Jul 02

Make your own spectrometer using just a CD and a breakfast cereal box


Jun 30

Some great scientists and their (possible) logos






To celebrate Science Day in India, the graphic designer Kapil Bhagat created a wonderful series of posters featuring logos inspired by a selection of scientists and mathematicians and their discoveries. It’s hard to pick a favourite but the one for Godel would definitely be in the mix. Enjoy!6EFm4hS-592x600

Feb 23

Barrels of sodium disposed of in a lake in 1947

Feb 18

Maxwell’s Demon

A superb video explaining Maxwell’s Demon.

Dec 17

NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody)

Dec 08

How does evolution work? Natural selection

Dec 05

The Science Magpie has been nominated as Physics World’s Book of the Year 2012!

Physics World has chosen The Science Magpie as one of its Top 10 books of 2012!

Here’s what they say:
‘Books of science trivia are a dime a dozen here at Physics World’s reviews desk. Really good books of science trivia aren’t nearly as common. Simon Flynn’s grab-bag of stories from all branches of science exudes enthusiasm, breathing fresh life into a venerable format.’ Find out more about the award here.

It was also reviewed in the latest issue of Physics World: ‘The Science Magpie is an easy and enjoyable read, and it will surely give you a host of new jokes and tales for the pub’.

Nov 29

The Energy of Richter

The Energy of Richter


Click to view a larger version.

Earthquake magnitude is typically a measurement of ground motion, which is then expressed as a value on the Richter scale, developed in 1935 by Charles Richter. It is based on powers of ten, meaning that an earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale has a recorded seismograph amplitude ten times greater than one measuring 4. Magnitude can also be translated into the seismic energy released by an earthquake, measured in joules (J). Here an increase of one on the Richter scale represents an over thirty-fold increase in the amount of seismic energy. This enables the power of earthquakes to be compared with other energy sources and vice versa.

Nov 18

Brownian motion and the atom

The word atom comes from the ancient Greek for ‘uncuttable’. The idea of their existence was first proposed by Leucippus of Miletus (fl. 435 BC) and Democritus (fl.410 BC). They believed there were indivisible particles of matter, atoms, that moved around a void, and that it was the different patterns these were arranged in that produced change in the world, which we then perceived.

However, the actual existence of the atom, as opposed to the attitude that it was merely a useful concept, wasn’t accepted until 1905. It was then that Einstein showed, using the relatively new mathematics of statistical mechanics, that atoms were responsible for Brownian motion – the random movement of particles suspended in a liquid named after Robert Brown, who noted the phenomenon over 70 years earlier when observing pollen particles in water.

The following video shows brownian motion being observed fat droplets in milk and the animation in the second video explains further how the random collisions of atoms on a particle (e.g. a pollen grain) produces the subsequently observed zig zag motion. And the hotter the temperature, the faster the motion of the atoms, and the greater the random motion.

Nov 08

The Approximate pH Values of Everyday Solutions

The pH scale was originally developed by the Danish scientist Søren Sørenson (1868–1939) while working at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Denmark. Shown are the approximate pH values of some everyday solutions, several of which might surprise you, especially if you consider your teeth’s enamel is affected at pH 5.5 and below.

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