Inspire Magazine - Lent 2024

Page 1

inspire Lent 2024

Editorial This issue of Inspire, which is the magazine of Marlborough College’s academic scholars, contains a wide range of articles. This edition exhibits politics, science, art, music and literature, which showcases the wide array of talents and breadth that the scholars at Marlborough have to offer. Earlier this term the Scholars Dinner took place. 95 scholars and teachers across the school were able to attend and we all had the honour of welcoming Julian Orbach, the architectural historian, as our guest speaker. We also look forward to the forthcoming publication of Games which will be a substantial work based on the 150th anniversary of the cricket pavilion. Inspire was started in 2017 by the Sixth Form academic scholars and since then has given an incredible opportunity for scholars across the school to widen their interests and explore new ideas. We hope that you enjoy this magazine as much as we have enjoyed editing it and we look forward to producing the next edition.

Thank You We would like to thank Mrs. Doxford for taking care of the printing and Mrs. Jordan for helping us create the online version of this publication. Thank you to Mr. Moule for making this possible and giving us this wonderful opportunity to edit and take charge of Inspire. Finally, thank you to all the scholars that wrote articles for this edition, this wouldn’t be possible without you. Dani, Tilly, Xanthe and Milly.

Contents Is immersive art the future or a phase? Arabella M (L6)


Has the Yemen War been neglected by the Media? Annabel S (Re)


The science of caffeine Leo F (L6)


Was William Shakespeare a feminist? Tali S (Re)


Are race-based university admissions right? Lewis M (Re)


Why are autoimmune diseases becoming more common? Matilda B (Sh)


Music in Nature Santiago F (Re)


How has governmental policy influenced the North-South divide in England? Martha S (L6)


The impact of Artificial Intelligence on society Ollie F (Re)


What were the main reasons behind the failure of the Spanish Armada? Alice DRDB (L6)


The life cycle of a Star Rhea S (Sh)


Why are all famous artists poverty stricken? Camilla G (Re)


Which variation of communism was the most successful? Henry W (Sh)


Phosphorescence vs fluorescence James F (L6)


Why is the Mona Lisa so famous? Daisy G (Re)



Is immersive art the future or a phase? Arabella M (L6) Immersion is the act of deep mental involvement with an object or experience, as if pulled into its universe, losing your sense of personal perception in the process. £1.4 billion was generated by the UK immersive entertainment industry in 2022, displaying the sheer desirability of immersive experiences as a unique way to devour and explore artwork. Will this growing industry replace traditional art, where artists are able to express themselves through physical, nondigital art to produce their final project? Or will the emergence of immersive art be another digital trend with traditional art once again taking centre stage when we tire of this phase?

installation, Infinity Mirror Room: Phalli’s Field transforming the intense repetition from her previous sewn sculptures into a perceptual experience. Kusama as well as Gustav Metzger, a polish artist who worked in London in 1965, can be seen as two of the first immersive artists, creating a new perception to how the audience views and experiences their art.

“There is a role for the traditional art setting, but it has built itself on exclusivity,” – Sean Di Ianni. Traditional artwork has developed itself a pretentious stigma, where art feeds on the juxtaposition of publicity and inaccessibility to create a spiral of affectation where art ownership adds price but not value to pieces. Contemporary and traditional pieces are sold and owned through social status and affluence of both galleries and private ownership, generating a cyclic exclusivity of who can enjoy the art and the value the works hold. Traditional galleries ask you to hide phones or cameras, as if the artwork is a secret meant only the eyes of those in the room. Or else it is locked away in private collections for the view of solely the affluent and well connected. But is art not a meant as a tool for public consumption to provoke emotion and discussion?

However, immersive exhibitions did not gain the popularity they now hold until around 2015 when a series of Van Gogh experiences toured major China cities such as Shanghai and Beijing creating appeal to the modern audience in the modern world and arriving in Spitalfields in 2019. This new way to experience art, far from the galleries of the 1900s, drew in a fresh audience and began the popularity of the digital art revolution. This idea was exacerbated during the Covid lockdows when people gained the mentality of wanting to experience more personally rather than as a bystander in a museum. Growing up in a fast moving technological world, audiences crave the sensory overload that immersion gives and that they lacked during the months of lockdown. The unique stimulation developed in immersive exhibitions can create a desirable and rare perceptual experience. The scale and ability to be enveloped by the moving sensory experience is stimulating and novel, and for

Immersive exhibitions are not a new interest for the art industry, Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama has been creating immersive works since the 1960s, with her most famous


world of imagination is boundless” ( Jean-Jacques Rousseau). Traditional art has helped us explore beyond the boundaries of everyday life, so why should this idea of creativity be removed so ‘trendier’ immersive exhibitions can increase commercial profit?

many an emotively touching event fuelling the growing audience to experience immersive art. Conversely, despite being seen as ‘more accessible’ by the public immersive art creates its own economic barrier where tickets cost between £25-50 whereas many traditional galleries are free of charge. An element of social exclusivity surrounds immersive art where the works target younger, more ’Instagram-able’ generations and the experience that is meant to be widely enjoyed becomes too technological and inaccessible for the ‘dated’ ideas of the traditionally older art audience. Kandinsky discusses that “There is no must in art because art is free”, yet the world of art, society creates, is full of inaccessibility and pretentiousness and although modern immersive exhibitions are said to remove this, they create their own stigma, out casting anyone who does not fit the desired attributes.

Immersive art creates an incredibly unique perception of artwork and although it does have its draw backs, whether it is a socioeconomic stigma or guidance of the subconscious, I do not believe it is a phase. Immersive exhibitions have the ability to bind artists and audience with a connective energy as they view a work through the same lens, focusing on the stimulation desired to gain a desired effect. However, immersive art will never replace traditional art as both forms of exhibition are incomparable with their aims, emotive powers, and target audience.

Immersive art is designed to create thought and a unique perspective of artists work, although much of it encourages passivity; happening to us rather than compelling our own engagement. A.D. Posey argued, ‘Every work of art tells a story’, yet immersive art shows you the answer, disallowing you to lose yourself in someone else’s creation as you are told what to feel, how the artist feels or even the meaning of the piece, taking away the audience’s inimitable creative journey with a single artwork. As humans we hold the irreplaceable power of our subconscious where we will always imagine and create, filling in missing details to develop our personal view on everything we perceive. This is why movie adaptations often fall short of matching the thrill of the physical book, as your interpretation is taken from you and put into the words of the director. Immersive art takes the same element of personal imagination from traditional artworks, the audience are no longer creating their own opinions or stories of art but are forced to read the same understandings as perceived by one person. “The world of reality has its limits; the


Has the Yemen War been neglected by the Media? Annabel S (Re) In 2018 the United Nations stated that the Yemen War was ‘the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet’. From late 2014 to the presentday innocent people, ancient cities and the economy of Yemen have been killed as a result of the war. As a consequence of the turmoil, Yemen has gone from the heart of ancient Arabia to one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. To begin with the crisis received a considerable amount of press in 2014, however with fighting continuing it’s interesting to consider how much press coverage has been reduced and to ask why this might be?

After this the Saudi Arabians pushed to return Hadi to power and they had three key reasons for doing this; to protect the Saudi Arabian border, to stop Yemen from fragmenting and finally to prevent any Iranian influence on the region, due to the great political rivalry between the two powers at the time. Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen, using air strikes, bombing hospitals and schools, and killing many innocent people. As well as obvious attacks the Saudis also used aid as a weapon; creating a land, sea, and air barriers, meaning that supplies and help could not enter or leave the country and to further worsen the situation cholera was spreading throughout the population.

During the summer of 2011 the public of Yemen rose up against Ali Abdul Saleh, who had been the President since 1990, the Yemenis protested due to unemployment and corruption all over the country, but particularly in the capital, Sanaa. Alongside the GCC, Saudi Arabia saw the civil unrest in Yemen and enforced a new government. Hadi was chosen as the new President, however the citizens of Yemen believed that their country was now being governed and controlled by the GCC.

In 2017 the Houthi and Saleh alliance broke down after fighting together for three years. This led to a group of extreme Houthis assassinating the former president, leaving them in control of Sanaa. This caused the war to become extremely complex, as many powers were already involved and this separation of the two Yemeni parties meant that the war was now also civil. To make matters worse Saudi Arabia then began to consider the possibility that the Houthis were being supported by Iran because of a sudden rise in power and resources, as well as Iran being the biggest Shia power in the region and religion is always trivial in politics in the West, but even more so in the Middle East. Despite this Iran denied backing the Houthis militarily. In 2018 a great and prominent oil facility in Saudi Arabia was destroyed during an air strike, although the Houthis took the blame for this, Iran was thought to be the source of the bomb. Developing the belief of Iran and the Houthis being either politically or militarily interlinked. Within a short space of time

The Shia Muslim people of Northern Yemen formed a military rebellion called the Houthi insurgency, the original purpose of this was to protest the corruption within Saleh’s government. However, when the GCC introduced Hadi and the new government they argued that they had been marginalised and their fight against Saleh and his supporters was side lined. This lead the Houthis and Saleh to become allies and they took control of the capital in 2014, causing President Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.


potentially directly affected by events in the Middle East. Therefore, it is hard to believe that Western societies would have missed the signalling from as prominent a figure as the American President. Distance is then perhaps an inadequate explanation for our media to neglect the Yemen war, especially in a world where we can all move around so quickly. The media could also be limiting coverage of the Yemen war because of the misinformed public and its indifferent outlook. Many uneducated and uncultured people of the West view Middle Easterns and the entire Muslim faith as violent and fanatical due to events such as terrorist attacks. Firstly these views are obviously completely unfair as a whole faith cannot be badly regarded due to a very small percentage of their people; this should also not be a reason for the war not to be broadcast as this view should certainly not be taken by news programmes or presenters, whose role is to inform and educate the public and furthermore the people who work in and control the media are by definition educated and aware of world affairs.

the situation had become a diplomatic crisis involving two of the most powerful states in the Middle East. Events like this have continued to occur from 2018 to the present day, but they have not been featured frequently in the news or on the internet. This clearly should not be happening as many innocent people are being killed, due to the merciless nature of this war and it is essential that the population of Western countries are aware of what is happening in the East and third world countries. Recently a few articles have been published by the BBC and CNN for their digital news platforms but mostly on Middle Eastern news sites, however the combat has not been majorly televised or headlined in the newspaper for years, meaning that many people of the general public are not aware that so many people are being killed and some not even aware of the war happening. In 2022 it was announced by the UN that over 150,000 people had been killed in Yemen and an estimated 227,000 more because of famine and lack of healthcare. Why is such a large crisis, causing so many deaths not being sufficiently covered by the media?

Alliances could also have a huge impact on the situation and cause the war, that already involves many countries and different political parties, to escalate into another world war and with today’s nuclear weapon development we really need to avoid this happening. Britain is a large ally of Saudi Arabia and if they started to become more involved it could result in many British men going to the Middle East to fight and very possibly many other countries supporting Britain and therefore Saudi Arabia. Usually this probably would have happened, however due to the complexity regarding the fact that the war is civil within Yemen but also includes external powers, this was not the case. Whilst global alliances and geopolitics are clearly at the centre of the situation, they don’t in themselves explain a fundamental lack of coverage in the media.

There are several possible reasons why this could be happening. It could be merely geographical, as Yemen is so far away the West might feel that the war will not affect them. However, when President Trump was in office his rhetoric about Iran’s behaviour would have made it abundantly clear that the West was

In today’s global society commerce is rarely far from the centre of things. With


international oil and energy supply interlinked with the interests of Saudi Arabia, Iran and the wider Middle East, Western interaction with these countries is complex and delicate. Western powers cannot afford for oil supply to be disrupted or to surge in cost, meaning that they will often adopt a very soft line with any country that is heavily involved with their trade, even if there are humanitarian concerns at stake with a civil war. With the ‘petrodollar’ being the life blood of the West’s leading economy, Middle Eastern states arguably hold disproportionate power behind the scenes.

Saudi Arabia became involved, as well as political motives the majority of Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim, the Houthis of Yemen and Iran are Shia Muslim and these two groups have partaken in conflict throughout history and continue to do so. The Israel Palestine conflict has headlines in every newspaper and is a topic of great prominence and distress around the world, this is similar to Yemen in 2014 but over nine years news coverage has slowly decreased. If fighting does continue in Israel Palestine, will it result in the same lack of coverage?

To gain a better understanding of the media’s attitude towards the war in Yemen we need to consider the extent to which big businesses, ruling powers and those who control the media have all become intertwined in the 21st century. There has been much debate in recent times about who controls the media and whether impartiality has been lost. With media outlets and titles being acquired by large corporations, and those corporations being headed by individuals, investment groups and national sovereign wealth funds, it’s plausible that media coverage can be easily manipulated to serve the interest of shareholders and stake holders. When you consider the media’s recent and ongoing indifference to Yemen in this light, it starts to look more sinister in nature.

Since the beginning of the strikes on Gaza, the Houthis have threatened to strike Israel if it does not stop attacking the people of Gaza and on Thursday the 19th of October a US submarine intercepted a number of missiles and drones launched from North Yemen , an area controlled by the Houthis, directed towards Israel. This new threat from the Houthis has gained some press in the media on Yemen and therefore will hopefully draw attention to the crisis within the country.

More importantly let’s return to the humanitarian crisis and the moral case for more help and attention from the West. The Yemen war is in this case comparable to the current events happening in Israel and Palestine. Although the original cause is not similar, both conflicts are in the Middle East, and both have experienced tension between sides for many years prior to the conflict. Despite the fact that most like to think that religion does not create violence in the modern world, it still very much does, Israel is Jewish and has fought with Palestine, a mostly Muslim country, for many years in order to regain more of the ‘Holy Lands’; to begin with the Yemen War was civil and political, however when

I firmly believe that the Yemen war has been neglected by the media and indeed the West. Considering the large number of innocent deaths and how Yemen is developing as a country, the war should be broadcasted and written about by all news channels, so that the public become aware of what is happening. Many of the potential reasons that the war is not being covered could be resolved if all broadcasts are kept neutral. No conflict or crisis resulting in the death of so many people should remain unknown to the general public.


The science of caffeine Leo F (L6) Adenosine is a molecule that is released as a by-product of the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during respiration. The more physical and mental strain you accumulate throughout the day, the more your cells respire to produce energy and therefore the greater the build-up of adenosine in the brain and body. Within the brain, adenosine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter; a nervous system depressant that prevents many processes associated with wakefulness from occurring. Consequently, as this molecule builds up in our brain and body throughout the day, it causes feelings of tiredness – a mechanism known as “sleep drive” or “sleep pressure”.

thus increase attentiveness. One study showed the efficacy of caffeine by proving that the likelihood of cognitive failures and accidents in night workers consuming over 220mg a day were 50% lower than placebo. However, it important to note that the benefits of caffeine do not come without their drawbacks. Whilst research on the exact effect that caffeine has on sleep is limited, a small-scale study in 2013 did investigate it. It discovered that caffeine consumption as early as 6 hours prior to bed resulted in effects such as a 1.18hour reduction in total sleep time and a 22.54 minute (2.76%) decrease in the time spent in slow wave sleep relative to placebo. Over several nights, this can reduce daytime function and begin a cycle where you reach to more caffeine later in the day in order to feel more awake and thereby further disrupt your sleep. To minimise the effect of caffeine on your sleep, Dr Matthew Walker recommends having your last dose at least 8 - but ideally 10 – hours from when we aim to go to bed. The potential drawbacks of caffeine do not stop there, however. Adenosine is cleared out of the brain during sleep and in the first 60-90 minutes after waking for most people. Drinking caffeine before this residual adenosine has been cleared can lead to an “afternoon crash” – a large decrease in energy and motivation which the majority will experience between 1-3pm. This phenomenon occurs because, when the caffeine begins to be removed from your system, you are hit with a sudden “avalanche” of adenosine that consists of both the residue from the previous day, as well as the build-up in the 6 hours or so post caffeine consumption. However, this can be easily avoided by simply delaying morning caffeine intake until 90-120 minutes after waking.

One of the main factors that affects the build-up of adenosine is caffeine - the most consumed psychoactive stimulant in the world. Its similar structure to adenosine allows it to bind to the A1 and A2A receptors, thereby blocking adenosine itself from latching onto them and communicating with the brain to induce feelings of tiredness. At the same time, however, caffeine also upregulates excitatory neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine (which are associated with increased motivation and alertness respectively) causing a net increase in brain activity and


In conclusion, it is evident that caffeine has properties that cause it to be both a “devil” and an “angel”. Whilst it can be tremendously beneficial for our wakefulness, failure to time our consumption of the stimulant properly can have an equally detrimental effect on our sleep. It is therefore paramount that we understand how the drug works in order to minimise any negative effects that it may have.


Was William Shakespeare a feminist? Tali S (Re) William Shakespeare, often thought of as the greatest playwright in the English language, lived during a time when gender roles were deeply ingrained throughout society. The question of whether Shakespeare can be considered a feminist has been a subject of much debate among scholars and literary enthusiasts. While some argue that his works reflect a progressive stance on gender issues, others contend that his plays are filled with patriarchal norms. To unravel this question, we must delve into the depths of Shakespeare’s plays and the historical context and time in which he wrote. One of the key aspects that critics point to in defence of Shakespeare’s feminist leanings is the complexity of his female characters. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Shakespeare portrayed his women with depth, intelligence, and agency. Characters like Lady Macbeth, Rosalind in As You Like It, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing defy the stereotypical portrayal of women in Elizabethan drama. These women exhibit a level of wit, resilience, and independence that challenges traditional gender norms.

expectations and providing commentary on the restrictive nature of societal norms. Her ability to navigate the complexities of love and courtship while in disguise showcases a level of intelligence and agency not often attributed to female characters in the literature of the time.

In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth calls upon supernatural forces, pleading to be stripped of her femininity and filled with cruelty. Her passionate soliloquy in act 1, scene 5, highlights her ambition and challenges the conventional expectations imposed on women during Shakespeare’s time. The depth and complexity of Lady Macbeth’s character in this scene contribute to the argument that Shakespeare, through such portrayals, demonstrated a nuanced understanding of the constraints faced by women in his society.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that Shakespeare’s works are not devoid of problematic elements when viewed through a feminist lens. The comedies, in particular, often rely on cross-dressing and mistaken identities, reinforcing the idea that gender roles are performative and can be easily manipulated for comedic effect. While this may be interpreted as a subversion of gender norms, it also

Similarly, Rosalind in As You Like It takes on the guise of a man, challenging gender


highlights the belief that true empowerment for women can only be achieved through adopting traditionally masculine traits.

In conclusion, the question of whether Shakespeare was a feminist is complex and has a somewhat unclear answer. While his works exhibit a remarkable understanding of the struggles faced by women in a patriarchal society, they also reflect the limitations of his time. Shakespeare’s feminist credentials are perhaps best described as ambivalent – he challenges gender norms in some instances while perpetuating them in others. The writer’s legacy continues to be a subject of exploration and interpretation, inviting us to reconsider the complexities of gender representation in his timeless plays.

Moreover, the endings of many of Shakespeare’s plays tend to reinforce conventional notions of heterosexual unions and domesticity. The resolution of the plots often sees the female characters embracing their roles as wives and mothers, conforming to societal expectations rather than challenging them. This conventional conclusion has led some critics to argue that Shakespeare, despite his progressive characterizations, ultimately upholds the status quo.


Are race-based university admissions right? Lewis M (Re) On the 29th of June 2023, a vote of 6-3 from the Supreme Court reversed a ruling of racebased affirmative action in United States universities. This ruling has shifted the race demographic of many universities as well as any prospects joining on the horizon. This article will explore whether it was ‘right’ to do so, and what the UK has done, with the ‘Students for Fair Admissions vs. Harvard’ diversity lawsuit as a case study.

the plaintiff. They also agreed that the use of race in which the schools attempted to reach diversity was not helping to develop intellectual diversity and future leadership, rather, supporting their purported goals. Some figures like Donald Trump (former president of the US), Tim Scott (Republican Senator) and Ron DeSantis (Florida Governor) agree with the outcome, with Mike Pence (former vice president of the US) stating that “There is no place for discrimination based on race in the United States, and I am pleased that the Supreme Court has put an end to this”.

The Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff ’s side (Students for Fair Admissions) due to the equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment. The Chief of Justice, John Roberts, wrote that the law applies “without regard to any difference of race, of colour, or of nationality”, forming a strong motive towards

Whilst some agree with the turnout of the lawsuit, it seems most are unhappy with the current ruling. Some who oppose the

Supporters of affirmative action protested near the Supreme Court building in Washington after the ruling was announced. Kenny Holston/The New York Times


decision are large groups of Afro-Americans and Latin-Americans who have felt oppressed by the ruling and some important figures such as Joe Biden (current president of the US), Barak Obama (former president of the US) and his wife, Michelle Obama. A large majority of Universities in the US were also quick to release statements of their grievances, with Rice University calling the ruling “Disappointing.”

NHS. The Scotland Police have recently held events, most notably their ‘women-only’ police recruitment, where women are encouraged to join the female-underrepresented parts of the force, hoping to inspire more women to the career of policing. In conclusion, I believe that it is not right for a person to be denied admission, whether it be work or study, based on their race and heritage. Race is something people cannot control as they are predetermined at birth and denying someone based on a factor which they cannot change is considered morally wrong. Universities all around the world should be looking at other factors of the potential student, such as their intelligence and work ethic rather than denying a student because another candidate had the ‘right’ skin colour for their diversity quota.

Under the Equality Act of 2010, affirmative action has been stopped in the UK, as it promotes “Positive discrimination”. However, the UK did create a new term called Positive Action, which is the same as affirmative action, however, it is not compulsory but highly frowned upon if not done. Some examples of this are campaigns such as the NHS 2018 ‘stepping up program’, in which they provided incentives for ethnic minorities joining the


Why are autoimmune diseases becoming more common? Matilda B (Sh) Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s natural immune system can not differentiate between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to attack and destroy healthy body tissues by mistake. Autoimmune diseases now affect around one in ten individuals, with around 75% of those individuals being women. There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases, and some well-known examples include type 1 diabetes, Raynaud’s, coeliac disease, vitiligo and lupus. Scientists still do not fully understand the immune system and therefore what causes these diseases. However, there is knowledge of several triggers which play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. These triggers include bacteria, viruses, toxins, hormones, stress, and some drugs. As well as this, autoimmune diseases tend to run in families, and this means certain genes make autoimmune diseases more likely. Once you have an autoimmune disease, you are likely to get another.

In recent years, autoimmune diseases have become more and more common. James Lee, who researches autoimmune diseases at London’s Francis Crick Institute, told the Observer, “Numbers of autoimmune cases began to increase about 40 years ago in the west, however, we are now seeing some emerge in countries that never had such diseases before”. A UK study in The Lancet looked at more than 22 million individuals and found a 22% increase in new diagnoses over a 19-year period of study. Internationally, it is now estimated that cases of autoimmune diseases are rising at a rate of between 3% and 9% a year. The question is, if human genetics haven’t changed over past few decades, why is this the case? Most scientists believe that environmental factors are the key player causing this rise. If genetics are not changing, then it makes sense that something must be changing in the outside world which is increasing our predisposition to


autoimmune disease. One commonly suggested idea is that changes in diets may have something to do with the rise, in particular western-style diets and fast food.

In conclusion, autoimmune diseases are rising as time moves on. Although this is likely due to environmental changes, it is very important to deal with this issue at a genetic level. There are hundreds of DNA variants which can trigger autoimmune diseases and identifying these genetic patterns can help to better group and treat people who suffer with these diseases. As the amount of people who suffer from autoimmune diseases continues to grow, as does the number of people who face surgery or treatment which will be necessary for the rest of their lives. Currently, the most important thing to focus on is finding and treating autoimmune diseases in the most effective manner possible.

Fast-food diets lack many important ingredients, and evidence suggests this alteration may have a negative effect on a person’s microbiome. A microbiome is the collection of microorganisms which reside within our guts and play a very important role in health, for example by helping control digestion and benefiting the immune system. These changes in the microbiome are then triggering more autoimmune diseases. Despite this, individual susceptibility is really at the heart of the issue, and if you do not have this genetic susceptibility, you will not necessarily develop and autoimmune disease, no matter how much fast-food you eat.


Music in Nature Santiago F (Re) Music has been a source of entertainment for people for hundreds of years. Today, people listen to music constantly and it is one of the biggest industries in the world. From Bach during the baroque period, to Freddie Mercury in the 20th century, music has adapted yet still remains prominent in our lives. Nature however uses music in a way humans could never. They use it to communicate, attract mates and for navigation. Some of the most famous pieces of music was inspired by nature, whether it is the rustling leaves or the trumpets of the elephants, they can all be interpreted into music.

showing the versatility of their communication with music. In the sea, whales and dolphins both communicate with songs. Humpback whales are well known for their songs and in general, whale songs are very famous and occur in the mating season. Males sing to attract mates and establish dominance and the longer and more complex the song is, the fitter and healthier the male is. Most songs are roughly ten to twenty minutes long however the longest songs are up to an hour long, repeating the same phrases (chorus) several times. Scientists use hydrophones to detect the music which is vital in helping scientists track and estimate the distribution, population, and behaviour of different species.

In my opinion, the most spectacular example of songs in nature are birdsongs. Early in the morning, you can hear their beautiful songs and canaries, nightingales and mockingbirds are well known for this. However, their songs have a much greater purpose. Their songs mark their territory. They may be near food, water and maybe shelter and want to protect it from other birds. Birds also compete for mates by singing, warning away potential competitors and attracting potential partners. Birds also sing communicate danger to other birds when there are predators around,

Dolphins don’t exactly make music, but instead they click and make whistle sounds to communicate. Their level of communication is spectacular. Dolphins can communicate from roughly 400 meters away and using echolocation, a method of ‘seeing’ with sounds, can detect objects and animals from 200 meters away. They use echolocation to hunt, and it is vital for navigation in murky or dark waters. Echolocation is done by the dolphin emitting a clicking sound and the sound waves bouncing off objects and reflecting them back to the


More famously, Beethoven’s 6th Symphony is complete with bird calls and creates the image of a countryside landscape. Music is often said to be ‘Our umbilical cord to Mother Nature,’ describing the deep connection between the wild and music. The howling wind, flow of water, falling rain are all examples of how even inanimate things can create music which has inspired our musicians even today as music becomes more modern. In conclusion, music and nature go hand in hand. Animals communicate using it and several animals like bats and dolphins use it to navigate. There are hundreds of animals I haven’t talked about in this article which play music for purposes and for their own entertainment. All things in the wild create music and the beauty of it is the reason that people all around the world play and listen to music. In my opinion, music is an amazing way of expressing oneself and is truly nature’s universal language.

dolphins and the receiver of the sound waves, which is in the lower jaw, interprets them like an antenna would. Dolphins demonstrate a high level of intelligence when doing this and it is a very effective practice. Nature has also inspired several of the most spectacular pieces of music that have ever been made. La Mer by Claude Debussy perfectly captures the ebb and flow of the sea, ultimately creating a beautiful piece of classical music.


How has governmental policy influenced the North-South divide in England ? Martha S (L6) The North-South divide in England can be tracked back as far as 1066 and is defined as the difference in wage, opportunity, and standard of living between the North and the South of England. It can be argued that largely due to the position of London, the ‘economic hub of the UK,’ people who live in the South have a much higher quality of life and receive an unfair advantage. An example of this would be the 1.8-year difference in life expectancy for women in 2019, between London and the North-East. It is also true that half of all foreign direct investment projects go to London and the South-East, demonstrating a stark contrast and inequality between the two regions.

stereotype includes the North being deemed as a place viewed less attractive to live. This, however, dissuades people from migrating there and encourages movement further south. Less people living there can also result in a lack of investment which the government has also been blamed for. It is stated that if the North had the same investment levels as London itself, it would have an additional £61 billion in spending over the last five years which would make a significant impact and could improve both infrastructure and public transport. Furthermore, with the high levels of transport poverty in the North, the government has been accused of intensifying the divide by not addressing it, for example the installation of the Elizabeth Line running from Reading to London in the South. People in the South are able to access up to seven times as many jobs in comparison to those living in the North just due to public transport. In the North, people are forced to turn down jobs due to problems with travel, and some are choosing to drive or take taxis which cost most of their salary for that day anyway.

Whilst the government claims to be trying to tackle this issue, many believe that it is exacerbating the divide. Rishi Sunak has recently announced in the Conservative Party conference in early October 2023 that the Government will not be continuing the HS2 project any further than Birmingham. This means that the connection from London to the North stays minimal, limiting job prospects there and encouraging migration to the South. Moreover, Tony Blair introduced the London Challenge in 2003, that aimed to improve education in schools in London by limiting the number of schools classed as ‘underperforming,’ and improve education outcomes for disadvantaged students. This caused uproar as London schools were already severely more advantaged than schools further north, as 94% of them are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education) in comparison to 86% in the whole of the UK, therefore accentuating the inequality gap.

In evaluation, recent governmental policies appear to have worsened the NorthSouth divide in England. The abandonment of HS2, limited investment and problems with transport poverty are not strong evidence of a government willing to make sacrifices to other areas of the country to support this issue. In contrast to the above, whilst there are incidents of the government seemingly limiting progress of the North, there are examples of policy that have looked to address the problem. An example would be the devolution of power away from Westminster. 90% of public spending within the North is controlled in London,

The government has been blamed for a limited effort to tackle the stereotype of the North. This


and to tackle this the government have created mayors of major northern cities like Manchester. These mayors are more powerful than local MPs and therefore can have more influence on Westminster when expressing their opinions.

Whilst the government have made cuts to what would have helped the North by connecting them to London like HS2, the MIT of the North scheme, devolution of power, levelling up fund and tax incentives have shown the government’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life for those in the North, providing travel improvements and additional job opportunities.

The government have also created The Northern Powerhouse Partnership in 2016, which was proposed to improve transport links, support new investments in science and innovation and aimed to help expand the devolution of power further. If this project is successful it aims to create over 250,000 jobs in the North by 2030 which would drastically improve the economy and lead to the multiplier effect as people would have a higher disposable income. In addition, the government have also brought in the MIT of the North. This refers to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and it is a proposal to improve technology and research in the North, instead of it solely being in London, Oxford and Cambridge. This would lead to more people being able to do their research further north, preventing southern migration, and would also open more job opportunities.

To conclude, governmental policies have had significant implications on the North-South divide in England. Whilst it can be argued that they have intensified the situation due to the cancellation of HS2 coupled with the lack of investment and transport poverty, they have also made significant changes to policies in aid of minimising the evident difference in quality of life. Tax incentives for businesses included in the levelling up project and the installation of science and business parks encourage businesses to remain and not migrate further south, creating jobs and much needed opportunity for the North. Furthermore, devolution of power is also an additive as it means that people in the North are further represented and are able to have deeper influence over Westminster decreasing the gap between the North and the South of England.

Moreover, the government have introduced tax incentives and grants for new businesses starting up in the North and discouraging them to move further south. They have also used the opening of extra science and business parks close to universities to help encourage businesses to start up in the North as well, an example being the Cobalt Business Park in Newcastle. This is similar to their £4.8 billion levelling up project, announced in November 2020 by the Conservative Party, which aims to provide grants and benefits for the investment projects as well as improvements in infrastructure and affordable housing. Although the further extension of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester has been cancelled, Rishi Sunak has claimed that the additional £36 billion saved that would have been spent will go to improving travel routes across the UK, but particularly in cities where driving is becoming less frequent. Therefore, reducing transport poverty in the North, where improvements are needed.


The impact of Artificial Intelligence on society Ollie F (Re) Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves creating intelligent machines that can perform humanlike tasks. There are two main types of AI: Narrow or weak AI, which is a type of AI that is designed and trained for a particular task, or a set of closely related tasks. Weak AI excels in performing specific tasks. However, it’s intelligence is limited to a small range. General or strong AI is a type of AI that represents a more advanced form of artificial intelligence that can understand, learn, and apply intelligence across a wide range of tasks, which is similar to human intelligence.

shopping experience. Automations helps optimize inventory levels, reducing stockout and overstock situations. AI has a large social impact. It has massively changed education by providing personalized learning and online courses. AI can also automatically grade work, allowing educators to focus more on providing constructive feedback and individualized support to students.

AI has evolved significantly since its birth in 1956. During 1970-80 progress slowed due to high expectations, limited computing power, and a decrease in funding. This period of time was known as ‘AI Winter’. From then on, the growth of AI has been rapid, and the field continues to evolve. The impact of artificial intelligence on society is it’s affecting various aspects of our daily life, the economy, and human relationships.

AI applications in healthcare have the potential to revolutionise the industry by using many different methods such as personalised medicine. AI helps analyse genetic data, patient histories, and other factors to enhance treatment plans. This method increases treatment efficacy and minimizes adverse effects. Another method AI uses is diagnostic imaging. AI algorithms can analyse medical images, such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to assist radiologists in detecting abnormalities and making more accurate diagnoses. The potential for AI to exacerbate existing social inequalities is a significant concern that needs to be carefully managed. The risks that may affect groups within society include bias in algorithms. Which means AI systems which are trained on vast datasets may contain inherent biases and include historical prejudices. This can lead to discriminatory outcomes and groups taking offence.

The economic impacts of AI are both beneficial and harmful to people. For example, AI can cause job displacements due to it being more reliable and profitable. There has been a rise of AI-powered automation in various industries, including finance and banking, where AI uses algorithms to analyse market trends and execute trades at speeds frequently impossible for human traders, which influences the financial markets. AI is also used to identify unusual patterns and potential fraud in financial transactions, therefore enhancing security measures. Another industry where AI-powered automation is used, is in retail. AI algorithms analyse consumer behaviour and preferences to offer personalised product recommendations, which enhances the overall


data from various sources such as social media and public sources poses as a threat to privacy, which many individuals are unaware of. Another serious privacy concern is the use of biometric data, including facial recognition technology. The widespread deployment of this technology I public can potentially lead to a loss of personal freedom. In conclusion, the impact of AI on society is an ongoing process that requires careful investigation. While there are many challenges included in AI, I believe that the potential for positive change is much more significant and massively outweighs the downsides. the future of AI not only lies in the advancement of technology but also in our capability of using it for good purposes which will have a positive impact on this world.

AI is also increasingly being used in predictive policing and criminal justice decision making, and historical biases may lead to unjust outcomes, with certain communities facing unfair consequences. Privacy concerns are also a major concern among many people in AI. AI systems often rely on extensive data sets to learn and make predictions. The constant collection of personal


What were the main reasons behind the failure of the Spanish Armada? Alice DRDB (L6) In 1588, the Spaniards, under King Philip II’s rule, launched an invasion of England in an attempt to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and revert the country to Catholicism. The Armada which set out from Lisbon consisted of a fleet of 150 ships and Philip was also motivated by the prospect of asserting Spain’s position as the biggest European superpower by conquering England. The beacons were lit quickly once the fleet had been spotted and Sir Francis Drake was soon ready to challenge the invaders. After just eight hours of fighting the Spanish troops were forced to retreat and embark on the perilous journey home across the North Sea. So how is it that the English were able to defend themselves so effectively against a seemingly mighty fleet? Well, there are three main reasons to which one would attribute this victory: the English’s tactical strength, unfortunate weather and poor Spanish planning.

relied on this protection for the safety of the kingdom. The country had no standing army to rely on if any invaders made it onto the land, and they had very limited numbers of canons. But, with the naval forces which consisted of armed merchantmen and volunteers, led by Robert Dudley, they stood a decent chance against the already weakened Spanish army, having just endured a treacherous journey. John Hawkins had advised the Queen years prior that those English warships needed to be fast and readily available. New ships were built in the early 1570s called Galleons which fit the criteria. Knowing they couldn’t win a conventional battle against the Spanish; they launched a preemptive attack on the fleet and

The Armada was powerful, and successfully travelled across the Channel, safely reaching Calais in an intricate ‘crescentshaped formation’. Yet in the end, they were overcome, and only around half the ships made it back to their home ground. So how did such a threatening attack end in such tragic devastation? During one of the key moments of the Battle of Gravelines, the weather took a turn for the worse and the storm winds blew the ships northwards. It is clear that this misfortune was a larger element of their failure, as over 50 of their ships were lost as a result, whereas only six were affiliated with direct combat illustrating just how impactful this natural occurrence was. Queen Elizabeth had always been aware of England’s naval advantages and how much they


sailed flaming ships into the port. In a hurried, frantic attempt to escape this, the ships tried to get away but instead many crashed into one another which only deteriorated the situation.

plan was the integral role which the Duke of Parma was to play. He did not actually own any deep seaports and it would take 48 hours once news reached him of the Spanish arrival to prepare his navy, which was a considerable delay for the hungry forces. Due to many restrictions, it was difficult for communication to take place between the two, so once word reached Parma, it was already too late and there was nothing he could do, leaving the feeble Spanish troops solitary in the battle.

The Spanish leader of the attack was the Duke of Medina-Sidonia. Spanish boats were not very well supplied and after finally arriving in Calais after nearly ten weeks, food supplies had begun rotting due to the inferior wood used for the barrels. The last weakness of Philip’s


The life cycle of a Star Rhea S (Sh) All the stars in the universe are different sizes and will therefore have a slightly different life cycle. We have categorised the stages that stars can go through during their lifetime into two main paths. Our sun is one of the smaller stars in the universe, and therefore follows the first path. Currently, the sun is a main sequence star.

store of hydrogen runs out. Then the main sequence star turns into a red supergiant, continuing to undergo more fusion reactions but, without hydrogen, it now creates elements many times larger and heavier, similar to the red giant but on a much larger scale. The red supergiant then explodes into a supernova, and the outer layers of dust and gas are flung into space. If the star is of average size, the core is left behind after the supernova has exploded and is called a neutron star. However, if the star is much larger, the supernova creates a black hole.

A star is born when a cloud of matter gathers by chance to form a nebula. The change in gravity causes fusion reactions, turning the nebula into a protostar, which is not yet hot enough to give out light. The heat energy produced by fusing hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei turns the protostar into a main sequence star which now gives out light as well as heat because it has reached a much higher temperature. The main sequence star continues to create these fusion reactions until the core runs out of hydrogen. As the surface of the star cools down, the main sequence star turns into a red giant and heavy elements are formed in the core as lighter elements fuse together. Eventually, the red giant becomes unstable as it expands and becomes less dense. The star collapses to fill the space the superheating creates, decreasing in size until just the dense core remains. This happens because the star cannot keep up with its own pace, the fusion reactions taking place cannot supply enough heat to keep expanding, and the energy dissipates on the journey from the core to the surface of the star. The resultant form is called a white dwarf. Over time, the white dwarf loses all its energy as it radiates in the form of light and there are no more fusion reactions taking place to replenish the energy. It ends up a black dwarf once it has lost the majority of its energy and no longer has a bright light.

Stars can be classified by size or colour. The size shows which life path the star is on, and the colour shows which stage it is at, and therefore its age. Very hot objects like stars emit visible light, and change colour according to their temperature. The temperature of stars is measured in K. K stands for Kelvin, a unit similar to the usual Celsius, but the scale starts at absolute zero, the temperature where nothing has any movement at all, even on a level as small as subatomic particles such as electrons. Absolute zero is approximately 273.15°C. Therefore, to convert Kelvin to Celsius, you simply subtract 273.15. A star is at its coldest when it is red, around 3500 K, then as it increases in temperature it goes through orange then yellow and white, and finally blue once it reaches 10,000 K.

Larger stars have a similar life cycle, starting in the same way, until the main sequence star’s


New elements are formed in the cores of stars, in fusion reactions. The intense temperatures and gravity force the nuclei to join, creating new, heavier elements, such as hydrogen nuclei fusing to create helium nuclei. This is the smallest, and therefore most common, fusion reaction, taking place in the centre of main sequence stars. Once all the hydrogen has been ‘used up’, larger reactions take place, involving heavier elements such as carbon, iron and even elements so heavy and unstable that they do not remain intact long enough for us to have ‘discovered’ them and put them in the Periodic Table.

However, if we did manage to create a fusion reaction, it would generate far more energy than any other existing power source, and it would be much safer than the similar nuclear fission (the splitting of atomic nuclei) as it would require small, stable elements like hydrogen rather than huge, reactive elements such as Uranium. The elements that are formed do not just remain in the core of the star. They are distributed in supernovas, the huge explosions that take place when a red supergiant dies, giving life to other bodies in space. All the elements on Earth will have come from the deaths of stars billions of years ago and millions of lightyears away. The clouds of gas and dust left over eventually collect back together and form a new nebula, restarting the life cycle of the stars.

Humankind have tried to recreate this unique process here on Earth. So far as we know, fusion reactions only take place in the cores of stars, as they are the only places that have sufficient gravity and high temperatures.


Why are all famous artists poverty stricken? Camilla G (Re) method of promoting and selling him and his art. Furthermore, Van Gogh lacked formal art education. Unlike many other artists who were taught at prestigious academies, Van Gogh was self-taught. In the 1880s, Art Nouveau was introduced and quickly spread across Europe and America. However, Van Gogh’s style (post-impressionism which became popular a few decades after his death) was considered vulgar and ‘illegible’ compared to the other movements. This is perhaps the reason why Van Gogh’s paintings were only prominent a few years after his death, and as his tale spread across the whole world, he began to attract more and more attention until an unnoticeable painter became one of the most influential artists in history. The Kiss (1907-1908), Gustavia Klimt – The Starry Night (1889), Van Gogh – Post Notable work from Art Nouveau era Impressionism.

Throughout history, we have come across many famous artists who were poverty stricken, and I’ve become more and more intrigued as to why this is. Though there are many exceptions – artists born into wealthy families, many artists who arguably impacted the whole world were often deprived. In this essay, I will be exploring the relationship between artists and their financial hardship, the reasons which were influential, as well as the anomalies to this rule. Vincent Van Gogh, an artist thought to be ineffectual until after his death, was poor throughout his life and succumbed to mental illness which led to suicide at the age of 37. Born in a Dutch village, Van Gogh’s family did not have the capability to support his career as an artist. Over a decade, he created approximately 2100 artworks, of which only one was known by name and sold during his lifetime. His art styles changed dramatically, from peasant labourers to brighter paintings of the natural field – olive groves, sunflowers, and wheat fields.

Often, the image of struggling artists is romanticised in culture. There is a misconception that all well-known artists are impoverished. The reason for this romanticisation is perhaps that poverty and struggle lead to creativity and meaningful pieces of work. Whilst often, ‘tortured’ artists tend to convey their difficulties through their pieces (thus making it appealing and vivid), the quality of one’s art is not restricted only to their poignant life; it is inspired by many factors,

But why was such a talented artist not recognised? Perhaps it was due to his delusions and psychotic episodes, or his introverted personality. Van Gogh was unsociable and did not have many friends; he had scarcely any


including culture, personal experience, and there proves to be many exceptions.

early 20th century, such as Cubism, Fauvism and abstract art. As he continued to produce significant amount of works, he gained access to exhibitions and galleries where he could later on achieve recognition.

Some artists have achieved great fame and success during their lives. For instance, Paul Cézanne, whose paintings were known across Europe in the early 1900s, was said to have bridged the gap between late 19thcentury and the early 20th century. Born at around the same time, the difference between Cézanne and Van Gogh were like the difference between heaven and earth. Cézanne was born into a wealthy family His father was a successful banker and his mother was a romantic and gave unconditional support to her son. Cézanne was born with a natural advantage; his starting point was the dream many others yearned for. Provided with education and enough money to pursue his passion, Cézanne was able to create works that influenced later movements of the

The fame and success of an artist is unpredictable, as it is affected by the society, economic factors, and biases or inequalities (race, gender, class etc.), but ultimately this is due to the arbitrariness of art. In the end, the quality of the artists is determined by the audience, therefore the traders, the rich and the client. The stereotype of poor artists being able to produce more creative pieces of work can be supported by many examples, even including musicians, authors and poets. Finally, I believe that all artists have the potential to achieve notability regardless of class, gender, race, or wealth.


Which variation of communism was the most successful? Henry W (Sh) Communism is an ideology that has spread far and wide over the last century, leading to the emergence of many different variants. In this essay I am going to go through some of the most impactful and well known of the variants of communism and decide which one was the most successful.

reconstruction of society. This ideology also suggests the need for the recognition of class struggle as the most important part for social development. Stalinism was created when Josef Stalin took control of the Soviet Union. While Stalinism had a few similarities to the core principles of communism, there were a few main differences. One big difference was the all-encompassing cult of personality that Stalin created around himself using various forms of propaganda. He depicted himself as the “Father of Nations”, as he believed it was better for the peasants to think that they were being ruled by a single person as he thought they could not comprehend the structure of power and governance in the Soviet Union. Another main difference was that the economic policies focused on rapid industrialization and agricultural collectivization led to significant social upheaval, including forced labour camps and famine which completely went against the principles of communism.

There are many different, diverse interpretations and implementations of communism, as it is a very complex ideology after all. However, there are a few core principles which resonate throughout all variants. The fundamental ideas include the ambition for a classless society, where the means of production are collectively controlled and owned. Additionally, there is the abolition of private property. Furthermore, at its core communism advocates for the end of social hierarchies.

Maoism, officially known as Mao Zedong Thought by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is a variety of communism created by Mao Zedong to assist a socialist revolution in China. Maoism was the military and political ideology in China from 1959 all the way until his death in 1976. Maoism was very similar to Marxism, the main difference being how the proletariat is defined. For Karl Marx, in the Communist Manifesto, the proletariat was the urban working class; however, for Mao Zedong, the proletariat was the millions of peasants that he referred to as “the popular masses”. To Mao, the peasants had two good qualities: they were a political blank slate, and they were poor.

Marxism-Leninism is the communist ideology that became the largest communist movement in the world. Developed in Russia by the Bolsheviks, it was the state ideology of the early Soviet Union and many other Soviet satellite states. It was created through Vladimir Lenin’s interpretation of Marxism. In Marxism-Leninism, it is the workers (or proletariat) who are to carry out the


In conclusion, communism has spread far and wide over the last century and has evolved into many different ideologies. MarxismLeninism played a crucial role in the Bolshevik Revolution, a movement that arguably changed all Western Europe for ever, however it faced political repression, many economic challenges and eventually collapsed. Stalinism focused mainly on rapid industrialisation, which it achieved; however, this came at the cost of widespread suffering and significant loss of

life. The creation of Maoism in China led to huge social reforms, agricultural changes, and cultural revolutions. It mobilized the peasants and transformed China, but it also resulted in many human rights abuses and economic unrest. In my opinion, I believe that the most successful form of communism in the 20th century was Marxism-Leninism, as it assisted one of the most important revolutions in all of Europe.


Phosphorescence vs fluorescence James F (L6) Phosphorescence and fluorescence are two phenomena that stand out in the world of luminescence- the process of emitting light having not been heated. These two processes are very similar, yet simultaneously differ in crucial ways, and so this article will explore these and shed some light, so to speak, on the details of this process and how this impacts their uses and implications.

emission following the absorption of photons, both processes have numerous similarities. For instance, the absorption of energy in both cases in the form of photons elevates the electrons within them to higher energy levels within the atoms. This is also another, and perhaps the most fundamental of qualities that they both share, is that they both give off light; this is due to the electrons, which, having been elevated to a higher energy level, return to their original state, which itself releases energy in the form of light. This exciting of electrons relies on external sources of energy in both cases, and this can come in several different varieties, whether it is ultraviolet waves or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. The simplest way of understanding this concept, that neither can produce light by themselves, but rather rely on an external supply of energy first, can be to simply imagine a clock with glow-in-thedark hands: initially, when it first arrives, its hands will produce no light, even in the dark. However, once left in a bright room for a while, the light energy from the bulbs will be enough to begin the process of exciting electrons, and so when the lights turn off, the hands will emit a green glow.

To begin with, it is worth giving some instances where the two forms of luminescence can be seen around us: some common examples of fluorescence include fluorescent dyes used in biological imaging, such as the use of laser scanning confocal microscopes, where specimens are tagged with these dyes and then scanned with intense beams of light-lasers which causes the dyes to fluoresce, giving off light which is focused through a pinhole onto a detector which uses it to create and image in 3D. Other examples include highlighter pens, and certain minerals that exhibit fluorescence under UV light. Furthermore, fluorescent proteins found in organisms like jellyfish have revolutionized molecular and cellular biology by enabling the visualization of specific cellular components.

However, there are also significant differences between fluorescence and luminescence, one of which is the duration of the emission of light. Once the external source has been removed, and the excitation of the electrons has stopped, the emission in fluorescence is almost instantaneous and stops as soon as this external source has been removed. In contrast to this, the emission in phosphorescence is much more prolonged and persists after the source is gone. Moreover, the underlying processes of phosphorescence and fluorescence differ at the molecular level, which can explain the differences in the time taken for

On the other hand, prominent examples of phosphorescence include glow-in-thedark materials, such as those in watch dials or stickers, such as the fire escape signs found around school. Certain phosphorescent pigments, like zinc sulfide-based compounds, absorb and store light energy, releasing it slowly over time. This property is harnessed in various practical applications, including emergency signage and novelty items. Naturally, due to them both being types of photoluminescence, the process of light


the luminescence to cease in each case. While in fluorescence, the return of an electron from its excited state to its original, ground state is rapid and takes very little time. In comparison, phosphorescence involves a mechanism called intersystem crossing, where rather than electrons immediately returning to their ground state they transition between different states of spin before emitting light, which leads to a more prolonged luminescence effect. This, in turn is another difference between the two: whereas in fluorescence, the transition of electrons between energy levels occurs between states of the same spin, called singlet states, phosphorescence, as mentioned before, involves electrons transitioning between different spin states, specifically between singlet and triplet states. Lastly, temperature has different effects on the two processes- lower temperatures can affect and often enhance the effect of phosphorescent emission, lengthening the time and intensity, whereas fluorescence is generally less affected by changes in temperature.

forensics, environmental monitoring, and the study of materials through techniques like fluorescence spectroscopy. On the other hand, phosphorescence is used in glow-in-the-dark products like toys, and in analytical chemistry, it is utilised to detect and quantify certain substances due to its distinct emission characteristics. In conclusion, while phosphorescence and fluorescence share common ground as forms of photoluminescence as well as other similar features, their differences are equally intriguing. The duration of light emission, the spin states of electrons, and the temperature dependence distinguish these two phenomena, and influence their applications. The uses of fluorescence are diverse, spanning fields from medicine to materials science, while phosphorescence, with its enduring glow, finds its niche in glow-in-the-dark products and certain analytical techniques. However, they are both equally as prominent and important, and as the study of phosphorescence and fluorescence not only enhances our understanding of fundamental physical and chemical processes but also contributes to the development of innovative technologies, these are two phenomena that can certainly have a role to play within science in years to come.

Naturally, these differences cause the two processes to have different applications. As mentioned earlier fluorescence is extremely useful in microscopy to image cellular structures and biomolecules, as well as in


Why is the Mona Lisa so famous? Daisy G (Re) ‘The Mona Lisa is defined as the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, and the most parodied work of art in the world.’ - Matt Micucci.

was of Lisa Gherardini. Isabella D’Este, is another potential candidate as the sitter. Some art historians believe that Da Vinci saw this painting as conceptual art and not a standard portrait at all, with the background’s dreamlike quality. Another theory is by the psychologist Sigmund Freud who believed that the painting was based on Da Vinci’s memories of his mother, Caterina di Meo Lippi and made to carry a sense of motherhood and femininity. Interestingly, the research director of French Museums’, states that by using laser scanning, they uncovered a very fine gauze veil on her dress which was something typical for either soon-to-be mothers or new mothers at the time. All these questions certainly add mystery to it.

The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait of an upright seated lady staring out of the canvas wearing a fairly indistinctive dark coloured dress, set against a mysterious mountainous scene. Leonardo da Vinci began painting her in 1503 and it is thought he completed her around 1517. Its size is quite modest for a portrait of the time, just 77cm by 53cm. It is on permanent display in the Louvre and is guarded by bulletproof glass. The Mona Lisa is argued to be one of the most highly recognised painting ever to exist, generating millions of pounds worth of revenue. It has been copied countless times, successfully stolen, nearly vandalised, written about to exhaustion and is recognised as not only a French landmark but also a national treasure (despite being painted by an Italian). Yet many visitors, when viewing this painting, are baffled by the hype. What is it that has resulted this painting to receive the global obsession that it does? The sitter’s identity alone has caused controversy. 500 years on, it remains unconfirmed and has been much debated. She is most likely thought to be Lisa Gherardini, wife of a wealthy silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. Giogio Vasari wrote that the masterpiece may have been commissioned by del Giocondo for the birth of their second son, Andrea. Certainly, the fact that the Italian name for the painting is La Giaconda or La Jocanda, in French, supports this with it being a pun to the family name.

Whoever the subject matter was of, clearly Da Vinci was attached to it and understood its worth as he took it to France, after being summoned by the king, Frances I, in 1511. It is understood that he carried on working on it during this time. After he died, Salai, Leonardo’s assistant, and lover, inherited the painting and soon after bequeathed it to Frances I for 4,000 gold coins. It remained part of the royal collection until the Revolution when all royal art became property of the people and took its position in the Louvre in 1804. Here it was hung amongst many other great works of art in the Grand Hallway. During this time, it was not given any particular attention.

Yet, this portrait never actually sold to del Giocondo, which questions whether it really


All this changed in 1911, when it was stolen from the Louvre. The theft caused a massive outburst of media attention. It was initially thought to be a hoax, however, it was not and was recognised as an extremely serious event which caused the Louvre and even borders to be closed and departing ships and trains were searched thoroughly. In 1913, two years after being written off as lost, 31-year-old Vincenzo Peruggia, struggling to know what to do with this multi-hundredmillion-euro painting contacted an art dealer in Florence, willing to sell it for the equivalent of $100,000. Despite this extraordinary price, the dealer contacted the director of The Uffizi Gallery. Peruggia was subsequently arrested, and the Mona Lisa was returned. The outcome of the robbery brought extraordinary public curiosity and attention to the painting and when the painting was finally reinstalled an abundance of publicity was given. Indeed, in the first 2 days of being returned to the Louvre, over 100.000 visitors flocked to see it. A recent survey stated that still today, 9 out of 10 of the Louvre’s visitors are going purely to see the Mona Lisa!

brilliant artist, was also an accomplished scientist. He was particularly interested in studying the anatomy, and here we see a skull fully formed and the facial muscles in great detail.

The hype didn’t stop once she was back on the wall. Artists, such as Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol began to make use of her recognisable image. It wasn’t just that artists copied her but by the 1980’s she was featured in over 53 global advertisements. Such was her importance that artists and businesses alike wanted to be associated with her. All this appropriation and reuse of her image must be recognised as a way of fuelling her popularity and cementing her worth as a worthy masterpiece.

Her expression has also caused much debate. Just recently, research concluded that the much talked about smile of the Mona Lisa is fascinating because it’s not a fully formed smile but a smile in the process of becoming one. Even at the time this smile was much talked about as Vasari wrote, ‘In this work of Leonardo there was a smile so pleasing that it was a thing more divine that human to behold. It was not other than alive.’ The Mona Lisa, whoever, or whatever inspired Da Vinci to complete, to this day, captivates and draws in tens of thousands of people to Louvre and remains one of the most talked about paintings. There is no doubt that it is a quintessential Renaissance masterpiece, but I wonder if it hadn’t been stolen in 1911 whether it would have still captured the public imagination and ever have achieved it its glorified position today as one of the most famous works of art.

Despite all this, there is no doubt that the painting is extremely masterful showing great realism and surely should be recognised as a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. It demonstrates Leonardo’s mastering of sfumato with the woman’s soft, sculptural face by the subtle use of light and shadows, and lack of any hard lines. We know that Da Vinci, as well as being a


February 2024

Marlborough College, Wiltshire SN8 1PA

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.