Category Archives: Cool science.

How stuff works #1

‘How it Works’ really is one of the great TV shows of our time. There is something mesmerizing about those repetitive processes and how they come together to produce the finished product. So many processes in our day to day life are black boxed -hidden from view – and we just take them for granted. We all know how a simple bolt system locks a door but how does our front door lock and unlock. Have a look.

What fruit and veg looks like through an MRI scanner.

I can’t say I had ever wondered what broccoli would look like when viewed through an MRI scanner but I must say the results are pretty flipping cool. MRIs allow medical professional to view our anatomy from the inside out in 3D. Its an expensive procedure though so I’m wondering if the artist who created the gifs below has more money than sense or have doctors been over charging us all this time?

Awesome-Looking Chemical Reactions (.gifs)

The science Gifs I have been digging out and explaining have been proving extremely popular (way more so than my opinions/industry news ūüėÄ )so here’s 5 more awesome-looking chemical reactions for your viewing pleasure!

Lichtenburg Figures are Awesome.

A Lichtenburg figure is what occurs when an electrical charge passes through an insulating body leaving a tree-like pattern. These patterns get their name from the German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who originally discovered and studied them. Lightning bolts are probably the most commonly seen examples of Lichtenburg figures, but there are some really interesting ones to be found wherever large amounts of current are discharged.

On a Wing and a Prayer.

This unique Tennessee duckling, Buttercup, was born with one foot in the grave. His backward foot meant he had trouble walking, swimming and he was constantly in pain. He was adopted by Feathered Angels in Arlington Tennesse who noted that he risked falling fowl of serious infection due to the constant cuts on his troubled foot.

Chladni patterns are really awesome. (GIF series.)

This phenomenon occurs when sound waves of particular frequencies are played through a metal plate causing it to vibrate. If you place salt or a similar grains on the plate, it accumulates in the places of least displacement (nodes). Nodes and anti-nodes occur due to constructive and destructive interference – when coinciding waves either reinforce each other or cancel each other out. ¬†The amazing thing is, as you adjust the frequency of the sound wave, the interference patterns change drastically – with some pretty cool results. These¬†patterns take their name from¬†Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni who was was a German physicist and musician. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is nothing short of some ¬†handsome science.

Why Nikola Tesla was the Greatest Geek Who Ever lived. (An Oatmeal Comic)

teaslaThe Oatmeal make some awesome comics and I particularly like this one which features one of the chief scientific badasses of the 19th and 20th centuries РNikola Tesla.  Tesla is probably most famous for popularising alternating current but anyone who has ever played the Command and Conquer strategy games of the nineties probably remembers his name from the series of electrical weaponry named after him! Born in Serbia, Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison.

The Amazing Effect of Deep Brain Stimulation on Parkinson’s Disease.

DBSII-smAndrew was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease in 2009 when he was 35 years old. He lives with his wife and two children in Auckland, New Zealand. In November 2012 and February 2013 he underwent a surgical procedure, Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, to help control his motor symptoms. This has been hugely beneficial to his quality of life. He is the author of a blog which he created to raise awareness of the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

The Top 5 Irish Companies Putting People in Space.

space_expo_slider_0Last Friday I had a look into the courtyard at Trinity College Dublin to find out why there was a giant, white, geodesic dome there. I regularly guide tours around Dublin in my spare time and the construction of the dome was underway during the previous weekend’s tour. Needless to say, my interest had been peaked.

Revolutionary ‘Bladeless’ Wind Generator.

LRHow does a “windmill” without mechanically moving parts work? This is the question currently being answered by¬†Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in Holland.¬†¬†The model-EWICON (Electrostatic WInd Energy CONvertor) was designed by Mecanoo architects and uses charged droplets of water to generate electricity.