electricity generation

Science in the News-letter #14

A nice mix of stories in this week’s newsletter. For biology there are links to stories about the nervous system and infectious disease. For physics: how viruses are being used to generate electricity (ok, so there is a bit of biology in there as well) and for chemistry, looking at the possibility of a manned NASA mission to asteroids to mine for minerals (tedious link to chemistry I know – I would really appreciate anyone point me in the right direction so I can find more chemistry based news!).

 

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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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