Are you an Einstein or a (Joey) Essex? Take the second fun science quiz

Are you an (Albert) Einstein or a (Joey) Essex? Find out by taking the second of my fun science quizzes:

  1. The centre of the earth is:
    a) Molten lava
    b) Solid, and made up of metal like iron and nickel
    c) Full of dinosaurs
  2. There is a type of jellyfish that regenerates and can, scientists believe, live forever.
    TRUE or FALSE
  1. The largest living thing on earth is:
    a) The blue whale, of course
    b) A giant sequoia in America
    c) The Great Barrier Reef

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Are you a Marconi or a Minion? Test your science knowledge

Do you know your photons from your photosynthesis? Find out whether you’re a Marconi or a Minion when it comes to science with this fun quiz:

  1. Physics is the study of what?
    a) Everything that is alive
    b) Matter and energy
    c) Life, the universe and everything
  1. If you understand quantum physics you are:
    a) A genius
    b) Mistaken
    c) Stephen Hawking

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Beam me up, great-great-grandson…

We’ve all seen Star Trek, with its ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ moments (yes, I know it was never said in the original series, Mr Nerd of Ohio). People zapping from one place to another, via a special machine, with no ill-effects. It looks great, doesn’t it?

Matter transference, or teleportation as it is also known, is a common element of many a scifi TV series – but does it have any grounding in fact? Could we actually transfer ourselves from one place to another without having to travel the conventional, slow, way?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that recent discoveries in quantum theory suggest there may be a grain of truth in moving matter from one place to another without effort. Is this yet another instance of science fiction predicting science fact? Continue reading

What is science anyway?

YOU may have noticed this blog has been about sciencey subjects (so far at least – who knows what will happen in the coming months? I may decide to start talking about fudge, or flowers, or… well, maybe not, though all suggestions are welcome).

Anyway, I thought it was time we got to grips with what ‘science’ actually is.

To my generation, science is always split up into biology, chemistry and physics – the trio of subjects we studied at school. It brings memories of messy experiments, a bit of excitement when something blew up bigger than it should have done, iron filings, Bunsen burners and sniggers at the back when the teacher talked about reproduction. Continue reading

Timey wimey, wormy squirmy…

WHILE we’re on the subject of holes (Were we? Yes we were – pay attention at the back) there’s another type of hole talked about a lot in science fiction – wormholes.

I don’t mean the ones you find in the garden, but the ones many scifi authors find useful for taking characters from one region of space/time to another without that tedious annoyance of reality getting in the way and taking forever.

The idea of a wormhole – basically a short-cut between two points in space or time – has been around for a lot longer than you’d think. Like the theory of parallel universes, it has an essential basis in what could be possible, physics-wise, so you wouldn’t have to throw a stick very far in a scientist convention to hit someone who thinks it could be true. Continue reading

Why black holes don’t suck

THE universe is full of holes. Black holes.

Well, they’re not really holes – it’s a bit of a misleading name, to be honest. Black holes are not holes as we understand the term – they’re not filled with nothing. In fact, they’re anything but empty.

A black hole is what we call it when a huge amount of matter has been packed tight into a small space. Think of it as three of our suns, all squeezed together into a space small enough to fit a city in. A bit squashed, truth be told. Continue reading

Searching for answers

IF you’re interested in science, you may have heard of a place in Europe called CERN.

CERN is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, called CERN because it’s also known, in French, as the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or European Council for Nuclear Research. I suppose CERN trips better off the tongue, French or otherwise.

Taking up a large part of the French/Swiss border, near Geneva, the CERN organisation was actually set up in 1952, hence the ‘nuclear’ bit in the name (we now know more about particles than just nuclei), and involves an impressive 21 European countries as members.

The aim of CERN is to seek answers to the fundamental questions of life itself, such as what is the universe made of, how did it begin, and why do so many people worship Kim Kardashian (OK, I made that last bit up, but I think they should look into it). Continue reading

Spooky parallels

DO you think our world is perfect?

Well that’s a bit of a stupid question, really, because I don’t expect anyone with even a small amount of intelligence thinks that. Your own personal world may be fine, but everyone knows there’s plenty wrong with the world we live in – famine, disease, death, crime, natural disasters, etc, etc, etc…

Ok, so imagine for a moment that you were an all-powerful god with the ability to change one thing about the world. What would it be? Continue reading