energy transfer

Would you trust your life to physics?

So, I guess I this should be a post about the Higgs Boson as the announcement yesterday was quite a big deal. However, it’s not for three reasons:

1. There is a lot of stuff on it already out there.

2. Despite spending time yesterday reading several articles and watching videos involving ping pong balls and sugar, I still don’t know enough about it to make a meaningful contribution.

3. I found this video which is amazing: real-life hot wheels!

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Hamster Power

Credit: Mylius at wikimedia

The story

Did you know:  The hamster species P.roborovskii have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night?

This interesting but apparently useless fact came to my attention via Guardian blogger Grrl Scientist.  The blog post went on to explain the ways that all this kinetic energy could be harnessed to power electrical devices and I thought that it might be a fun way of teaching about energy transfer.

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Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Image: Takeaway (wikipedia commons)

(or Happy New Year!)

The story

Thursday (3rd February) will be the start of the Chinese New Year.

On this night will be a full moon (good night for moon-watching) and the celebrations will end 15 days later when the lunar cycle is halfway through and there will be a new moon (not such a good night for moon-watching). More

Snow business

Down in the South of the UK where Snapshot Science hails from, the snow has long since melted and is it now practically tropical compared to the chilly North.

Assuming you are not sick to death of the very mention of the s-word, here are some snowy ideas for fun science lessons for the end of term which you could use (if school is open of course). More

Big beaks help cool birds down

Image: Jon Hanson

The story:

Two scientists have collaborated in a study that suggests that the size of a bird’s beak is linked to the temperature of its natural environment.

We already know that a bird’s beak is adapted for the food it eats and sometimes to attract a mate, but now it looks like it is also a good way of regulating temperature.  More

Festival science

Credit: Logan1138

With Glastonbury commencing on Wednesday, the festival season is well and truly underway.  In this post I will attempt to use the famous music festival as a way of connecting exothermic reactions to Ozzy Osbourne (not literally).

Music festivals generally involve camping and camping involves heating food over naked flames next to a highly flammable nylon tent.  More

The crazy world of future electricity generation

Image: Joby Energy

With all of the publicity surrounding the BP leak, crude oil is earning a very bad reputation indeed.  Hopefully some good will come out of the tragedy by persuading governments to look more seriously at using renewable sources of energy. More

Spinning around

firewinder

© 2008 The Firewinder Company Limited.

I’m always on the lookout for new toys and gadgets that can demonstrate science in a fun way.  The latest one to catch my eye is the Firewinder.  The helical structure catches the wind, and the turning affect creates electricity which is used to light the LED bulbs embedded in its surface.  It’s a bit like a wind turbine, only looks nicer in the dark. More