The Science Show's Blog
Today we are talking to Dr Nick Mount from the geography department at the University of Nottingham.
Geography. It's not just colouring in.
Seriously though, his research is currently saving lives all around the word. His research is split into two major parts, both related to natural hazards. The first piece of work we'll be talking about is modelling the Brahmaputra river (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh). It is important to model this so that farmers can have better idea of what silt will be deposited during flooding and thus what crops will survive that season. Currently farmers are influenced by the government and economic factors too, which is dangerous, as planting the wrong crop can lead to failed harvest.
Ok, so we know Nick helps farmers with their livelihoods.
Now, part two.
Mount St Helen's.
This week we're talking about Gravity! Travelling from the basics with Newton and his apples onto more complicated stuff with Einstein and black holes, gravitational lensing and even how you can measure the acceleration due to gravity in Student Science!
In the 17th Century Sir Isaac Newton published Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, laying the foundations for most of classical mechanics, the sort of thing taught at GCSE and A-level these days…
He also described gravity as a force that attracts things that have mass, supposedly it all started when he was watching an apple fall from a tree but whether that is true or not he did come up with the three laws of motion and he described universal gravitation.
One of his most famous formulas is:
where F is the force, G is the gravitational constant, m1 and m2 are masses and r is the distance between the two masses. Frazer Pearce tells us a little more about G:
This formula was used for many years and helped explain the orbits of the planets around the Sun and can even calculate your weight on the moon!
Since the ancient Greeks, we have always dreamt of making machines, which can think and behave like human beings. Whilst this used to be the realm of mythology and fiction, in the past 50 years we have finally started to turn this dream into a reality.
This week on The Science Show, we speak to Dr. Julie Greensmith from the Computer Science department at the University of Nottingham about her research in artificial intelligence.
Her research is in two exciting areas - artificial immune systems (which includes application areas such as computer security and biosensing), and the way in which people experience thrill on roller coasters and extreme rides.
Carl and George will also be in the studio, discussing artificial intelligence in films, and how close these interpretations are to real life.
Finally, we'll be discussing the Bucking Bronco over in computer science... which you can control with your mind and your breathing apparently!
We want a go!
Today on The URN Science Show we are going all green and environmentally friendly and we're chatting to Libby Gibson, a chemist from the University of Nottingham about solar cells.
Libby's research is on Dye-sensitized solar cells. These are a cheap, chemistry-based way of converting sunlight into electricity. It's an exciting time in the field and new efficiency records are being broken all the time.
The other exciting part of our work is that we can adapt the device to perform photocatalysis - i.e. drive chemical reactions with light. For energy, we're aiming to produce hydrogen from water that we can use in fuel cells, or replace steam-reforming of methane (a large contribution to CO2 emissions) for ammonia.
We've also got an interview from the people behind the TED series of lectures. They are coming to Nottingham soon, so tune in to hear how you can get hold of tickets for those.
The show today will be hosted by the resident chemist on The Science Show's production team; Grace. We will also be visiting the student science lab to investigate how to generate your very own whiskey cloud using only a plastic bottle and a pump.
Monday the 30th January is a first for The Science Show and for URN. We are doing a live observation night, from the roof of the physics building at the University of Nottingham.
We'll be looking at Jupiter's moons with our resident expert, Markus Hammonds, to discuss the possibility of life in our Solar System. We'll also be looking out for the Orion nebula, where stars are forming from the dust that resides there.
As well as all this live coverage, we'll also be in the studio answering any astronomy questions you may have, and explaining the astrophysics behind what we are looking at.
Keep up with the blog, as we'll be posting pictures here as we take them with the telescope!
Here's hoping there's no cloud...
It's a bit chilly up here in the telescope, but we're having fun!