miss Broadhurst to a physics lab we sat down and began the weirdest (and only) interview of our lives: Dayla: Why did you want to be a physics teacher? BH: It’s the best subject! Plant: *thinking face* uhh… I… did…a physics degree… Emma: Inspiring! Emma: But honestly, there must have been something that made you want to teach physics? Plant: Honestly I didn't. It just happened. BH: It’s an amazing and rewarding job. Not many people get paid to spend a day playing with lazers, exploding custard tins or dropping smurfs down stairwells, then get to go home and know they’ve helped to educate and inspire (hopefully) the next
generation. My mum is a physics teacher (she was my teacher when I was doing GCSEs) and everyone in my family has a physics or science degree so I grew up in a very science orientated home. We would even spend Sunday afternoons making cabbage indicator, taking apart old computers to see what was inside or play with equipment mum brought home from her school. I went to an all girls’ school until I was 16 and then a mixed school for A Level and was shocked by how few girls were studying Physics. You don’t notice the imbalance until you’re in a mixed environment. here’s no reason why it needs to be a “male’s subject” but it has that reputation. here aren’t enough teachers making it accessible for girls and I wanted to do my bit to change that and show them what a relevant, useful and fascinating subject it can be (not to mention how good it looks on the CV...!).
…educate and inspire the next generation.. Emma: Who is your favourite physics class? Plant: I love all of them BH: I hate them all. Continued on the next page…
PHYSICS: Dayla: What is an interesting fact about yourself? BH: I’m scared of cows… Us: Seriously? BH: (defensively) they kill more people than spiders in Britain per year… and people are allowed to be afraid of spiders! Plant: Can I make something up? Us: Yeah I guess…if you want… Plant: I was once arrested.
Plant: A lot of the lovely teachers are the same as well as all the buildings and the acceleration due to gravity. There are still lots of amazing clubs and sports to get involved with. The uniform is exactly the same (apart from the new sports kit). Most of the classrooms have been refurbished (actually all apart from the science ones!) when I was here some classrooms didn't have lockers, but lift up desks! The biggest changes are the shiny new bishop centre and new head teacher, and it’s still a lovely place to learn and work.
BH: um………………… *Longest pause in human history* Emma I guess Emma: Awkward Dayla: So why would you recommend that girls choose Physics?
BH: Physics attempts to explain the world around us. You can’t get much more relevant than that. It’s also a very mathematical and logical subject so skills learnt studying physics can be applied to a lot of different careers and areas of life.
Plant: Don’t you want to know what type?
(In other words, it’s the perfect subject)
BH: What?! Plant: For possession… Us: Where is this going…? Plant: Of illegal fruit!
Us: Sure Plant: (elusively) I can’t say. Us: Moving on… Plant: Wait! At the start of October I swam the 2.25 miles from Hampton Court Bridge to Kingston Bridge in the Thames. Most of the other swimmers were sick (it’s not the cleanest stretch of the river) I wasn't. I'm immune to the Thames. Dayla: Who are your favourite students? *wink wink nudge nudge*
Physics attempts to explain the world around us... Emma: Are the rest of the department nice to you? Plant: Mr McGrath bullies us! BH: Miss Plant is odd… Plant: Miss Broadhurst smells weird. Dayla: Miss Plant, You are an old dolphin, what has stayed the same and what has changed since you were a
Emma: Okay. Serious question. Chips or roast? BH: Chips Plant: I’m a vegetarian and I don’t like potatoes. Dayla: Then what do you eat?! Plant: Anything that’s not meat or potatoes… Emma: So when considering studying Physics in higher education, what would you say? BH: Strictly speaking my degree was natural science rather than pure physics but there were definite advantages to the physics modules. For one you have a lot of lab hours. This means you get a lot more contact time with the experts and
PHYSICS given how expensive uni is these days that’s pretty important. It also means that in the first year, when you aren’t quite as self disciplined to get up and go to lectures (it’s not like school, they often don’t take registers) you can’t get away with staying in bed. his means you’re less likely to fall behind and be disappointed in your final result. It also means you spend more time with people on your course so get to know them better which makes group assignments or asking for help from a friend much more easy. Physics is a very well respected degree, especially for women as not many do it, so even if your final career isn’t anything to .
do with science it really helps to get you noticed! And there’s always the “wow” factor. If you ever tell someone you’re studying physics the reaction is almost always “wow, you must be so clever!” and that’s always nice to hear!
. I ’ GR
mma: It’s obviously blue why are we even discussing this. So what do you think? Is physics blue or green? Are cows an acceptable thing to be afraid of? Is Miss Plant sane?
Dayla: Now. Let’s settle this once and for all. What colour is Physics? An ongoing dispute between Miss Plant and Dayla over the colour of physics... It’s green by the way BH: Blue! Plant: Blue!
All we know is that the new additions to the physics department, whilst slightly crazy, are really nice and are great teachers. Dayla Pascador and Emma Staveley (aka the greatest physics students that Godolphin has ever witnessed... and the more mature half of #corefour)
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU JUMPED INTO A BLACK HOLE? BY EMMA STAVELEY
Have you ever wondered what would happen to you if you decided to take a journey into the mysterious depths of a black hole? Well, aside from dying, some pretty interesting stuff would happen to you. To understand why these things happen, first you have to know what black holes are. Black holes are areas of space time where the gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light can escape. In terms of general relativity, when there is a mass that is extremely dense it warps the fabric of space time to a degree where a black hole is formed. Now, with space time bent to such an extent that the centre of the black hole has infinite density, your body would go through some pretty horrific consequences if you decided to jump in.
…the centre of the black hole has infinite density… As you approach the black hole, the gravity becomes increasingly strong. This happens to such an extent that, when falling feet first, you would begin to stretch. This is because the gravity at your feet is stronger than the gravity felt at your head, so your feet would accelerate at a faster rat and you would stretch.
This, believe it or not, is called spaghettification. So, stretching into a long, spaghetti shaped human you would continue towards the centre. Before long your body would snap in half and both halves would stretch until breaking point and so on and so forth until you have been broken up into tiny pieces which would all accelerate into the darkness of a black hole. Before you reach the event horizon, you would be able to see distorted shapes and colours as the light is bent severely. You wouldn’t be able to see anything beyond it, because the event horizon is the point of ‘no return,’ so the light cannot escape that point. So what if you watched someone else jump in? Outside the event horizon, time is moving at a normal rate, but as you get to the event horizon, things begin to get a little weird. Time effectively becomes infinite when observing from before the event horizon. Basically, if you were observing your friend falling into a black hole,
as they approached the event horizon they would appear to move extremely slowly, and ‘hover’ just before the horizon. Now, when you think about it, this is a kind of optical illusion. It doesn’t really take an infinite amount of time to cross the horizon, but to an observer it does. As your friend falls deeper and deeper into the black hole, the light takes longer and longer to reach you, until he reaches the event horizon and the light can’t reach you. his explains why you see them slowing down, and remain still as you can never actually see them cross the event horizon. So there you have it, the answer to a question I’m sure you spent hours agonizing over. N.B. The Absolute Zero team does not recommend that you jump into a black hole for research or recreational purposes. Emma Staveley
ENGINEERING AND THE PARALYMPICS BY ASHLYN O’RIORDAN
As Londoners, the events of this summer will have been hard to miss. But what do you actually know about the work done behind the scenes to make it all possible? The Olympics took a great amount of design, engineering and technology, from the construction of the venues to the bespoke Paralympics equipment, to the glory of the opening and closing ceremonies. New facilities, bridges and waterways were created, pylons were removed and reinstalled to provide enough electricity, a whopping 2 million tonnes of soil was moved; all thanks to Britain’s engineers.
Technology was developed for optimal preformance There were many obstacles to overcome in the construction of the venues and the surrounding network. The site for the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London was chosen as the organisers believed that they could transform the 2.5 square kilometres of from industrial land to somewhere enjoyable for visitors and make it a profitable area. This posed many challenges: the site was a dumping ground and had to be cleared before work could begin. On top of this, the architecture for the venues is very iconic,
but because of these unique building designs, such as the aquatic centre, features like the roofs were hard to construct. Civil engineers worked with construction of bridges and buildings, and also worked with Transport for London to organize enough transport for the volume of people attending events. Electrical engineers also had a big part to play in the ceremonies; Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony involved a lot of lighting and pyrotechnics, but went without a hitch, and also included a tribute to engineering progression in the Industrial Revolution! The Paralympics again provided examples of both human endurance and engineering innovation. Technology was developed for optimal performance, depending on the sport and level of disability. The wheelchairs used by GB’s basketball team were individually moulded to each player, taking into account their weight and movement, and were tested in a wind tunnel for the effect of drag force. Blades, used by sprinters (most famously Oscar Pistorius of South Africa), combine a prosthesis with a carbon-fibre blade, which make them light and flexible, providing spring for
the runners, and are complete with spikes just like sprinting shoes. Despite the myth that blades are easier to run with because of this added bounce, they only use a set muscle group to work, meaning a large part of the muscle capability (calves and ankles) are not used, so they are currently not as effective. Inventive modifications to bicycles allowed Paralympians like Jaye Milley, who is classified as a quadruple amputee, to participate, and also in archery, where the bows are mounted with prosthetics or as part of a wheelchair – although Mark Stutzman of the US uses none of this at all; he holds the bow with his feet and shoots by holding the arrow in his teeth! All of this innovative sports technology means that athletes with a wide range of disabilities still have the chance to compete. Overall the Olympic and the Paralympic games were a huge success, and hopefully this project did what it meant to; inspire a generation, not just of athletes but architects and engineers as well!
THE SCIENCE OF THE STARS BY FRANCES SPRAGGE
It may be near blasphemy to print an article on horoscopes in a science magazine. But anything that claims in this modern age to predict your future based on the position of the stars on the day or even the whole month you were born holds a certain curiosity for me. Surely few can assert the validity of astrology (unless I’m missing something), yet it turns out an astonishing number of people still read, and supposedly believe in, horoscopes. Wikipedia tells me that astrology ‘was considered a scholarly tradition’ until the seventeenth century. Then science and the study of the planets came along, which I’m guessing didn’t help its cause. So I did some research. From a survey conducted in the year 2005, in the UK, 14% of men read their horoscope, compared to 30% of women.
And 80% of the people who read their horoscope on a daily basis believe what they read. I also found out that somewhat surprisingly Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and less surprisingly the earlier Isaac Newton (1642-1727) had faith in astrology. Most British newspapers and magazines still have a section on horoscopes. Although there’s always an exception to the rule in that the more serious Observer and Guardian stopped publishing horoscopes in 2010. Whereas the astrologer, Jonathan ainer, of the nation’s most popular newspaper, the Daily Mail, is reputedly one of its most highly paid writers. He says obscurely, ‘Astrology is scientific in as much as we have to have accurate planetary positions. But it is a
divination: a glorious blending of occult and science.’ Perhaps people are just susceptible to believing what they read. Looking at the characteristics of your star sign, it will, as always, say something complimentary about your personality. However modest you may be, being told in writing that you are ‘kind and generous’ is all too easy to accept.
..glorious blending of occult and science… he thing about ‘omen’ horoscopes, sitting on the tube and casually reading a certain page in the Evening Standard (something which I would obviously never do), is that they seem so personal and intimate. As if you weren’t sharing your immediate future with approximately 583,333,333 people. ( hat’s 1/12th of the world’s population, by the way.) They are written to seem so direct yet so vague. Maybe it’s just me, but this makes you subconsciously try to make it applicable to your life so it appears more believable. Horoscopes are a reassurance, taking control of your own chaotic life, so they can feel comforting- what happens next is already mapped out and in that sense more manageable. Continued on the next page…
CROSSOVER People believe their horoscope just as much if it said the opposite. (If told they were ‘open’ or that they ‘like to keep things to themselves’, either would be accepted.) I can actually see myself shaping my character to fit my horoscope, at least in my mind, if not outwardly.
Although, on second thoughts, I don’t think you can box personalities so definitively anyway - life is not in black and white. There are many individuals all over the world; can you really say there are only twelve types of person? So for me, at least, the
And for those of you who cannot resist:
Interested in Astrology? Why not read The Mountain Astrologer, the magazine dedicated to the understanding of the cosmos. Each issue has articles from students and professors and features something for all.
obvious explanation as to why so many people read their horoscopes today, is entertainment, with a bit of reassurance. (And of course extreme gullibility.) But maybe even in 2012 people still can’t resist consulting the tea leaves or the stars or indeed religion just in case…
HUMAN NATURE SEEMING BORN AGAIN BY HELENA COGGAN
If the human brain was simple enough to understand, we would be too simple to understand it. - EMERSON Our (limited) knowledge of our own minds has wrought an astounding change in our society. The mentally ill are no longer treated as children or animals, but instead their conditions are diagnosed and (if possible) treated. Those on trial for crimes such as murder can enter a plea of insanity in an attempt to lighten their sentences. Juvenile delinquents are labelled as having come from ‘problem families’. And it is now a viable (although seldom appreciated) excuse that it wasn’t your fault you didn’t do your biology homework; a couple of misfiring neurons in your cerebral cortex didn’t let you do it. But exactly what moulds your brain? For those with an interest, everyone with a half a connection to academia seems to have a view on the subject. Some of them (although very much in the minority) appear not to have any scientific evidence at all: this is only a tolerated approach because this is a field where there are very few claims you can make which can be proved definitively wrong. Those that do have empirical evidence on their
side are many, and each of them has a different view. The psychologist Steven Pinker has written several books on the subject of the human mind (none of which are for the faint-hearted or those short on time: you have been warned). One of them addresses what he calls ‘the myth of the Blank late’: the belief that the brain is infinitely malleable and can be moulded to any personality you care to name. He writes that whilst obviously no one is born with an exact set of characteristics, beliefs and attitudes, there is fairly conclusive evidence that whoever you are now, you were probably born that way. Identical twins, even when raised apart, are extremely similar; biological siblings separated at birth are far more alike that adoptive ones raised together; and, as any exasperated mother can tell you, you’re just like your father, you know that?
…the brain is infinitely malleable… If you are that exasperated mother, here is the good news: whatever your child did to make you that annoyed,
it probably wasn’t your fault. Parenting, Pinker writes, has relatively little effect on your personality. Half of variance in personality (to clarify: variance in personality, how different people are from each other, not actual personality, which I defy you to weigh and measure) is caused by your genes- but the other half was caused by socialisation with your peers. Yes, that’s right: your friends make you who you are. Your morality, beliefs, attitudes and politics, however, are very different, and quite apart from your personality. Those do tend to be moulded, to a certain extent, by your parents (think of how you learnt to speak, what was right or wrong, manners etc). Some of our readers might have radically different views from their parents, perhaps just for the sake of it (these do tend to be superficial, but also the ones that show). So to those readers, I give this last defence against their parents: Yes, I may be the way I am because of my genes and not your parenting, Mum: but don’t forget, those genes are yours.
THREE DIMENSIONAL PRINTING BY KITTY WALKER
The recent 3D Print Show in London was the first ever consumer 3D print show. With its catchy title, it has brought attention to 3D printing. One of the highlights of the show was the band’s that had been printed. The show concentrated on bringing 3D printing into the public eye and explaining what it is and how it works. What is 3D printing? Well, that’s simple: it’s printing in 3 dimensions. It has been around for about 30 years, but why aren’t we more aware of it? hat’s because to make such printers work is far from simple. Recent advances in technology have made it more successful in terms of efficiency, speed, quality and ease of use, this means that it is now finally accessible to the public. For around $3000 (the same price as a Macbook) you can buy a 3D printer small enough to sit on a desktop. However most people do not know how to convert the product data into a form that can be printed. This has to be done using computer software such as CAD (computer-aided design). To overcome these current problems, increasing numbers of tutorials are being made to inform the public so that this product can be spread throughout the world and be available to everyone. So how does it work?
By printing layer by layer in 2D an object can be built up from the ground - this is called “additive manufacturing”. Using liquid or material powder physical products can be built in a number of hours. Another method of 3D printing is called stereolithography – a photochemical process in which the liquid polymerizes and hardens using a laser to trace out objects. The finished products are more intricate than any other manufacturing process because the detail is so precise and some of the products created are impossible to build any other way. It is even possible to print moving components such as hinges or parts within a part; it is so reliable that 3D
printers can themselves!
At the moment, 3D printing is used in many fields, such as: product design - it is very easy to print mass products that are identical; architecture - it can be used to build detailed prototypes of buildings, engineering, engine components, jewellery, implants - doctors can build metal implants specific to the individual, prosthetics - also easily altered to be specific to the individual, and dentistry, to make retainers/dental coatings. Continued on the next page…
...some of the products created are impossible to build any other way…
CROSSOVER One major benefit of 3D printing is the reduction of carbon emissions; products don’t have to be shipped across the world our carbon footprint is significantly reduced, the products are also lighter and use less material waste, which is more efficient and economically beneficial. 3D printing is also a quick, easy way to tailor a product to an individual’s specific desires and for it to be ready for use in a matter of hours. But is this a worthwhile investment for personal use? Every time you need a spare
part for a bike or a screw is missing from the table you just bought then, yes, printing them would be helpful, but how often do you find yourself in situations like those? Surely you would end up printing yourself and everyone you know masses of useless plastic tat that would end up in the bin. I am not saying that the stuff you can print is useless, just that the average person doesn’t have much need for lots of fast products. However, for those people who do regularly find themselves desperately needing certain objects, then a 3D printer is
useful. It is just that for most of us I think such a printer would be unnecessary and better used by professionals.3D printing is definitely a mind-blowing achievement that is a massive advance in manufacturing. It will, no doubt, change many professions for the better; it could even be seen as bringing about a new industrial revolution (perhaps one that our children will one day be studying in their history lessons).
Interested in the articles in this section? ach article is based on a different ‘crossover’ topic. Engineering the Olympics and Paralympics Engineering For more information on this subject, visit www.london2012.com Science of the Stars Astrology Recommended books on astrology: Aspects In Astrology: A Comprehensive guide to Interpretation by Sue Tompkins Astrology, Karma and Transformation: Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart by Stephen Arroyo True As The Stars Above by Neil Spencer Human Nature Seeming Born Again Psychology If you’re interested in psychology, why not read Psychologies Magazine? he magazine for those who want to know more and grow more. Thinking of studying Psychology at university? Psychology is now one of the most popular degrees in the UK. To study it, it is expected of you to have good grades in GCSE maths and sciences. However, most universities do not require specific A-Level subjects but prefer students who have studied both scientific and non-scientific subjects. 3D Printing Technology echnology is advancing and changing the world rapidly. If you’re interested in the fickleness of technology, why not read Wired? A popular technology magazine, which combines future science, culture and technology news.
BOOK REVIEWS BAD PHARMA Ben Goldacre
The author of the highly acclaimed Bad Science has produced a genius, must-read investigation into how the practices of the pharmaceutical industry are corrupt and how this will affect everybody at some point in their lifetime when they are prescribed drugs. Written with great urgency and persuasion, with suggestions on what you can do in this call to arms for all, it covers how the majority of doctors after becoming GPs never continue any form of medical education yet are expected to keep up to date with the new drugs coming out. Who steps in to help them – the self-interested drug companies, of course. More importantly perhaps, it reveals how drug companies suppress vital missing data to their benefit, not ours, and how the European regulators turn a blind eye to this. In the style of prescription drugs, there is braille on the front cover but it’s not a warning, it is advice I strongly agree with and it says, “ onsume immediately”. Verity Spragge
THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT Oliver Sacks
It is often said that the brain is as complex as a computer. We all know that one malfunction in your laptop can cause the whole system to collapse, but is this behaviour mirrored in the brain? In this incredible book Oliver Sacks studies how a small deficit or excess in neurological function can hugely affect the behaviour of humans. We meet peculiar characters; a woman who has become disconnected from her body, a man who has lost the power of recognition. ‘ he Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ is so much more than a collection of case studies; it evokes feeling and, most importantly, understanding. Tilly Walker
Interested in science and books? Come to Physics Book Club every Wednesday 1:30 P1 At the moment we are reading Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time
SUCCESS THROUGH FAILURE: THE PARADOX OF DESIGN Henry Petroski
‘ uccess through Failure’ is a fantastic book for anyone interested design and how the process of design can help shape the development of technology, engineering and society. Petroski discusses how failure in the course of progress is not a bad thing; that failure is portrayed as negative by educators and parents, when in fact it is a key process as whilst we constantly strive to minimize failure, it is how we learn. He makes the point that failure is essential for advancement – if there was no room for improvement, we wouldn’t evolve. If you have ever wanted to design and make something, but have always been scared to try for fear of failing, worry not! The message portrayed here is that it is better to fail early and discover your capability than not to try at all; you never know what you might create the next generation of. Ashlyn O’Riordan
QUANTUM THEORY CANNOT HURT YOU Marcus Chown
PERIODIC TALES: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF THE ELEMNETS Hugh AlderseyWilliams
and nature, the book itself is written in a comforting and amusing way, allowing anyone reading it to be simultaneously amazed and relieved when you realise that although quantum theory is extraordinary it definitely cannot hurt you. Emma Staveley REACTIONS Peter Atkins
The Periodic Table is an essential part of Chemistry and practically everyone is familiar with its purpose and meaning. But not many people study the actual elements, which compose the periodic table. However, Hugh Aldersey-Williams decided to investigate the ‘lives’ of the elements and record his findings in this book, opening up a whole new world of astounding secrets and colourful pasts of elements which most of us haven’t even heard of. Aldersey-Williams provides us with many surprising facts and a fresh look on the periodic table and chemistry itself. This book is highly recommended to people who want to look for deeper meaning into the simple science we learn today.
Having been to his lecture on quantum theory I read this book hoping to deepen my understanding of the bizarre and confusing ideas he discussed. Being so used to thinking the world around us works in a certain way, ideas such as atoms being in two places at once, and chrödinger’s at being both dead and alive are enough to make the mind boggle. I remember him saying that if you find quantum theory easy to grasp or understand, then you haven’t fully understood it. Now, I definitely did not find it easy to grasp, but I did find it fascinating, especially after reading this book. Chown discusses both quantum theory and the theory of relativity in simple terms, using real life scenarios and metaphors to help ‘ordinary people’ understand. Despite forcing people to question their assumptions and challenge everything they believe about the universe
A recent addition to the library this book provides highly visual accounts of some of the most fundamental reactions in chemistry. It is accompanied by helpful illustrations that guide you through some really quite challenging concepts. Atkins’s narration is really captivating and makes you eager to learn more about this strange molecular world. I wouldn’t recommend this book for the faint-hearted; it is best to read after having completed the GCSE chemistry syllabus. Elena Stein
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Lectures Fri 7 December Biomedical Engineering: New Ways of Making Bubbles, Capsules, Particles, Fibres, Coatings & Scaffolds for Industry & Medicine University College London UCL Department of Mechanical Engineering by Professor Mohan Edirisinghe Fri 14 December Mitochondria: The Power Behind the Evolution of Complex Life University College London UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment by Dr Nick Lane
Wed 16 Jan 2013 - 1.00pm How the Zebra got its Stripes: Patterns in Nature Barnard’s Inn Hall, Gresham College Professor Andrea Sella Tue 22 Jan - 6.00pm Sleep and Dreams Museum Of London, Gresham College Professor Glenn D Wilson Tue 22 Jan 2013 6.30pm – 7.30pm Genetics, Epigenetics and Disease The Royal Society, London Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Prize Lecture by Professor Adrian Bird Wed 6 Feb 2013 - 1.00pm The Age of the Universe Museum Of London, Gresham College Professor Carolin Crawford Wed 13 Feb 2013 6.30pm – 7.30pm From Logic to Computer Science: A Linguistic Journey The Royal Society, London Royal Society Milner Award lecture by Professor Gordon Plotkin FRS
N.B The lectures at any University College of London department are on Friday evenings at 6:30pm
WHAT’S GOING ON?
London provides many scientific opportunities for everyone, whether they are tourists or residents. One of the most popular and enjoyable places to go to for scientists is, naturally, the Science Museum. This museum, centered very near South Kensington and Gloucester Road tube stations, offers new things to do everyday. With no entry fee and open everyday from 10.00 to 18.00, you have no reason not to go. COSMOS AND CULTURE Until 31 December 2012
Explore how astronomy has changed the way we see our universe - and ourselves through this object-rich exhibition. From ancient heritage to cutting edge technology, trace the history of people and the stars through different stories drawn from around the world. Exhibition supported by the Patrons of the Science Museum with additional support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC.
CODEBREAKER – TURING’S LIFE LEGACY Until 21 June 2013
Alan Turing is most widely known for his critical involvement in the codebreaking at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. But Alan Turing was not just a codebreaker. His ideas have helped shape the modern world, including early computer programming and even the seeds of artificial intelligence. This exhibition tells the story of Turing and his most important ideas.
PAIN LESS: THE FUTURE OF RELIEF Until 8 November 2013
How are scientists working to create the perfect pain relief? Geneticists decode DNA to find out how pain works in the body. Neuroscientists examine brain activity to discover how emotion affects how we feel pain. Researchers ask, do we really feel no pain during surgery under anesthetic? Or do we simply not remember it? How might this affect us? Pain Less introduces you to the latest pain research, through personal stories, scientific discovery, fascinating objects, films and even games.
HOW HARD IS YOUR LIFE? BY DAYLA PASCADOR
Note: This scale does not include IB girls as Word does not have the capacity for those types of numbers… and I thought my life was hard.
Struggling with a mountain of homework? Failing to meet your coursework deadlines because your social life is just too tempting? It’s really not as bad as you think it is, as Dayla Pascador explains in the following article.
How hard your life is s n w o d k a e r b ( ss e n d r a H
35 30 25 )r a20 e15 y r e10 p 5 0
you think it is it actually is
Lower school, whilst a shock to the system in comparison to primary school, is mainly all fun and games in the end. Our biggest worries include who has the silver pen for the poster due next week and what seems to be the end of the world if you don’t do well in your end of year exams (it’s not- I promise). Middle school is a big step up and suddenly everyone is vowing to always do their homework and work really hard for their next piece of coursework coming up. Sure GCSEs may seem hard, but little do you know until 6th form… So you thought it might be easier going down from 10 subjects to 4, didn’t you? Well, you were wrong. Suddenly you are indulging in thousands of afterschool activities you never even knew existed
whilst at the same time keeping on top of the evergrowing mountain of essays you have been set. You know life is really hard when you can no longer afford to spend your free time watching gossip girl and 90210 (even though we all still secretly do).
The graph below shows a general trend upwards as the years go by; there is a particularly steep increase in workload from lower school to GCSE years and from the end of middle school to sixth form. What is also interesting is that the shape of the graph mimics that of the one above, showing that workload could be directly related to how hard your life is.
Of course the one constant that remains throughout the years is that we all have the tendency to think our life is a little harder than it actually is (as exemplified perfectly by this analysis). 40 r e p sr30 u o ) h (20k e d e a w o l k r10 o W 0
Workload of a godolphin girl
N.B This is not by any means an exact indication of how many hours of work each year does in Godolphin; it is more of a general relative trend on how workload changes throughout school life.
Space Jump http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/1 0/121014-felix-baumgartner-skydive-soundbarrier-kittinger-roswell-science-2/ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/960808 4/Felix-Baumgartner-breaks-speed-of-sound.html Curiosity – a feat of engineering Wikipedia – Curiosity rover The Guardian - Curiosity rover Mars landing – as it happened BBC News - Curiosity Mars rover to 'drive, drive, drive' Daily Mail - Mars Curiosity rover landing shown in new HD video 55 Cancri – The Diamond Planet Wikipedia - 55 Cancri e Daily mail - Twinkle, twinkle: Astronomers reveal the diamond covered planet twice the size of Earth The Independent - Newly discovered 'super-Earth' is made of diamonds, say scientists I.B times - Discovery Of Diamond Planet Opens A New Rocky World An Interview with Helen Sharman, the first British Astronaut All photos copyright of Helen Sharman A Rough Guide to Kleptoparasitism Wikipedia Article extract: African Journal of Ecology vol.47 issue 3 BBC Nature U.S. Department of the Navy Shut Yo Blowhole guardian.co.uk biologynews.net The Doping Crisis http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/asmi th/index.htm http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/l ife/genetic/gene-doping.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_doping
How a battery works http://physicscentral.org/explore/action/lithiu m-1.cfm Books: Reactions by Peter Atkins
How a battery works http://physicscentral.org/explore/action/lithium1.cfm Books: Reactions by Peter Atkins The Perfect Cuppa http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article2003784/Tea-Scientists-unveil-formula-perfectbrew.html https://www.imperial.ac.uk/humanities/webdesign/2 012/juancasasbuenas/ http://www.allabouttea.co.uk/tea-news-blog/teabags-beginners-guide How gullible are we? http://www.snopes.com/science/dhmo.asp Meet the new Physics teachers Courtesy of Miss Plant and Miss Broadhurst What would happen if you jumped into a black hole? http://cosmology.berkeley.edu/Education/BHfaq.htm l#q4 http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vsmyth/what-if/what-if-fell-into-black-hole.htm Engineering the Olympics and the Paralympics wired.co.uk london2012.com The Science of the Stars Wikipedia astrology.co.uk/news/astrostats whereincity.com/astrology kellystarsigns.com And Human Nature Seeming Born Again References: Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate, 2002 Title: William Wordsworth, The Prelude, 1805 Quote: Emerson Pugh 3D Printing; what’s it all about? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20137791 www.ted.org.uk
If an atom is around 99.9% empty space, this means most of the world is made of nothing so all the matter that makes up the human race could fit into a sugar cube.
Blind people are only able to dream if they were able to see at some point in their life.
Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they develop into males first, and then mature to become females. If the female clownfish removed from the group, such as by death, one of the largest and most dominant males will become a female.
60-65 million years ago dolphins and humans shared a common ancestor.
Right handed people, on average, live 9 years longer than left handed people.
A thimble full of a neutron star would weigh more than 100 million tonnes.