Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Centaurus A!

As always click on the image to visit the original webpage!


When in labs we where constructing a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram of the LMC(large magellanic cloud) from images, we where also given isochrones which where theoretical values that should relate to the stars in the LMC. It came to a point where we had to shift said isochrones by a value to make them roughly correspond to data points collected.

Most people around me got 23 or 24, so we asked the helper what the value should be? He replied about 23.5, to which one of my friends sounding quite annoyed with him self I didn't think of using a fractional number, to be far to him we where all thinking it.

It seems silly thinking about it now there where no reason not to use them but for some reason we all unconsciously enforced unity on our values. Yo might just think it's use but the quark model was held back for some time because people believed that charges only came in unit values(1,2 or 3) - or so Murray Gell-Mann says so.

It seems strange to me that we force ourselves to think that unity so some how more beautiful than fractions when they are completely arbitrary the fractional charges on quark is only because it was long ago that the charge on an electron and proton was declared as the elementary charge - and therefore 1.

Just thought it was interesting to think about...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Grammar Nazis

This is a topic very close to heart as I have dyslexia so I often have to deal with such people.

Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography - Language from Matthew Rogers on Vimeo.

I found this via the bad astronomy blog it's one I often visit people should check it out!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Another Picture

What if?

I've been thinking about the future recently and what I would like to do in life. So far I've come up with... well I don't really know, but what I do know is I'd like to have crack at some research to see if it's for me. However having spoken to a few friends at least 4 of us definitely want to continue on to get a Ph.D. and a couple more are umm'ing & arr'ing.

With only 5 places at the Uni and competition from sources outside the uni. It's not looking to good for me. So I'm going to apply to other Uni's too but what if I don't get a place anywhere. Well I guess that means I've gotta go out into the real world and find a job. But like I said before I don't know what I want to do short of astro/physics research.

I'm sure jobs at an observatory would be just as hard if not harder to find than a postgrad place, so that's a dead end. On to my next idea, teaching? I don't think I'd want to teach not below a university level. Just because at uni the person wants to be there (well in most cases) and the stuff is generally more interesting, generally.

So that means I'm most likely going to have to venture out in to the big wide world, do some job that is monotonous that I would hate or I could follow the lead of Garrett Lisi, abandon technology and go live on an island in a vw caravanette, if only. I don't think I'm quite cut out for that unfortunately, as cool as that life style sounds.

Check this out! a new hero of mine!

Check this out it seems pretty elegant way of explaining the world lets see if those particles are found. Plus the guy has epic life style.
Check it out!

Monday, 20 June 2011

The magic of science!

The other day I was chatting to a friend of mine, they said that because I do physics (think this would apply to science in general really), that I take the magic out of "the world" (think she meant universe) by knowing how stuff works.

I don't see it that way, for me it's knowing how something works that excites me. The magic is that something (sometimes very complex) can be explained so simply. Take the solar system for example thinking all of this formed some how by magic, then think this all formed because "stuff" attracts other "stuff", with that simple statement (with a little bit of quantifying such as the inverse squared law and starting materials) the solar system appears from just that. Huge gas giant and bits off rock hurtling around a big ball of hydrogen all because "stuff" attracts other "stuff", now that's magic.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Science abuse.

Today I found a BBC documentary on youtube. With in the first 2 minutes the voice over said "Everything you are about to hear is true" then it goes on to talk about a theory. Now lets think about that a theory is just a theory. Theories get proven wrong or incomplete all the time even even one of the very first theories we all learn (newtons theory of gravitation) which was VERY successful at predicting gravitation phenomena. Was proven incomplete by Einstein with the theory of general relativity. However the theory in question has now experiential evidence behind it. Before anyone says anything I know for a while that relativity was believed to be without any experiential evidence for it, even disagreeing with some experiments and many other successful theories started out disagreeing with experiment-the experiments where wrong.

Now I may be arguing semantics here but it's the wording of the phrase "Everything you are about to hear is true", NOT may well be true, is likely to be true, or more accurately is our best guess, but "is true" that just grates with me.

The theory is a very popular one in but despite how popular a believe is that doesn't make it true. The belief in a God is huge! Does that mean that god exists? I know that theories have to be mathematically rigorousness so its not quite the same thing but still. I'm not saying believing in an unproven theory is wrong either, I'm just saying if i ran around saying that a crime was committed some where along the line someone's is gonna want some proof! And in a show going out the public saying that a theory with no proof is true just seems wrong to me.

Let me know what you guys think.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Carl Sagan & The Dalai Lama

The people that inspired me to do physics!

I remember on night half asleep going downstairs to get a drink/some food and I put the TV. Just for background noise (as I still often do!) anyway it turned out that NOVA:The elegant universe happened to be on -a program based on the book with the same title by Brian Greene. Hosted by the man himself, but there where also many other physicists on show, I later brought the book. Before I realized I had watched the whole show, it explained everything so beautifully. It was defiantly that show that first sparked my interest in physics. So i'd have to say that Brian Greene is one of the people that inspired me.

Another person has to be Michio Kaku. On the way back from a holiday I had some money left over and I wanted something to read on the trip back home. I happened across Parallel Worlds at first I didn't really like it. So it lay on my bookshelf for a couple of years. Then over one summer, bored I picked it back up and started to read and was absorbed into a tale of time travel, black holes and warp drives.
That's all for now thanks for reading.

It's pretty picture time again!

Image copied without permission from The Hubble Heritage Website - Check it out there are some really good pictures on the site. (Click image to see the original url)

Heres some interesting stories of scientific

I use the app for my phone. Ill be posting interesting stories, when ever I receive them for you guys to check out. Here of a few I have saved currently.

Scientists suggest spacetime has no time dimension?
That's an interesting idea.

Researchers create self-strengthening nanocomposite
Pretty cool material, will be interesting to see how it can be used.

Beams of electrons link Saturn with its moon Enceladus
I found it interesting hope you guys do to.

Nearby galaxy boasts two monster black holes, both active
I'm quite interested in AGN, One of the projects I'm looking at joining for my PhD is using X-rays to determine the properties of the black holes at there centre.

A big surprise from the edge of the solar system: magnetic bubbles
Its always interesting when a probe/experiment comes back with something completely unexpected.

Friday, 10 June 2011

I found this nice looking picture thought I'd share it.

Click on the image for original url.

Usefull websites

Today I thought I'd post some websites/pages that I find useful or you might find useful hope you like them

Well the first one is Obvious it's Wolfram Alpha
This site does everything but tuck you in and sing you to sleep. Whether is graphing a function you just cant visualize, doing derivative and showing you the steps or just telling you how much fat was in that MacDonald's cheese burger you just ate. Wolfram Alpha is a myriad of useful and useless information. There are a couple of time I've had to substitute for a fraction(putting a instead of b/2 or something) in an equation. However saying that it is very rare. Try not to rely on it to much though. I find it most useful when I'm stuck on a tricky integral or derivative as the show steps button can show you how to start off.

The second one is one that I think is very good it's Hyper-Physics
This website is really useful it covers pretty much everything, easily navigated and everything well explained.

The next one is a useful web page from the Center of Astrophysics from Harvard University

Its always good to have a webpage full of constants and having it from creditable source is even better.

The last one for now is Blue solver. I haven't used this one but I found it one day though it seem'd pretty good so let me know what you think.

Blue solver lets you select and equation then input values of the variables. It will then solve for the final one.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My First Post

Ok so to kick things off. I thought I would post a cool picture that I found on stumble here it is :)