Thursday, June 21, 2018

Water is more than you think it is

Water molecules actually exist in two forms: ortho-water and para-water. This is not a new discovery but we now know more about these forms. An article at Science Daily explains:
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities.
The article describes new details about the small differences in the chemical properties of these forms.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Amateur Astronomy Association of Guyana

This local group has recently become active complete with website and Facebook page. According to the website:
"AAAG has a wide range of planned activities: from camping trips under a dark sky retelling the story of our current scientific understanding of the universe, to guided night sky tours of celestial objects, and future events featuring education workshops and lectures in astronomy; we will offer a bit of everything for everyone."

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Some good science podcasts

Here are a few I have listened to regularly for the past few years:

Science Hour (BBC) - "Science news and highlights of the week" - a weekly report of five or so good science stories.

Science in Action (BBC) - "...brings you all the week's science news" - shorter than the above, some overlap but good additional stories.

and a more recent find:

Astronomy Cast - More technical than those above, each episode has a theme. Good science plus astronomy updates.

These can easily be found using standard podcast apps.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Another star passes close to our solar system

Apparently some 70,000 years ago a small red star called Scholz's star passed close to our solar system. According to a report at
 "... a red dwarf called Scholz's star apparently grazed the solar system 70,000 years ago, coming closer than 1 light-year to the sun.
...Scholz's star passed by the solar system at a time when early humans and Neanderthals shared the Earth. The star likely appeared as a faint reddish light to anyone looking up at the time..."
The research involved studying the orbits of objects on the edges of our solar system and working out how these orbits changed over the ages.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top physics blogs

I came across this site which attempts to track the top physics blogs on a regular basis.
The top blog is listed as Physics World.

Monday, January 22, 2018

World record magnet

A new super-strong magnet has been made powered by superconducting coils as reported by PhyOrg:
The Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has shattered another world record with the testing of a 32-tesla magnet—33 percent stronger than what had previously been the world's strongest superconducting magnet used for research and more than 3,000 times stronger than a small refrigerator magnet.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Physics MOOC courses again

There have been some interesting changes over the years. According to a previous post in this blog in November 2014 Coursera had 35 courses matching keyword PHYSICS and EdX had 95. This number has grown since then. Coursera now has 126 and EdX 203. And FutureLearn has 46. Please note that these only match the keyword and not all are truly physics courses.

A quick browse shows EdX to have more academic type courses of interest to high school and university students. However Coursera and FutureLearn also have interesting courses. The latter tends to have shorter, less demanding but unusual courses.

Many introductory courses start in September. For example there is the course "Preparing for the AP Physics 1 Exam" which is intended to "bridge the college readiness gap". Fairly basic physics but good videos etc. There are similar courses for other subjects. This has been available since 2014 at least.