Friday, 29 August 2014


From University of Nottingham.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

5 fun Physics Phenomena

I stumbled across this video which I want to share. Actually I got it in my Youtube digest email and really enjoyed it so I hope you do to. The second video of course contains the answers :) Perhaps you would like to give yourself some time to think of explanations yourself before you watch these explanations. Until next time, keep safe x

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Richard Dawkins explains gay genes

I have been a huge admirer of Professor Richard Dawkins since I was a teenager doing my A levels. In fact I had the immense pleasure of attending an event last November in London in which Dawkins participated in. Anyway today I stumbled across this clip in which Dawkins explains via 3 possible theories how he supposes the 'gay gene' came about. I especially like theory 2 if only for the childish reason thats its not often we hear the professor swear and it sounds odd to me. That aside I found this whole video very interesting but I could listen to Dawkins all day. I hope you enjoy it at least as half as much as I do.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


It has been sometime since I last wrote. I am now off over the summer and hope to write abit on this blog as there hasn't been an entry since february. As you can see I have managed to keep my other blog up to date somewhat.

Sarah's Tracks

My heart is heavy though over the shooting down of the MH17 flight from Holland to Australia which resulted in the loss of everyone on board. Many who were world reknowned HIV researchers heading to Melbourne for the world AIDS conference. I mourn with the netherlands.
In AIDS news however there is some new hope

positive news about AIDS

Peace and love is whats needed now.

Sarah xxx

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The amazing rattle back

Many of you probably know what a rattleback is but I only found out about them recently. My other half learned about them from watching an episode of QI and was fascinated enough to buy us both one. I am the proud owner of this yellow one you see pictured here. as you can tell, it is a boat shaped piece of plastic. Those of you who are in the dark about this toy as much as I was may be wondering what is so remarkable about it. So let me tell you. it has a preferred spin direction. If you spin it in one direction it will happily spin away until it has gradually lost all of its kinetic energy due to friction and as you might expect then stops. However if you try to spin it in the opposite direction, it will resist and rattle about dramatically before then reversing its spin and once again happily rotating in its preferred direction.  This appears to violate the law of conservation of angular momentum which states that the amount of rotation an object has depends on its mass, shape and speed and this remains content if no external torque is applied to the object.
So this makes the rattleback a curiosity which has excited human imagination since prehistoric times. Indeed it is also known by several other names including "celt' ''celtic stone'' and ''space pet''.

here is a youtube video showing this effect somewhat dramatically on a much large rattle back.

This is a great video but doesn't really explain the effect and I haven't done so in any great detail either. I will say rather teasingly that I leave you to think about it or look it up yourselves. If you are a physicist, then perhaps, you know already and can explain it much better tan i ever could. I hope however that you enjoyed this post. Please let me know in the comments :)

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a good christmas and I just wanted to wish you all a happy, healthy and productive 2014. I'm looking forward to seeing what the International Year of X-Ray Crystallography brings. What are your plans? If you read my other blog 'Sarah in Training' you'll know that I am now about to get into serious training for the half marathon I will be doing in mid May for my favourite non-profit organisation. Aside from that I shall see what comes. I am waiting for the outcome of a research position I applied for at UCL just before xmas. Not hopeful but nothing to lose. Keep up the good science and take care!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Manchester Science Festival 2013

For me this year it was short and sweet. So short and sweet that I can fit it all into this singular post. It ran from 24th October until 3rd November this year. I was in Amsterdam for the opening weekend and know I missed some excellent events. I love the book talks, mostly in Blackwells on Oxford road and there were even more of those this year it seems, most during this weekend. I was available for most of the week to reprise my role as a STEM Ambassador but was only allocated 2 days, friday and saturday. Never mind, this means I can attend events as a visitor myself! Such a bummer that some of the ones you want to attend actually clash. So I found my self attending a couple of afternoon book sessions during the week and I loved them as I always do. The first speaker was a lovely witty guy called Caspar Henderson who obviously loved animals and he spoke about animals which are rare and which many people don't know about. His book was called 'The book of barely imagined beings'. I had initially thought, it was going to be about yetis etc! Silly me. As I enjoyed his talk so much I bought his book.  I always do, a good job I love reading. The following day I saw another wonderful talk by Tim Birkhead, a man who has spent 40yrs studying birds, specifically  the guillmot which looked alot like a penguin to me! Once again another entertaining talk by a guy who was teaching us what it is like to be a bird. He made it sound so fascinating and of course I bought his book Bird Sense and had it signed. I learned that birds can't detect symmmetry but can see in ultraviolet. If you ever make it to this festival, I highly recommend the book readings. There were of course many other amazing events this year, the main themes being brains and the icelab. The icelab was in the rafters of the 1830 and I found myself here for 2 sessions. Firstly on friday I spent the afternoon in the powerhall reuniting with Becky. Lovely girl though my memory fails to inform me of which festival/events we have met up at before. We were doing an event called doodlebots which was tons of fun. Before we could help the kids though we had to make one ourselves and both rose to the challenge admirably. They consist of a motor and 2 AA batteries, a piece of card and 4 marker pens and you need tape and a hole puncher. After making the doodlebots the idea was to place them on a sheet of paper, switch them on and let them go and let them draw a work of art. However, we both failed at this but thankfully the kids did a whole lot better and were able to take their masterpieces home. This is such a fabulous idea! The dads and grandads were really engaged and on a mission to make it work! A truckload of fun. Then my evening session took me to the icelab where I saw a fascinating talk about architecture in extreme enviroments. David Garcia talked us through a series of projects showing us new ways and new approaches to architecture.
Saturday afternoon began with a disney movie called Eight Below back in the icelab. It was an adventure involving huskies and I had to fight back tears but thankfully it was a happy ending. The festival was over far too quickly for me and my evening session saw me in Waterstones on Deansgate. I say this dear readers, as if you all know Manchester. Forgive me :) This was my first time in this bookshop myself, and the other volunteer and I, Meghan, had time for a coffee in the huge coffee shop. This talk was by tv astronomer Mark Thompson who gave a great talk about the cosmos. This talk was aimed at anyone who wanted to get into astronomy but can be enjoyed by experts too. Nobody in the room owned a telescope! Yes, I bought his book and was saddened that the festival is over once again. It was wonderful to see the MOSI team again and I hope to do this again next year. Always a resounding success. Love it!        

I am grateful for any feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and don't be a stranger xxx