Dance to the Music of the Spheres


A perfectly harmonious music, inaudible on the earth, thought by Pythagoras and later classical and medieval philosophers to be produced by the movement of celestial bodies



Superstrings, Dark Energy, Leptons, Quarks, Russian Dolls, Extra Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory



Rough Notes On Teaching Science in the Elementary Grades




"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first recreate the universe.”

 -Carl Sagan 


My Big Toe


Theory of everything (TOE) in Physics is a theory that unifies the
four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, the strong nuclear force,
the weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force.

A theory of everything is needed to explain phenomena such as the big
bang or gravitational singularities in which the current theories of
general relativity (GR) and quantum mechanics (QM) break down.

There have been numerous theories of everything proposed by theoretical
physicists over the last century, but as yet none has been able to
stand up to experimental scrutiny. There is also tremendous difficulty in
getting the theories to produce even experimentally testable results.
The primary problem in producing a theory of everything is that
quantum mechanics and general relativity have radicially different
descriptions of the universe.

Popular candidates for a theory of everything at the moment include
Loop Quantum Gravity (theory of spacetime which attempts to reconcile the theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity), and String Theory (there are long thin strands of matter strung throughout our universe and there are multiple universes outside of our own universe).


The person who ultimately explains the Big TOE might, at this moment, be sitting in front of you!



Knowledge is growing so fast that ninety per cent of what we will know in fifty years time, will be discovered in those fifty years


Teaching science to elementary students is critical for establishing a foundation for further success in science. There is a need for some basic memorization of facts; however memorization of everything involving science eliminates the inner curiosity students have about the natural world.

Science should be fun and interesting. When students become actively involved in learning science, they retain more than just rote memorization of science facts. Instead of just using worksheets and completing canned science experiments, give the students a sense of ownership with self-directed inquiry activities.


If all the DNA in your body was put end to end it would reach the Sun and back 600 times

Science Teaching Tips

Inquiry, critical thinking, activating prior knowledge, clearing up of student misconceptions, group work, sharing of findings, questioning, science games, integration of technology, interactive science websites, and more:

Students Asking Questions – natural curiosity is built around asking questions. Have students develop questions they want to know about something they are investigating.

Teachers Asking Questions – help students with critical thinking skills by asking them open-ended guiding questions about an investigation they are conducting.

Collect Own Data – instead of using data from canned labs or textbooks, allow students to collect their own data. This is critical for personalizing the investigation and allowing the students to become actively engaged in learning.



Snap, Crackle, Pop

Rice Crispies are used on the heat shield of the Space Shuttles!


I Do Appreciate You Being Round

The EARTH has over 1,200,000 species of animals, 300,000 species of plants & 100,000 other species


More Science Teaching Tips

Weekly Science Problems – once a week begin class with a problem students must answer related to current concepts being studied.

Interactive Science Websites – take students to the computer lab or use a classroom computer learning center to study science concepts.

Science WebQuests – develop your own or find some already prepared and have students work in groups to solve science problems.

Use Science Tradebooks – use tradebooks in connection with science concepts being studied.


Far from marking the edge of the solar system, as schoolroom maps imply, Pluto is barely one five-thousandths of the way.




Perturbation Theory and the Existence of Neptune

Sir Isaac Newton’s laws on gravity allowed him to calculate the orbital paths of the planets of our solar system. We won’t try to explain the math; it's way over our heads, but when Newton’s theory was tested, the orbit for Uranus was inaccurate. It was proposed in 1843 that an invisible planet was causing this disturbance -- or perturbation -- of Uranus’s orbit. Only in 1846 was Neptune finally recognized, within one degree of the mathematical predictions for its location. To suggest an extra planet which no one had ever noticed before may have seemed far-fetched, but turned out to be remarkably precise.




Even More Science Teaching Tips


Hands-On and Minds-On – science teaching should be hands-on activities, which requires critical thinking by students for minds-on.

Experimental Design – students must have the opportunity to design their own experiments to allow for inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Multimedia Presentations – allow students to collect data and information using digital cameras, camcorders, and websites. They embed this information in PowerPoint presentations or make videos to use when they share their experimental findings.


Fun Fact: "About one in 50 people lack fingerprints."


Never Say Die

Bacteria are tough. They will eat wood, glue and metals in hardened paint. They have been found living in boiling mudpots and in lakes of caustic soda. They survive deep inside rocks, at the bottom of the sea, in hidden pools of icy water and under 11 kilometers of water pressure - the equivelent of being squashed by 50 jumbo jets. Most extraordinary, a sterptoccocus bacterium was recovered from a camera that had stood on the Moon for two years.


Moon Facts

The Moon was once part of the Earth! Millions of eons ago a huge meteorite collided with our planet, blasting a portion into orbit. That portion became the Moon!

Since the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth, each lunar day lasts a whole Earth month.



You aren’t overweight, you are thermodynamically efficient



There's More of Me to Love

A baby weighing 4 kilograms will have about 400,000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 atoms in its body


20 Questions to Ask Students in Science Projects


Children Develop a Better Understanding by Asking Critical Questions


Designing Science Experiments Using Questions


Questions are critical to any science project; this is the way scientists begin every experiment. Scientists use inquiry-based questioning to help them ask more questions about how to conduct an experiment.

Helping children follow this process can be accomplished by asking the following questions about – How does Sunlight affect the growth of plants?

10 Questions for Designing the Experiment:

  1. What does this make you think about? – Helps them remember other similar type experiments.
  2. What do you need to know…? – They think about how they will determine the answer to the experiment’s question?
  3. What materials will you need? – They think about actual materials needed and how they will collect data with these materials.
  4. What will you measure in the experiment? – They think about what to measure to answer the experiment question along with defining control, independent, and dependent variables.
  5. How will you measure…? – They think about how they will actually take measurements.
  6. What will happen if…? – They think about other variables which will affect their experiment’s results.
  7. How will you record your data? – They think about data tables and other ways to record their observations during the experiment.
  8. Will you average…? – Helps them think about multiple trials.
  9. How long will you conduct the experiment? – They think about a reasonable period of time for the experiment.
  10. What do you predict will happen? – Helps them formulate a hypothesis.


Findings Using Inquiry-Based Questions

Now the children have designed and conducted their own experiment to determine how sunlight affects the growth of plants. The next part of the inquiry process is to explain their findings to others. In this case, you will probably need to ask more questions to help them focus the report of their findings. This part is the most critical step in helping children internalize the information they learned from the experiment.


10 Questions for Explaining Experiment Findings:

  1. How did you conduct your experiment? – Relaxes and prepares them for explaining their findings.
  2. What did you find out? – Gives them the opportunity to explain in their own words what happened during the experiment.
  3. How about your control…? – They explain findings in relation to the control variable.
  4. Did you feel, see, hear, or smell anything doing the experiment? – Helps them remember what happened in relation to their senses.
  5. Tell me more about your findings? – Gives them the opportunity to explain additional findings using their data tables and graphs.
  6. Can you show me…? – Gives them the opportunity to present models or other materials from their experiment.
  7. Is there anything else you could have used? – Causes them to think about any other materials or procedures they could have used to conduct the experiment.
  8. Was your hypothesis correct? – It is extremely important to let them know they did not fail if their hypothesis was not correct. Rarely are scientists hypothesis correct.
  9. How do you know…? – Requires they think about their evidence and does it support their finding.
  10. What would you do different if…? – Provides them with the opportunity to think of other ways to conduct the experiment.


A Good Reason to Lose Weight

Absolute brain size doesn't tell you everything. Elephants and whales both have brains larger than ours. It's brain size relative to body size that matters.

-Bill Bryson


The tongues of chameleons are faster than a fighter jet.


There are more atoms in a bucketful of water than there are bucketfuls of water in the Atlantic Ocean.



And On the Following Day...



The term 'quark' was introduced by Murray Gell-Mann, the word originating from the book 'Finnegan's Wake' by James Joyce in which the quotation 'Three quarks for Muster Mark' appears.  We now know there are are six quarks (or called flavours of quarks), which are grouped into 3 pairs (or generations): up & down, charmed & strange and top and bottom.  It is these fundamental particles which form neutrons, protons etc, which are collectively known as hadrons, (it is mainly the up and down which form the world around us).




Every day nearly 3,000 earthquakes shake our planet.


Black Holes

Have you ever really stopped to consider what black holes actually are? These aren’t imaginary things made up by science fiction writers; they’re old stars that have cooled so much and grown so incredibly small and dense that their gravity attracts everything around it -- including light. Where does all that stuff go? To Heaven? Maybe Pittsburgh?

"Black" hole is a bit of a misnomer, since any light that comes near them is sucked away. Technically, they should be called "invisible" holes.
It has been theorized that our future sons or daughters could use a black hole’s gravitational whirlpool to slingshot off into deep space at nearly light speed





Mountain-Climbing Shells


Why are ancient clam shells found on the top of mountains? James Hutton, a Scottish scientist, decided that they were not deposited there during the massive flood. They had risen along with the mountains themselves.

-Bill Bryson



Not just a great Scrabble word, quasars are among the most powerful things in the universe. They are a form of massive black holes found at the center of some of the oldest galaxies that fringe our universe.

A lot of stuff gets sucked in and squished infinitesimally small (we’re talking meteors, planets, the occasional star), and an insane amount of energy is released. It slowly radiates out into space and, billions of years later, it gets picked up on Earth as radio waves.


If You Get There on Saturday Night

In the Milky Way alone, the number of systems where life might evolve could be somewhere in the millions.




These dead stars spin around unimaginably fast and emit massive doses of radiation in short bursts so consistent they can be used to set clocks here on Earth.



Elementary School Science Fair Project Tips





Elementary school projects aren't supposed to be rocket science (though of course they could be). Look for a project that you can do over a fairly short time span, such as over a weekend. Keep in mind, judges will disqualify you if they suspect your parents did the project and not you, so though you may get help from adults, be sure the project is really yours. Resist the temptation to make a display or do a demonstration. Try to answer a question or solve a problem.


Yes Virginia, there is a climate conspiracy


Each time lightning strikes, some Ozone gas is produced, thus strengthening the Ozone Layer in the Earth's atmosphere


More Elementary School Science Fair Questions






In Olden Times...


Before 400 million years ago nothing walked on land



What's New New ?

10,000 MPH Hypersonic Scramjets

Conveniently located somewhere between a jet and a missile, a futuristic "scramjet" will actually be tested later this year. The Boeing X-51A will be able to travel up to 10,000 miles per hour, meaning once this technology is common on commercial airlines, you’ll be able to jump across the continent in well under an hour. These scramjets will be able to travel 15 times the speed of sound. The world’s fastest jet had a peak speed of just Mach 3.3, by way of contrast.




Still More Elementary School Science Fair Questions


The highest temperature produced in a laboratory was 920,000,000 F (511,000,000 C) at the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor in Princeton, NJ, USA





What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Chicken and Egg Debate Unscrambled:

Now a team made up of a geneticist, philosopher and chicken farmer claim to have found an answer. It was the egg.

Put simply, the reason comes down to the fact that genetic material does not change during an animal's life.

Therefore the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must have first existed as an embryo inside an egg



Move along folks, there's nothing to see here

Ponder This

What do you think is beyond the Universe?
Is it a Wall?
Do you think it is truly infinite?
Is it truly and absolutely nothing?

There is a supermassive black hole right in the middle of the Milky Way galaxy that is 4 million times the mass of the Sun.


Any More Science Fair Questions? Yes!


Ponder These:

The Uncertainty Principle

This is another strange behavior theory within Quantum Mechanics. Physicist Werner Heisenberg came up with this principle, where he stated that it is not possible to determine the position and the speed of a particle at the same time. He famously explained that, "The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa."


Heisenberg is out for a drive when he's stopped by a traffic cop. The cop says 'Do you know how fast you were going?' Heisenberg says 'No, but I know where I am.'


As Curious as the Day is Long



Carbon monoxide, notorious as a poison, is invaluable in the chemical industry for purifying metal.


Sound travels about 4 times faster in water than in air




According to the Standard Model of particle physics, matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts and promptly annihilated each other, leaving the universe devoid of anything but radiation. The Leaky Cosmos Hypothesis posits that a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, most of the antimatter in the universe slipped away into higher-dimensional space, cleverly avoiding annihilation. Normal matter, due to vague reasons that involve a lot of hand-waving and CP symmetry violations, is unable to enter the extra dimensions, but antimatter sometimes leaks back out into our three familiar dimensions, producing ultra-high-energy cosmic rays that appear to flout the GZK limit.


Manetees and elephants are related!


Gypsum, Tramps and Thieves


Mentos, Diet Coke


Volcanoes - Perfect Together

This activity is probably best done outside.

Carefully open a bottle of soda. Position the bottle on the ground so that it will not tip over.

Unwrap the whole roll of Mentos. The goal is to drop all of the Mentos into the bottle of soda at the same time (which is trickier than it looks). One method for doing this is to roll a piece of paper into a tube just big enough to hold the loose Mentos. You'll want to be able to position the tube directly over the mouth of the bottle so that all of the candies drop into the bottle at the same time.

Don't drop them into the bottle just yet! Warn the spectators to stand back. Okay, you're going to drop all of the Mentos into the bottle at the same time and then move out of the way.

It's just like fireworks on the 4th of July. The spectators erupt, of course, in a chorus of ooohs and ahhhs. Someone yells out, "Do it again" and you do.




Ponder This:


Radioactivtyis so harmful and long-lasting that even Madame Curie's papers are too dangerous to handle. They are kept in a lead-lined box and those viewing them must wear protective clothing.


Although schoolroom maps show Pluto at the edge of the Solar System, 95% of the Solar System extends beyond Pluto!


Even More Elementary School Project Ideas






Inquiring Minds Want to Know Even More


Question: My question is to relate acceleration of a person's feet to the acceleration of their head while approaching a black hole to see how it would stretch the person.


Answer: Let us consider a physicist falling into a singularity (black hole, or collapsing star which will eventually end as black hole). When he is far from the singularity, his head and feet fell almost the same gravitational force, therefore these two parts of his body will accelerate with the same acceleration. However, when he gets closer to the singularity, the gradient of the gravitational field becomes very big, and the feet will be accelerated with a much higher acceleration then his head, and this will have a disastrous impact on him.





3rd Grade Science Fair Projects


3rd grade is a great time to answer 'what happens if...' questions. Students are exploring the world around them and learning how it works. The key to a great project at the 3rd grade level is finding a topic that is interesting. Usually a teacher or parent needs to help plan the project and offer guidance with a report or poster. Some students may want to make models or perform demonstrations that illustrate scientific concepts.



Dark Energy

Recent measurements with telescopes and space probes have shown that a mysterious force—a dark energy—fills the vacuum of empty space, accelerating the universe's expansion.


Ponder This

Scientists introduced string theory in the early to mid 80's. This theory lost acceptance in the late 80's and has re-gained acceptance in recent years. String theory states that there are long thin strands of matter strung throughout our universe. It also states that there are multiple universes outside of our own universe. We are inside a "bubble". We cannot see anything outside of our universe, and observers in the other universes cannot see into our universe.


Johnny's So Long at the Fair





The planet Earth travels through space in its journey around the sun at a stunning 67,000 miles per hour, and we’re all moving that fast along with it!

The Sun revolves around the Milky Way on an almost circular orbit with a speed of about 220km/s. The Sun completes one revolution in about 230 million years. The Milky Way also moves - we are moving towards or nearest neighbour the Andromeda galaxy and both the Milky Way and Andromeda (which make up most of what we call the 'Local Group of galaxies') are moving towards the Virgo Cluster which is our nearest cluster of galaxies. Nothing seems to stand still at all!



Quantum Entanglement

You jiggle an electron on one side of the universe and an invisible force traverses millions of light years and smacks another electron into wiggling instantaneously, which is about a million years faster than is technically possible without time travel.


Sorry, Treckies


If it was possible to travel faster then the speed of light, would time reverse itself (like backwards time travel) or just not exist?


Your question is a very interesting one, and it is great to see that you are thinking about Professor Einstein's theory in this way, but unfortunately, you're probably not going to like the response. When you assume that it's possible to travel faster than the speed of light, you're taking the laws of physics and punching them in the stomach and throwing them down the stairs.

The problem is that you can't say, 'Hey, what would happen if you could go faster than the speed of light?' because that's totally physically impossible. (Oh Yeh! See Quantum Entanglement above).It's not possible to go faster than the speed of light, so the laws of physics can't possibly say what would happen if you imagine things that way in some hypothetical universe. Physics is a complete package: once you decide to ignore one physical law, you're ignoring them all

One of the reasons that prevent any object with a mass going at or faster than the speed of light is that the mass is not constant - it increases with velocity and it goes to infinity at the speed of light. So that eventually you need infinite amounts of energy to accelerate infinite mass past the speed of light mark! (and as far as I know we have yet to find an infinite source of energy).





That's heavy, man!


If a piece of a neutron star the size of a dime landed on earth, it would weigh about 100 million tons



The three most common elements in the universe are hydrogen, helium and oxygen



4th Grade Science Fair Projects


Great 4th grade science fair projects involving answering a question, solving a problem, or testing a hypothesis. Usually a teacher or parent helps work out the hypothesis and design the project. 4th graders have a good understanding of scientific concepts, but may need help with the scientific method and organizing a poster or presentation. The key to a developing a successful project is finding an idea that is interesting to a 4th grader.



The density of the planet Saturn is lower than water, so if you could put it in the ocean it would float!


We have about 25, 000 genes, about the same as is found in grass. Clearly it's not the number you have but what you do with them.



The Universe is Big


The speed of light, at 670 million mph, sounds very fast. But a light ray, at this speed, would take about 26 billion years to cross the visible universe




Right now, on your computer screen, are approximately 10,000 galaxies.

Each of those galaxies contains anywhere from ten million to one trillion stars.

The average star is roughly a million times the size of Earth.

And yet, with all that junk, the Universe is more than 90 percent empty space.

All of that, in this tiny photo. A photo that took 400 orbits and 800 exposures to take.

And the kicker? The photo covers one thirteen-millionth of the entire night sky.






The Earth is Not Flat – But the Universe is!



Based on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, there are three possible shapes that the Universe may take: open, closed, and flat. Once again, measurements by WMAP on the CMBR have revealed a monumental confirmation – the Universe is flat.





Tiny Minds, Very Large Numbers

The Universe spans a diameter of over 150 billion light years


Atlas was Quite a Guy

The current best estimate of Earth's weight is 5.9725 billion trillion tonnes.



Ponder This:

Special relativity implies time dilation: moving clocks go slower than stationary clocks.

So let's say that you're standing still, and a racecar goes by you at half the speed of light - the racecar's clock goes slower than your clock.


5th Grade Science Fair Project Ideas


By the 5th grade, students are expected to shoulder more responsibility in designing in doing a science fair project. There will still be a lot of parent and teacher help, but you want a straightforward project that ideally takes no longer than a week or two to complete. The ideal project is one the student can do pretty much by himself or herself, with guidance from adults as needed.

Reference Anne Marie Helmenstine Ph.D


The Pistol Star is the most luminous star known - 10 million times the power of the Sun and as big as the size of Earth's entire orbit around the Sun


To gain a deeper understanding of the univesre, we need to study structures smaller than the atom

Ever since cosmologists started to trace events backward in time based on the Big Bang model, their views, which focused only on the very large, got smaller and smaller. They knew, that by extrapolating backward, they would be led into a universe that was very hot, very dense, very tiny, and governed by extremely high energies.

These conditions were definitely within the realm of particle physics, or the study of the very small. Hence, the most recent studies of both cosmology and particle physics saw an inevitable marriage between the two.




Drop It Likes It's Hot


Discarded Science Theories

The Past Millenium in Errors and Corrections




Einstein’s Relativity hypothesis rescued heliocentricity from the findings of over 200 experiments which showed that the Earth was not moving!


Ponder This


So if there's A to B points = distance 1 light year.
A= earth
B= destination - planet
Ship travels v=0.999c, from A to B.

From ship's view of point:
The cosmonaut will not spend approx 1 year in space.
He will fly on distance of 1ly divided by the y (d=1ly/22=0,045 ly)
So the time will be t=d/v, t=0,045/0,999=0.045 years
16 days

So the cosmonaut will be older only by 16 days.
And people on earth (point A - departure point) will be older by 16*22= 352 days.



Question: How many theoretical physicists specializing in general relativity does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Two. One to hold the bulb and one to rotate the universe.



Ponder This:

Imagine if you will that each point of light is a universe, each universe containing hundreds of billions, if not trillions of galaxies and all of them orbiting a universal core. We can call this a megaverse, kind of like a super sized galaxy only it is comprised of hundreds of billions of universes. Distance across each universe could be perhaps as much as 50 billion light years, maybe twice that, or even more. The distance across the imaginary megaverse would be unimaginable. But is size and distance limited by nature or could it just keep getting bigger and bigger? You have probably heard tell that the universe has no edge, just as the solar system has no edge, nor does the galaxy. It has a well defined structure, but no set defined area that you could point at and say, there is the edge. Perhaps the universe is so large from our perspective that it just appears to have no edge or center. Perhaps the rotation of the universe around a megaverse is presenting us with the illusion of everything moving away from us. But could that just be an illusion of immense size? Could the universe simply be in orbit around something larger? So imagine if you will that you can take another big step back.

Imagine that each point of light is a megaverse, with each point of light containing hundreds of billions of universes, and each universe containing billions of galaxies and each galaxy containing billions of solar systems. Just like Russian nesting dolls. Planets and moons contained in a solar system, contained in a galaxy, contained in a universe, contained in a megaverse, and on and on...Is it a ridiculous thought that perhaps each structure is contained in another larger structure, everything held together by gravity, everything in orbit, and that it just keeps getting bigger and bigger?







Questions You May Have Been Afraid to Ask:


If the Sun Were Made of Bananas, Would It Be Just as Hot?


The Sun is hot, as the more astute of you will have noticed. It is hot because its enormous weight – about a billion billion billion tons – creates vast gravity, putting its core under colossal pressure. Just as a bicycle pump gets warm when you pump it, the pressure increases the temperature. Enormous pressure leads to enormous temperature.

If, instead of hydrogen, you got a billion billion billion tons of bananas and hung it in space, it would create just as much pressure, and therefore just as high a temperature. So it would make very little difference to the heat whether you made the Sun out of hydrogen, or bananas, or patio furniture.


Where's the Rest of Me?

Almost all of the Universe is missing!

There are probably more than 100 billion galaxies in the cosmos. Each of those galaxies has between 10 million and a trillion stars in it. Our sun, a rather small and feeble star (a “yellow dwarf”, indeed), weighs around a billion billion billion tons, and most are much bigger. There is an awful lot of visible matter in the Universe.

But it only accounts for about two per cent of its mass.

We know there is more, because it has gravity. Despite the huge amount of visible matter, it is nowhere near enough to account for the gravitational pull we can see exerted on other galaxies. The other stuff is called “dark matter”, and there seems to be around six times as much as ordinary matter.

To make matters even more confusing, the rest is something else called “dark energy”, which is needed to explain the apparent expansion of the Universe. Nobody knows what dark matter or dark energy is.


Can Something Travel Faster Than Light?


The speed of light in a vacuum is a constant: 300,000km a second. However, light does not always travel through a vacuum. In water, for example, photons travel at around three-quarters that speed.

In nuclear reactors, some particles are forced up to very high speeds, often within a fraction of the speed of light. If they are passing through an insulating medium that slows light down, they can actually travel faster than the light around them.

When this happens, they cause a blue glow, known as Cherenkov radiation, which is (sort of) comparable to a sonic boom but with light. This is why nuclear reactors glow in the dark.


Pull Over, You're Going Too Slow


Incidentally, the slowest light has ever been recorded travelling was 17 meters per second – about 38 miles an hour – through rubidium cooled to almost absolute zero, when it forms a strange state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Light has also been brought to a complete stop in the same fashion, but since that wasn't moving at all, we didn't feel we could describe that as "the slowest it has been recorded travelling".


The Faster You Move, the Heavier You Get?


If you run really fast, you gain weight. Not permanently, or it would make a mockery of diet and exercise plans, but momentarily, and only a tiny amount.

Light speed is the speed limit of the universe. So if something is travelling close to the speed of light, and you give it a push, it can’t go very much faster. But you’ve given it extra energy, and that energy has to go somewhere.

Where it goes is mass. According to relativity, mass and energy are equivelent. So the more energy you put in, the greater the mass becomes. This is negligible at human speeds – Usain Bolt is not noticeably heavier when running than when still – but once you reach an appreciable fraction of the speed of light, your mass starts to increase rapidly.






Cool Science


The world's fastest supercomputer could take about 7,000 trillion years to find the two prime numbers that make up a 300-digit prime product. But a quantum computer could do the same sum in a few days.

If Everest, our highest mountain, were placed at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean, its peak would be more than a mile beneath the surface.

The star Sirius B is so dense that a piece of it the size of a sugar cube would weigh several hundred tons.

One million, million, million, million, millionth of a second after the Big Bang the Universe was the size of a …pea.


Wait, it Gets Worse!


Alfred Nobel (Peace Prize) invented dynamite in 1866.

In 5 billion years the Sun will run out of fuel and turn into a Red Giant.

Around a million, billion neutrinos from the Sun will pass through your body while you read this sentence.

There are 62,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body – laid end to end they would circle the earth 2.5 times.

60-65 million years ago dolphins and humans shared a common ancestor.

The average person accidentally eats 430 bugs each year of their life

If you could drive your car straight up you would arrive in space in just over an hour.

All the hydrogen atoms in our bodies were created 12 billion years ago in the Big Bang.

Wounds infested with maggots heal quickly and without spread of gangrene or other infection.

The fastest speed a falling raindrop can hit you is 18mph


While You Are Waiting For 3 D TV Consider This:


Most of us are used to thinking about space and time as having some kind of fundamental and permanent existence. We imagine space and time as some kind of invisible graph-paper coordinate system in which all the material things in the universe reside.

When scientists talk about the universe expanding, or the big bang being the beginning of all things, we naturally want to ask questions like - "what is outside the universe?", or "what is the universe expanding into?", or "what existed before and caused the big bang?"

We feel clever at reflecting our rational beliefs back at scientists, and cheated when they respond with answers asserting that there is no 'outside' and that there was no 'before'.

I'd like to try to explain a little about why they think this way...

First of all, our commonsense notion that the universe consists of stuff (ie planets and stars and galaxies) and empty space ( nothing) isn't quite right. Empty space isn't 'nothing'. You see, empty space has properties.

First of all it has DIMENSIONS - 3 of space and 1 of time, and maybe (if some of the theoretical physicists are right) it may have 7 more tiny dimensions too.

Now of course, you may be so familiar with living in a 3D world that this seems a fatuous, unremarkable statement. But I know of no reason why the space we live in should have just 3 large, spatial dimensions and not any more, and neither do you. This is a PROPERTY of the space we live in.

We can also measure DISTANCES in empty space. This is related to the idea of it having dimensions, but also implies some property of SCALE. Again you may judge this as trivial and vacuously true, but it is not, and moreover the SCALE of space has actually been changing and growing over time as we shall see below.

Space also has a quality of DIRECTION or ORIENTATION. When I turn, something is changing about my relationship with the space I exist in, and if I keep turning, I'm likely to become giddy. Something is going on here.

If I stand still in space, or I'm moving at a constant speed, I will not feel any forces. Sir Isaac Newton realised this in the 17th century. But if I try to change my speed, then I will feel a force of inertia, resisting my change of motion. A similar effect happens when I try to change my direction of travel - you probably know this as centrifugal force.

In his general theory of relativity Einstein even tells us that the mass of large objects (like planets and stars) BENDS space and time - you will actually age more quickly if you live (say) on a mountain top rather than in a valley (only by a few millionths of a millionth of a second of course, but the principle is still true and measurable).

Empty space also has energy, and at the tiniest scales, is continuously creating and destroying particles, and bending and straightening out too. It is not the rigid, static framework that we normally think of. It only appears as a smooth and unchanging backdrop at larger scales.

And the final point I wished to make, is that space is being CREATED all the time. This process started in the big bang, and is continuing (even accelerating) today. When scientists talk about the expansion of the universe, what they mean is that between (say) any two galaxies, more and more space is being created between them over time. The galaxies move farther and farther apart - not because some force is pushing them but because the space between them is simply GROWING.

I hope by now, you have become at least acquainted with the idea that empty space (or spacetime) actually IS something rather than nothing. You can measure it, it has lots of interesting properties, and more of it is being created every day.

If you look at time in reverse, it follows that there is progressively less and less space, until we arrive back at the big bang - when there was almost certainly no space (or time) at all. Space and time are generally considered to be components of our universe, they were born with our universe, and will probably cease to exist if the universe ever does.

And so, there is no outside to the universe, all of space exists inside of it. And there was no before or after to the universe - time only exists within our universe too.

And if that makes your head spin, and challenges your common sense, then congratulations - hopefully you are at least halfway to understanding it.


The Universe is Like a Credit Card?

The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.

The "holographic principle" challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true.


Never, Never Say Never


Top Thirty Failed Technology Predictions


In 1899 President McKinley was assured by the Director of the U.S. Patents Office that everything that can be invented has already been invented.


Throughout history man has been making predictions of the future. With the advent of technology, the predictions moved away from religious topics to scientific and technological. Unfortunately for the speakers, many of these failed predictions have been recorded for all future generations to laugh at. Here is a selection of the 30 best.

Predictions 1 – 10

1. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.

2. “We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

3. “Lee DeForest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public … has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company …” — a U.S. District Attorney, prosecuting American inventor Lee DeForest for selling stock fraudulently through the mail for his Radio Telephone Company in 1913.

4. “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” — T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).

5. “To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth – all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances.” — Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, in 1926

6. “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — New York Times, 1936.

7. “Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical (sic) and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” – Simon Newcomb; The Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk 18 months later.

8. “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895.

9. “There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people

10. “Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.” -– Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955.




Predictions 11 – 20

11. “This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.” — Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy during World War II, advising President Truman on the atomic bomb, 1945.[6] Leahy admitted the error five years later in his memoirs

12. “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.” — Ernest Rutherford, shortly after splitting the atom for the first time.

13. “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932

14. “The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.” -– Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder, 1916

15. “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

16. “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.

17. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — A memo at Western Union, 1878 (or 1876).

18. “The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.” — IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959.

19. “I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.” — HG Wells, British novelist, in 1901.

20. “X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” — Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.


A superintelligent machine is the last instrument that humans may ever design - the machine will itself take over in making further steps


Predictions 21 – 30

21. “The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous.” — Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916.

22. “How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense.” — Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat, 1800s.

23. “Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” — Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889 (Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power).

24. “Home Taping Is Killing Music” — A 1980s campaign by the BPI, claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry.

25. “Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.” — Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948.

26. “[Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” — Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.

27. “When the Paris Exhibition [of 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.” – Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson

28. “Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads’ … As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.” — Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830(?).

29. “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” — Dr Dionysys Larder (1793-1859), professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College London.

30. “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?” — Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter’s call for investment in the radio in 1921.




What ever happened to Mark Hamill?




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