Volume 4 Issue 1 December 2013 ` 100
SCIENCE • HISTORY • NATURE • FOR THE CURIOUS MIND
HOW DO WE KNOW?
On the cover
HOW DO WE KNOW?
> IN A NUTSHELL
Find out how scientists made the intellectual journey from believing that the Sun was powered by an endless meteor bombardment, to discovering a nuclear reaction that stretched our understanding of physics to its limits.
WHAT POWERS THE SUN
BY ALEXANDER HELLEMANS
Until the 19th Century, no one had any idea how the Sun produced energy. Understanding the atomic nucleus and the chameleon-like nature of an elusive particle ﬁnally resolved the mystery
he nature of the Sun, and why it was glowing hot, remained unquestioned until the middle of the 19th Century, when scientists started wondering how heat related to the power of steam engines. The French engineers Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot and Émile Clapeyron studied steam engines and were the first to create a new branch of physics: thermodynamics. In the 1840s, the British scientist James Prescott Joule performed his famous experiments that supported Hermann von Helmholtz’s idea that mechanical motion, heat, and radiation are different manifestations of what he called ‘force’, which now corresponds to the modern concept of energy. With it came the realisation that any source of power, is finite, and scientists started to wonder what was the seemingly infinite source that powered the Sun.
28 What Powers The Sun
HoW do We KnoW?
What is the secret behind the Sun’s endless source of energy?
HOW DO WE KNOW?
Solar power Helmholtz agreed with the views of philosopher Immanuel Kant and mathematician/astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace that the Sun was formed by the
contraction of a huge gas cloud – a theory viewed as correct today. He argued in 1854 that the compression of the gas cloud caused the Sun to heat up, an idea defended by the British Physicist William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) until the 1890s. Kelvin figured out that the Sun could not be more than 40 million years old, and he clashed with the geologists and biologists of the time. For example, Charles Darwin’s views on evolution required the Earth to be much older. By the end of the 19th Century, geologists had sufficient evidence that the Earth had to be more than a billion years old. The first glimpse of a possible solution came American geologist Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin. He suggested in 1899 that “unrecognised sources of heat” may exist inside the Sun, energies of an “atomic or ultra-atomic nature”. Kelvin rejected this idea, but the discovery in 1903 of a weird property of the chemical element radium, recently isolated by the French physicists Marie and Pierre Curie, made Chamberlin’s idea acceptable. The material had a mysterious heat source that kept it hot. The British
physicists Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy soon identified it as radioactivity: atoms decaying by splitting up into smaller atoms. The mass of the newly formed atoms is less than that of the original atoms splitting up, and this tiny difference in mass is transformed into energy according to Einstein’s formula for the equivalency of mass and energy: E=mc2. Therefore, it was not surprising that Rutherford thought that nuclear fission, that produces heat inside the Earth and in nuclear reactors, could also heat up the Sun. In the meantime, to astronomers, the Sun appeared as a huge ball of hydrogen with small amounts of elements, such as helium, oxygen and carbon. There was insufficient uranium or other heavy elements present in the Sun to enable nuclear fission reactions. If atomic nuclei can split into smaller nuclei, why would smaller nuclei not be able to ‘fuse’ into bigger ones? This was what the American chemist William Draper Harkins asked himself, and in 1915, proposed that the fusion of hydrogen atoms, forming helium atoms,
Volume 4 Issue 1 December 2013 ` 100
The Sun provides Earth with abundant energy, produced by a nuclear reaction that took physicists decades to figure out
SCIENCE • HISTORY • NATURE • FOR THE CURIOUS MIND
AGE OF THE EARTH
BY DR CHERRY LEWIS
It’s taken three centuries for scientists to pin down the age of our home planet, a complex task with a cast of characters as diverse as its many experiments
oday we know that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus one per cent. It’s a number that has changed little since it was first determined 57 years ago, back in 1956 – only the error has got smaller. But how can we be so certain that it is accurate and why did it take so long to find it? To answer those questions we must turn the clock back three centuries. Archbishop James Ussher was just one of many scholars in the 17th Century attempting to establish the exact day on which God had created the Earth. Starting with Adam, Ussher developed a chronology for all the significant people in the Bible. He then added up their ages to determine that heaven and Earth were created on 23 October 4,004BC, which was a Saturday. This date would have remained as unknown as all the others had it not been for an enterprising bookseller called Thomas Guy who recognised a demand for cheap, mass-produced Bibles. In 1675 Guy began printing a version that included Ussher’s chronology in the margins.
> IN A NUTSHELL
From the first investigations involving cooling spheres of iron over 200 years ago, to exact measurements of isotopes in meteorites, the quest to fathom the age of the Earth has been a difficult path for generations of scientists. With a cast of characters as diverse as its many types of experiment, find out about geology’s finest hour.
SCIENCE PHTO LIBRARY
Spheres of time As knowledge about geology gradually accumulated, geologists began to realise that a few thousand years was just not long enough. In particular, a French Count, George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, believed that the Earth and the planets had all originated simultaneously from a plume of intensely hot material torn from the Sun. Over a period of 11 years, Buffon conducted extensive experiments with spheres of iron and rock of varying sizes, and published his results in 1775, giving the age of the Earth as 74,832 years since its formation to its current temperature. Over the following century, evidence for the aeons of time needed for geological processes began to emerge from studying the rates at which they could be seen to be operating, and by the middle of the 19th Century two of these ‘hour-glass’ methods prevailed. The first attempted to estimate both the total thickness of rocks in the world and the rate at which sediments were deposited, which gave the time taken to deposit all the rocks. But because deposition rates are different in
different places, ages calculated using these rates produced a broad range – from 3 to 2,400 Ma. The second hour-glass method attempted to measure the rate at which salt accumulated in the sea. Rivers hold dissolved salts in solution, derived from decomposition of the rocks over which they pass. Assuming that the sea had originally been pure water, they thought it should be possible to measure the time it had taken to accumulate present levels of salt. But this method was fraught with difficulties and also led to a wide range of ages. Then in 1862, Lord Kelvin, a renowned physicist argued that the Earth had originally been molten and considered it ‘obvious’ that if the temperature at which rocks melted and the rate at which they had cooled down was known, then it should be possible to calculate the time at which the Earth’s crust had consolidated. Given these unknowns, Kelvin gave his estimate to between 20 and 40 Ma. There was uproar from the geologists. The decade that straddled the turn
32 The Age Of The Earth
How old do you think the Earth really is? Read on to learn about the magical number
How do we know?
HOW DO WE KNOW?
ADILNOR COLLECTION, THINKSTOCK
HOW DO WE KNOW?
> IN A NUTSHELL
How fast light can travel is a question that scientific minds have been grappling with since ancient Greece. Today we can measure the speed of light very precisely but, as this article explains, it took hundreds of years and lots of theories to get to where we are now.
SPEED OF LIGHT
BY PROF FRANK CLOSE
It’s the universal speed limit and the key to making sense of the Cosmos, but how did scientists discover how fast light can travel?
ncient Greek mathematician Euclid believed that sight occurs because the eye emits light. Hero of Alexandria pronounced that light must travel at infinite speed as distant stars appear at the instant one’s eyes open. And in the 11th Century, the Basran mathematician Alhazen wrote his Book Of Optics, where he argued that light moves from object to eye, with a finite speed that varies depending on the medium through which it passes. Ideas continued to flow. In the 13th Century, Roger Bacon used the ideas of Alhazen to support the idea that light travels at a very high speed, faster than sound but finite. As late as the 17th Century, luminaries such as Kepler and Descartes insisted that light travels infinitely fast. In 1629, the Dutch philosopher Isaac Beeckman proposed an experiment wherein the flash of a cannon was reflected by a mirror, about a mile away, and the time lapse measured. Galileo independently proposed a similar experiment, in 1667. No time delay was detected. With our modern knowledge of light’s
speed, we know it would have taken about one hundred-thousandth of a second for it to make the round trip. That’s less than the reaction time of the observers, hence their inability to measure any delay – the distances involved were simply too small. By contrast, the distances between the planets are so large that light takes several minutes to travel between them. In Paris, Giovanni Cassini had been observing the moons of Jupiter, which in their orbits disappear behind the planet and reappear later. His measurements varied, and he attributed this to light having a finite speed. Danish astronomer Ole Rømer joined Cassini, and in 1676 noticed that the time that Io, Jupiter’s innermost moon, takes to reappear is less when the Earth is approaching Jupiter than when it’s receding from it. This confirmed Cassini’s conjecture – when Earth is approaching Jupiter, it has moved nearer while the light is en route, and the total distance for the light to travel is less. Hence it arrives relatively early. Rømer’s measurements and his discovery of the correlation with Earth’s motion cause him to be credited with the discovery. In 1690,
Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens used this to estimate a speed for light of about 220,000km/s, about 70 per cent of the modern value. The next step in the story again involves astronomy, and the aberration of light. Rain that is falling vertically when you are at rest appears to be falling from a point in front of you as you walk forwards – you have to tip your umbrella to keep dry. Walk in the opposite direction and the origin of the raindrops now also appears to be in the opposite direction. Now think of the falling rain as light travelling from a distant star, and your motion being that of the Earth through the heavens. The apparent position of a star varies during the year due to this phenomenon, known as aberration. James Bradley, the Astronomer Royal, discovered this phenomenon in 1729. He deduced that light travels about 10,200 times faster than the Earth in its orbit, 295,000km/s, an estimate that is within about two per cent of the modern value. Back down to Earth To determine high speed requires either
36 The Speed Of Light
HOW DO WE KNOW?
> IN A NUTSHELL
Elements are the building blocks of the natural world. The first periodic table, a system describing all known elements, was produced in 1869, revealing that a number were yet to be discovered – and scientific glory awaited those who could isolate them.
If you can see it then you’ll understand that the speed of light measures 299,792,458 metres per second
BY DR ERIC SCERRI
Once the periodic table had been discovered, the race was on among scientists to ﬁnd the missing pieces in the puzzle…
hroughout the history of chemistry, the discovery of a new element has been regarded as an important event and much credit has been granted to those who made such a find. Two major scientific breakthroughs then placed important constraints on the search for new elements, while still leaving plenty of scope for controversy. The first of these major discoveries was the periodic table, that wonderful system of classification that serves to bring order to the elements while placing them into families of groups with similar properties. The periodic table was independently formulated by at least six scientists in different countries. The most famous of these was the Russian chemist, Dimitri Mendeleev, who in 1869 succeeded in accommodating the 63 elements that were known at the time into a coherent system. In addition, Mendeleev had the audacity to predict the existence, and even the properties, of several new elements that would fill the empty spaces in his periodic table. His three best-known predictions were for elements that he called ekaboron, eka-aluminium and eka-silicon. Once discovered, they were given the names scandium, gallium and germanium respectively. Weight problems Here was the first signpost for how we know if elements are missing. If gaps were present in the periodic table, it meant that certain elements still awaited discovery. But things are not quite that simple, especially when dealing with the heavier elements. The problem was that the periodic table originally ordered the elements according to their increasing atomic weights. But it turns out that subsequent elements in the table do not differ by a constant value of atomic weight. For example, the atomic weight of hydrogen is 1.008, that of the next element helium is 4.003 and the next element lithium has atoms with a weight of 6.941. There are even some ‘monster cases’ where two elements actually fall in the wrong order according to their atomic weights. For example, the element iodine has a lower atomic weight than tellurium and yet according to its chemical and physical properties it should appear after tellurium. As a result of such irregularities it was not clear whether any more elements existed between, for example, hydrogen and helium. This brings us to the second major discovery, which resolved most of the outstanding issues about missing elements. In 1913 an English physicist, Henry Moseley, found that a better means of ordering the elements was provided by an ordinal number derived from his experiments with X-ray spectra (see ‘The key experiment,’ pxx) that ran from 1 for hydrogen to 92 for uranium. Each element had its own ordinal number, that soon became known as its ‘atomic number’. Unlike the atomic weights for each element, there were no fractional values and so there were no longer any ambiguities. At this point the hunt for missing elements became more focused and it became clear that precisely seven elements remained to be discovered between the original boundaries of the periodic table from elements 1 to 92. The missing elements had atomic numbers of 43, 61, 72, 75, 85, 87 and 91.
44-55 More Of How Do We Know
Inside accounts on unravelling the mysteries of The Missing Elements, The Structure Of The Atoms and How The Continents Formed
HOW DO WE KNOW?
HOW DO WE KNOW?
> IN A NUTSHELL
From solving the mystery of giant boulders left scattered across Europe, to intricate calculations describing the motion of the Earth around the Sun, it’s taken over 200 years for scientists to discover when and why Earth has periodic frozen epochs.
BY JOHN GRIBBIN
From controversial beginnings to irrefutable evidence, it’s taken over 200 years to reveal Earth’s Ice Ages
or hundreds of years, European people were aware of large lumps of rock, some as big as a house, lying around in places where they didn’t belong, far from the strata where such material originated. They became known as erratic boulders, shortened to ‘erratics’, and until late in the 18th Century the accepted story was that they had been dumped by the great Biblical Flood. But in 1787 a Swiss preacher, Bernard Kuhn, suggested that these boulders had been carried to their present locations by ice, not by water. In the 1790s the Scottish pioneer of geology, James Hutton, reached the same conclusion after a visit to the Jura Mountains of France and Switzerland. But the idea languished until it was taken up and vigorously promoted by another Swiss, Louis Agassiz, who was born in 1807. Agassiz picked up the Ice Age idea from a geologist, Jean de Charpentier, who gave a talk on the topic in Lucerne at the 1834 meeting of the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences. He reported how heaps of rocky debris, known as moraines, are left behind by retreating glaciers, and speculated that the Swiss glaciers had once been joined
Building the periodic table we know today involved a certain amount of filling in the gaps
in a single ice sheet extending across the mountains and perhaps reaching into the nearby lowlands of Europe. Controversial findings By the time the next annual meeting of the Society came around, at Neuchâtel on 24 July 1837, Agassiz was its president. The audience settled into their seats expecting a dull presidential address on fossil fishes, and were astonished when he let rip with an impassioned lecture on the Ice Age, in which that very term was introduced (in German, as ‘Eiszeit’). In 1840, Agassiz presented the evidence in a book, Étude Sur Les Glaciers, written in language that could not be ignored: ‘Europe, previously covered with tropical vegetation and inhabited by herds of great elephants, enormous hippopotami, and gigantic carnivora became suddenly buried under a vast expanse of ice covering plains, lakes, seas and plateaus alike. The silence of death followed… springs dried up, streams ceased to flow, and sunrays rising over that frozen shore… were met only by the whistling of northern winds and the rumbling of the crevasses as they opened
Erratic boulders, left by great glaciers of the Ice Age on Bealach na Gaoithe near Torridon, Scotland
across the surface of that huge ocean of ice.’ Such language attracted attention, but in scientific terms a much more important event also occurred in 1840, when Agassiz presented his ideas to a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Glasgow in September. The great geologist Charles Lyell, who was a big influence on Charles Darwin, was in the audience, and like many who heard the Ice Age theory for the first time, was unconvinced. But as a good scientist, soon after the meeting he headed into the Highlands to look for evidence in the form of ‘terminal moraines’ left behind by longmelted glaciers, and found them. Before the year was out, the Ice Age theory had been presented to the Geological Society in London, endorsed by Lyell, and established as fact. But this raised more questions. When had the Ice Age occurred? And why? The seeds of the modern theory of Ice Ages (note the plural) were sown in a book published in 1842. The author was Joseph Adhémar, a mathematician who worked in Paris, and his book was called
HOW DO WE KNOW?
STRUCTURE OF THE ATOM
BY PROF FRANK CLOSE
Throughout history, we’ve endeavoured to ﬁnd out what things are made of at the smallest scales of matter. Thanks to great scientists we now know the answer…
ome 400 years BC, in Ancient Greece, Democritus asserted that all material things are made from tiny basic objects – atoms – that cannot be divided into smaller pieces. This was until Aristotle rejected atomic theory and the idea was ignored for nearly two millennia. The Ancient Greeks also believed that everything was made from a few basic elements. Today we know that everything is made from chemical elements, such as hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Today we also know that an atom is not the smallest thing: atoms are themselves divisible. If you cut into an atom of any element, you will find its common constituents: lightweight, negatively charged electrons in the outer regions and a positively charged nucleus, dense and massive, at the centre. The only difference between the atom of one chemical element and another is the amount of electric charge on its nucleus, and the number of electrons that can be ensnared by the rule: ‘opposite charges attract’. An atom of hydrogen, the lightest element, has a nucleus with one unit of charge, encircled by one electron. Helium,
BY DR CHERRY LEWIS
Once scientists discovered that the continents were once joined together, the race began to explain how they drifted apart
ver since maps were made, people have noticed how the east coast of the Americas looks like it once fitted snugly into the west coast of Africa and Europe – it isn’t a perfect fit, but it’s good enough to make many wonder whether they had once been joined together. As early as 1596, Dutch mapmaker Abraham Ortelius considered that the Americas had been ‘torn away from Europe and Africa… by earthquakes and floods’. But it was Antonio Snider-Pellegrini who in 1858 first reconstructed the continents as they might have looked before the split.
the next, has two, and the heaviest naturally occurring element, uranium, has 92. Obtaining this knowledge took scientists on a remarkable journey of discovery. Atomic alchemy In the 17th Century, Robert Boyle founded the atomic theory of matter; he was the first to recognise that substances are compounds of basic elements, and to propose that these elements are composed of basic particles: atoms. Boyle’s ideas were descriptive only. Quantitative chemistry came about in the late 18th Century when Antoine Lavoisier showed that the masses of individual elements stay the same – are ‘conserved’ – during chemical reactions. This led to the idea that basic elements were rearranging themselves in such processes. Mass effect In early 19th Century England, John Dalton suggested that all atoms in a given chemical element are exactly alike: the atoms of different elements being distinguished by their mass. He
Uncover the mysteries surrounding the chilling Ice Age theories
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
From the first philosophical forays into the make-up of matter in Ancient Greece to the 20th Century’s exploration of quantum theory, find out about the pioneering physicists and the ground-breaking experiments that have shown us the workings of the atom.
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY, AKG IMAGES
40 Earth’s Frozen Past
had discovered that the weights of the various elements involved in chemical reactions were always in simple numerical proportions. The simplest example involved the gases, hydrogen and oxygen, combining to make water. Careful measurements showed that if all of the gases were to be used and none left over, the weight of the oxygen would need to be eight times as much as that of hydrogen. As two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom have combined to make a molecule of water – H2O – this implies that one oxygen atom must weigh eight times as much as two atoms of hydrogen. Relative to hydrogen, atoms of oxygen, carbon, calcium and iron weighed 16, 12, 40 and 56 times as much. This tantalising numerology was a hint that the atoms of the heavier elements having ‘more’ of the mystery material than the lighter ones. In other words: atoms are made of something even smaller. With hindsight, by the middle of 19th Century two discoveries held the clue that atoms have an inner structure. First was the phenomenon of atomic
> IN A NUTSHELL
The Earth moves Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist who, in 1910, was working at Marburg University in Frankfurt. On Christmas, as he and his roommate poured over the latest edition of a colour atlas, a thought occurred to him: “Does not the east coast of South America fit the west coast of Africa as though they had been contiguous in the past?” Wegener was so inspired by this revelation that he
determined to start looking for evidence to support it. In 1912 he felt confident enough to give his first lecture on the subject, publishing The Origin Of The Continents And Oceans in 1915. The book stated that during the late Palaeozoic era (about 350 million years ago) all the continents had been grouped together in one vast supercontinent he called Pangaea. As Pangaea started to break up, the continents slowly drifted apart, eventually arriving at their current positions. Some of the most convincing evidence was the palaeontological data. Not only did the tropical flora of the coal measures demarcate the equator of Pangaea, but Glossopteris ferns of the Permian era, which grew in a polar climate, were shown to cluster around Pangaea’s South Pole. In both Britain and America, Wegener’s ideas were received with incredulity and disbelief. Although most geologists saw the logic of Wegener’s arguments, there was one question that could not be answered. Just how did the continents move? Geophysicists in particular complained
that Wegener’s mechanism to explain this was physically impossible. The British geologist, Arthur Holmes, was one of the few who favoured continental drift. In December 1927 he wrote a groundbreaking paper, postulating that differential heating of the Earth’s interior, generated by the decay of radioactive elements within it, caused convection in the substratum beneath the crust. Although the substratum appeared solid, Holmes believed that over vast periods of time it behaved like a very thick, hot liquid; as hot material reached the top of a convecting cell beneath a continent it would travel horizontally, producing a force that was sufficient to slowly drag the continents apart, allowing the substratum to rise into the gap and form new ocean floor. This convection, Holmes claimed, was the mechanism that drove continents around the globe. Underwater world In the 1950s, groups collecting magnetic data from the ocean floors found a surprise beneath the Pacific: a pattern of linear magnetic stripes on the ocean floor that mirrored each other either side of
> IN A NUTSHELL
Today, the concept that the continents sit on moving plates – and that earthquakes and tsunamis are caused by those plates shifting – is common knowledge. But while such ideas were first put forward in the 1500s, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the theory of continental drift was conclusively proven.
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26 How Do We Know
ON THE COVER
Unlocking the answers to the known and the unknown in the Universe
56 Portfolio: The Private Life Of Gannets 63 Breakthroughs Of 2013
The calm outward appearance camouﬂages the spirited nature of the Gannets
80 Game Changers 18
Short circuit of a high power laboratory
Individuals who shaped modern India
MAHESH BENKAR. scientists re-deﬁne precision with these new-age measuring instruments
80 Game Changers
Recount the works of inﬂuential Indians that went down in history as the foundations of modern India
An excerpt from Abhimanyu Singh Sisodia’s Ravana . ABB.UK. 123RF.NDTC. brain teasers and more that will entertain and boggle your mind
Get ready to welcome Apple’s new touchscreen car dashboard
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Know about never-before-seen innovations as 21st Century scientists reveal groundbreaking revelations that are set to change the world
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70 Milestones That Changed The World 74 Measure Of All Things
Tracing the most revolutionary inventions and ideas from the beginning of time
Ruling the thermometer and clocking the weight. ILLUSTRATOR: ROBIN BOYDEN .Roar Of The Demon King tells the tale of how Ravana came to be known as the 10-headed rakshasa
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10 gadgets that made our must buy list of 2013
88 The Big Idea
David Norman investigates the events that made us bid adieu to the dinosaurs
history and nature
101 Games Review 102 The Last Word
We look into the gaming world and bring you the latest picks Olympic winner and youth icon. Shayamlal Ganguli.The Gannets
Retrace your steps through history’s game changing innovations
. Saina Nehwal talks about her can-do spirit
Poised predators . talks about reforms needed in the education system
94 Puzzle Pit 97 Edu Talk
A veritable buffet of brain teasers guaranteed to test your mind Dr N C Wadhwa. You have a question? We help satiate your curious appetite
Factual.Roar Of The Demon King that explores the origins of the Lanka king
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84 Inside The Pages
Website picks from the world of science.DeCembeR 2013
88 Big Idea
What killed the dinosaurs? Investigating the events that led to their extinction
Every question needs an answer. talks about moral education and Indian values
Read and buy! The have-to-have gadgets of 2013
Have scientists found a way to make humans levitate?
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An excerpt from the graphic novel. Vice Chancellor of Manav Rachna International. Ravana . engaging and informative insights into three magniﬁcent photographs
92 In Education
74 Measure Of All Things
The gen-next innovation of the common precision tools
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Robert is a writer and researcher. Climbing plants normally start by creeping along the floor until they reach a stem. UK.
Ask THE EXpERTs?
Email our panel at bbcknowledge@wwm. Gareth is a presenter of Click on the BBC World Service. GETTY.
A zoologist-turned-science writer. while clematis has leafstalks that twist around the stems of another plant to anchor it as it grows. There are several distinct strategies. UK. Ivy uses specialised roots that work into tiny fissures in tree bark or a wall.in
HIGHLIGHTS E Do ants have feelings? p9 E How do sinkholes form? p10 E Does a full e-book weigh
more than an empty one? p12 E Can the world’s tallest skyscraper be built in 90 days? p13
How do climbing plants climb?
Climbing is a parasitic behaviour that saves a plant the effort of making a strong trunk or stems of its own.in We’re sorry. Cucumber plants have tendrils that wrap around another stem and then pull the plant up by coiling up the tendrils.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
bbcknowledge@wwm. like Luke Skywalker’s home of Tatooine in Star Wars is Kepler-16b.co. some tropical climbers begin by growing away from the light. He is a Visiting Reader in Science at Aston University.
Luis has a BSc in computing and an MSc in zoology from Oxford. Once they touch something.
What eventually happens if you’re not much of a gardener
As well as lecturing at Imperial College London. because this makes them more likely to reach a tree trunk. Susan is an expert on psychology and evolution. ALAMY
The first planet to orbit to stars.co. His works include How Cows Reach The Ground. LV
Susan Blackmore (SB)
A visiting professor at the University of Plymouth. the physical contact triggers chemical changes that stimulate the climbing behaviour and the plant begins to grow against the direction of gravity. UK.
Alastair is a radio astronomer at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. but we cannot reply to questions individually. SUPERSTOCK. Stuart is a contributor to BBC Wildlife Magazine. Although the point of climbing is to escape the shade.
000 tonnes of hydrogen gas are lost from the Earth’s atmosphere each year. Their exoskeleton has sensory hairs on the outside but they probably cannot feel damage on the inside. LV
Do ants have feelings?
Ants don’t have complex emotions such as love.000 tonnes of material each year in the form of dust from space. They also estimate that about 95. or empathy. A 2010 study at Harvard found that the levels of ATP (the chemical used to provide energy to cells) in the brain remain fairly constant while you are awake. it would take about 120 thousand trillion (1.000 neurones.Earth is losing 50. They can smell with their antennae. While this might seem a lot. So while some regions may be less active.2x1017) years for the Earth to disappear with that rate of mass loss. This increased energy is used up through the night to create and rearrange the connections between neurones. Some have speculated that a whole colony could have feelings. Each ant’s brain is simple.000 tonnes of weight a year
Is Earth gaining or losing mass?
Scientists estimate that the Earth gains about 40. with a total mass of about 6 septillion kg (6x1024kg). The Earth is therefore losing at least 50. find food and recognise their own colony. anger. but briefly surge when you fall asleep. but they do approach things they find pleasant and avoid the unpleasant. That’s more than 8 million times the age of the Universe! AG
It’s lucky that ants don’t experience annoyance at overcrowding
Is my brain more active at night or during the day?
A sleeping brain is not resting. sleep provides it with an initial energy boost. Rather than resting the brain back to full strength.000 tonnes of mass every year. containing about 250. and so follow trails. Yet a colony of ants has a collective brain as large as many mammals’. which is why parasites can destroy them if they can get in without touching the sensors. SB
You may be up to more when you’re asleep than you think…
. your brain uses more energy overall while you sleep. compared with a human’s billions.
And the reason for this is entirely due to geometry.
Solar eclipses are therefore only visible from within a narrow path across the Earth. AG
A total solar eclipse only casts a shadow about 480km wide across the face of the Earth
Mars’s sky is a ruddy brown. AG
A sinkhole in Guatemala City Should have had a survey done…
. it is much less common to see a solar eclipse than a lunar one. But Mars’s atmosphere contains a permanent haze of dust particles composed mainly of iron oxides such as limonite and magnetite. At sunset and sunrise the sky can appear pinkish-red because there is more absorption of blue light due to the increasing hickness of atmosphere through which sunlight is travelling. For example. This is why they are visible less often from any given location. often described as ‘butterscotch’. PRESS ASSOCIATION. However. Florida is particularly prone to sinkholes because of an underlying system of limestone caverns.064 lunar eclipses. the same minerals that give the planet’s surface its characteristic red colour. Both kinds are normally found in limestone areas because limestone is slightly water soluble and forms the kind of caves and fissures that are required.co. However. LV
NASA. is visible from wherever the Moon is above the horizon. when the Moon moves through the shadow of the Earth. the sky appears blue because atmospheric molecules scatter blue light more than other wavelengths. the Martian sky would also appear blue or indigo – though it would be deeper in colour than Earth’s. ILLUSTRATOR: ACUTE GRAPHICS
What colour is the Martian sky?
On earth. eroding it away before it collapses leaving a hole. If the Martian atmosphere were clear like Earth’s. which is over half of the Earth. Either a cave gradually enlarges until the roof falls in. This haze preferentially absorbs blue light and results in a yellow-brown sky. It’s only about 480km (300 miles) wide when cast onto the Earth’s surface.898 solar eclipses and 12. at any one location on Earth. making it difficult to get to a location to see one. A lunar eclipse. when the
Moon appears to move in front of the Sun during a solar eclipse. they occur in about equal numbers. between 2000BC to 3000AD there will be 11. or a top layer of sand and soil is washed by rainwater into fissures in the underlying rock. due to Mars’s much thinner atmosphere. while in 2010 a sinkhole in Guatemala City was big enough to swallow a road and an accompanying three-floor building. usually about two of each per year. CATERS.QA
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED bbcknowledge@wwm. the shadow cast by the Moon is much smaller than Earth. as this image from NASA’s Curiosity rover reveals
How do sinkholes form?
There are two main processes.in
Why are solar eclipses rarer than lunar eclipses?
Solar eclipses are not actually rarer than lunar eclipses – in fact. Sinkholes can be triggered by sudden storms or flash floods and are also sometimes the result of old mine works.
The craft will have a robotic arm to attach to the asteroid. This would bring the space rock’s centre of mass close enough to the probe’s thrusters that they can then be used to stop the asteroid spinning. The probe will then park the asteroid at a Lagrangian point (an area of space where the gravity between two masses is balanced) between the Earth and the Moon. held open by four or more inflatable arms linked together with hoops.2 year journey before a slingshot from the Moon sends it into deep space. as the space rock is too small to land on directly. The asteroid is parked in a stable orbit around the Moon after a 2-6 year journey. Cinching cables would then be used to pull the bag up against a ring that constrains the asteroid’s position and attitude.
2. The project will also allow NASA to test measures for diverting future asteroids on a collision-course with Earth.HoW IT WoRKS NASA’S Asteroid Catcher
If you’ve ever struggled to cram all your shopping into a bag to get it home again.
4. to prevent it from wandering off. The asteroid will then be studied by astronauts using an Orion spacecraft. then spare a thought for NASA. In April NASA announced a mission to capture an asteroid and tow it back to Earth.
CAPTURE BAG DEPLOYED
A human (to scale) would be dwarfed by the asteroid capture
. Once there a high-strength inflatable bag will be deployed around the space rock. unmanned. …before engulfing the asteroid. But how do you go about capturing a 500-tonne spinning lump of rock and ice? The plan is to send a small.7 years the capture bag is deployed…
3. a journey that will take nearly four years. parking it near the Moon.
15m 1. Following launch the asteroid catcher starts a 2. After another 1. which should be ready to launch by 2021 to meet President Obama’s target of landing man on an asteroid by 2025. which is going to need a very big bag indeed for its latest purchase. solar-powered probe to intercept the asteroid.
where they remain lodged until another charge is applied. unleashing a torrent of electrons flowing from one side of the layer to the other. It’s often said (with scant evidence) that his IQ was 160. allowing entire blocks to be written and rewritten in one go. It was like a vertically stacked library where getting at one book at the bottom of a pile meant having to move the books above it one at a time. whose work on everything from statistics and evolution to the ‘wisdom of crowds’ is still used every day by researchers a century after his death. Far less well-known scientists such as Carl Gauss and Leonhard Euler made fundamental contributions in many more fields. GM
E-readers have replaced heavy tomes. thumb drives. It requires considerable on-chip processing and is a feat that has come about through recent advances in chip design and miniaturisation. In terms of mathematical ability.in
Is Einstein the smartest person who has ever lived?
Einstein has become synonymous with brilliance. Electrons have mass. USB flash sticks use a refined version of EEPROM. and he’s certainly one of the greatest scientists of all time.co. the e-book becomes slightly heavier. that would make him less intelligent than thousands of people alive today. either.QA
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED bbcknowledge@wwm. only their arrangement changes. The number of electrons remains the same. but when they’re used to store data. However. like moving a pile of books. When data is stored a charge is applied. Being trapped increases the electrons’ energy. but are they heavier when full?
. ALAMY. at a time. individual bits of data on the chip had to be erased separately. PRESS ASSOCIATION. Each cell of memory in an e-book contains two gates separated by an oxide layer. pen drives… whatever they’re called they store a lot of data
THINKSTOCK. Einstein would not come close to matching today’s leading physicists like Stephen Hawking. In its earliest incarnation. ILLUSTRATOR: ACUTE GRAPHICS
Does a full e-book weigh more than an empty one?
Your instinct would be to say no. ushering in USB drives capable of storing gigabytes of data. Berkeley professor John Kubiatowicz refers to the way that electrons are trapped through a mechanism called tunnelling. But it’s hard to claim he’s the smartest person who ever lived. From Einstein’s E=mc2 in which energy and mass are equivalent. A full Kindle would be an un-measurable billionth of a billionth of a gramme heavier than a brand new one. The depth and range of his achievements are not without precedent. the University of California. rather than one book. RM
Einstein: not so smart after all?
How do USB ﬂash drives hold so much data?
Flash storage devices are based on chip technology called Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM). even if true. The person with perhaps the strongest claim to being the smartest person of all time is the Victorian polymath Sir Francis Galton. But now multiple memory cells can be addressed simultaneously. GM
China wants to throw up a building nearly twice as high as the Empire State Building in just three months! The feat is being attempted by Broad Sustainable Building. The company will employ the same techniques it previously used to construct a 15-storey hotel in just 48 hours.8m-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai. the 829. but this isn’t the behemoth’s most remarkable fact.
FLAT-PACKED SKYSCRAPER A module consists of a floor section with flat-packed walls and the columns needed to support another module placed on top. Once complete. Copy here copy in here modules will be stacked copy in here Copy in here on top of each other to build five copy in here copy instoreys here a day.
Copy in here copy in here copy in here Copy in here Modules are hoisted up on a crane and copy in here copy in here put in together.
OCToBER 2012 / FOCUS / 13
.HoW IT WoRKS World’s Tallest Building
When it’s complete the Chinese skyscraper Sky City will be the tallest structure on the planet. took six years to build. Modules containing the floors. starting in January. The current tallest building in the world.000 people. it will dwarf the surrounding buildings at 838m high and have a hospital and apartments to house 30. before being carried to the site (two per lorry). Plus bolts that stick it all together. where they’re put together like a giant Meccano set. pillars. walls and tools are put together in a factory. reaching a grand height of 220 storeys. which will erect Sky City in the city of Changsha. To build Sky City in 90 days.
The system uses vibrating square platforms. or ‘nodes’. An object placed at one of these sweet spots can ﬂoat in mid-air. handle cells without risk of contamination. each about the size of a thumbnail.” says Foresti. you’d be forgiven for thinking you were seeing things.
To generate enough lift. they dissolved
A toothpick is moved around in the air on top of sound wave platforms
a ﬂoating coffee granule by moving it into a droplet of water and even levitated a toothpick.” says Dr Daniele Foresti. and then try to ‘pass the ball’ from one to the other. that send out sound waves and reﬂect them off a surface above. “Supercooled liquids tend to start freezing as soon as they touch a container. levitate humans. you’d be forgiven for thinking you were seeing things. the researchers can carry objects from platform to platform. which is too high for humans to hear. we can keep them as liquids. “Our idea was to pack levitators close together. the reﬂected waves combine with the upwards-moving waves to create a pattern known as a ‘standing wave’. Acoustic levitation was invented by NASA in the 1980s but until now. who led the research. scientists could only hold an object in place or rotate it on the spot. the system blasts out sound waves at 160 decibels – about the same volume as a jet engine at close quarters. At certain frequencies.”
DANIELE FORESTI X2
ThE LatESt iNtELLiGENcE
E Can you grow your own teeth using your own urine? p15 E Are humans evolving to ﬁght off an attack of cholera? p16 E Is Apple Inc in the process of making an iCar? p16
Coloured drops of fluid are levitated by the revolutionary sound wave experiment
loating coffee beans. For the first time. levitate humans. “By levitating them. The breakthrough means ‘acoustic levitation’ can be used to create new materials. By lining up a series of platforms and varying the strength of the sound waves from one to the next. For the ﬁrst time. scientists have found a way to move and manipulate objects in mid-air using sound waves. To demonstrate. that stay ﬁxed even as the wave oscillates. dancing water droplets. flying toothpicks – if you walked into one Swiss laboratory. and even.Update
A sound new way to levitate
Technique uses sound waves to ﬂoat objects and carry out experiments
Floating coffee beans. dancing water droplets. in theory. The acoustic levitator could allow scientists to move hazardous chemicals without touching them. we could use our system to bring together two supercooled metals and create new kinds of alloys. The breakthrough means ‘acoustic levitation’ can be used to create new materials. That’s why the researchers use ultrasonic waves with a frequency of 24. carry out delicate experiments. This has certain points. Now researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have developed a way to move objects and handle more than
one at the same time. carry out delicate experiments. and even. in theory. For example. and manipulate liquids that have been cooled below their freezing point.000Hz. scientists have found a way to move and manipulate objects in mid-air using sound waves. with the force from the sound waves balancing the downwards pull from gravity. ﬂying toothpicks – if you walked into one Swiss laboratory.
Scientists searching for life on other planets. These stem cells were mixed with molar dental tissue from mouse embryos and then transplanted into the kidneys of a different group of mice. revealing traces of thousands of species. Researchers led by Duanqing Pei.623km
Direction of ice flow
. I think it’s nearly impossible that they could have come from contamination. In the meantime. has led to criticism that the samples may have been contaminated. What’s more. the researchers have only been able to grow tiny teeth in mice.” says Rogers. REUTERS
Core drilled down to 3.” So. their structure was similar to human teeth. Most are from bacteria.Missing a tooth? Soon you may just have to supply a urine sample at the dentist’s to get a new one
Strongest signs yet of life in Antarctic lake
espite being cut off from the rest of the world for millions of years. although that one is buried under just 800m of ice.” says Professor Anthony Hollander. Samples of ice from just above the subglacial lake have been analysed. an expert in regenerative medicine at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Head of the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bristol. the experiment only had a success rate of around 30 per cent and the artiﬁcial gnashers weren’t as hard as real human teeth. Researchers in China have transformed cells discarded in urine into stem cells that can grow into tooth-like structures. They have identiﬁed 3500 unique genetic sequences.
though some belong to multicellular organisms. there are strong signs that Antarctica’s Lake Vostok is teeming with life. in theory. be used to develop a wholly human tooth bud that could be transplanted into the jawbone of a patient.” says Dr Scott Rogers. for now at least. Russian scientists succeeded in drilling down through to the lake for the ﬁrst time. “Planetary scientists should be encouraged by what we’ve found. harvested cells from human urine and then converted them into pluripotent stem cells – cells that have the potential to develop into any other cell. The technique could provide a source of new teeth built from a patient’s own cells. published in the journal PLOS ONE. life was discovered in another Antarctic lake.
ANTARCTICA South Pole Lake Vostok Vostok Station doesn’t look like much. Last year. The research. tiny structures that resembled teeth had grown inside the mice’s kidneys. the layer between the pulp and the enamel (dentin). After three weeks. but it’s discovered an ecosystem under the Antarctic ice
Vostok Station Direction of ice flow
GETTY. where the conditions may be similar to those in Lake Vostok. who was involved with the research. collecting water samples which are currently being analysed. Lake Whillans. and the hard surface (enamel). we should be trying to preserve the set we already have. biologists at Bowling Green State University in Ohio analysed a sample of ‘accretion ice’ extracted in 1998 that would have formed as the lake froze. On the downside.
Grow your own teeth…with urine
entists may one day be able to grow you a replacement tooth using a very unlikely source – your urine. will take a keen interest in this new research. “Functional human teeth need to be full-size and matured. and just looking at the organisms that we had in our sample. “[But] we used very stringent procedures. Lake Vostok is the largest of hundreds of Antarctic lakes and is covered by 4km of glacier ice.” Earlier this year. “So far. The researchers say that if human dental tissue was used instead of mouse tissue in the development process. “I don’t think you can assure with 100 per cent certainty that you don’t have some contamination. But researchers are stopping short of saying that this provides deﬁnitive proof of life in the lake. containing the central part of a tooth (pulp). the technique could.
But the Squito isn’t just about improving your holiday snaps – it could also be used in emergency situations. parking aids. These include interactive maps. it can capture aerial shots of your surroundings. But this won’t simply be an iPad embedded in the dashboard. When this ball-shaped camera is tossed skywards. The genomes of people from the Ganges River Delta region in Bangladesh. have been compared with people from northwestern Europe. which uses three cameras to take photos while it’s airborne. Over time. cholera appears to be changing the genetic code of Bangladeshis so people are more resistant to it. USA. Inventor Steve Hollinger in Boston. The technology giant has come up with a ‘Digital Dash’ in which the usual cluster of knobs and dials in front of the driver is replaced with a large touchscreen.
ALAMY. voice access to email. games for the passengers and even a maintenance screen featuring performance data and photos of key parts of the vehicle. but landscapes sometimes look a lot more interesting from the air. historY aNd Nature researCh From arouNd the world
Inhabitants of the Ganges Delta are evolving resistance to cholera
Apple’s digital dashboard
The throwable Camera
Taking photos with a handheld camera is all well and good. an infrared night vision display. This is then sent wirelessly to your smartphone. The device could be thrown into an unstable building. the tactile display will allow the driver to ‘feel’ whatever they’re touching by sending pulses of acoustic waves to their fingertips. lists a plethora of possible functions that could be controlled or displayed on the screen. The Squito could be the answer. came up with the design.
ThE LatESt iNtELLiGENcE
EEE ROUND UP
KeepiNg abreast oF the top sCieNCe. Apple now wants to redesign the dashboards in our cars. where the disease is rife. The
system may also include a head-tracking camera so the driver can nod up and down to make selections. To keep the driver’s eyes on the road. climate control. which has been granted. to scout for earthquake survivors. The patent. tablet or desktop. ILLUSTRATOR: ROBIN BOYDEN X2
. but the human body is evolving to fight back.
Having revolutionised the computers in our homes. Onboard orientation and GPS sensors tag each photo with the ball’s precise location and position and a processor then automatically rotates and stitches the shots together into one seamless panoramic image or fly-by video. for example.Update
HUMAn eVOLUtIOn In ActIOn
Cholera may cause thousands of deaths a year. The patent application has been granted.
” says Dr Robert Jehle at the University of Salford. But they are also happy to nibble on a dead animal.
. “Schools are usually comprised of sisters and brothers who come from the same egg clutch.” Soon these tadpoles will lose their tails and develop legs and lungs to hop on land. “Tadpoles tend to school more in the presence of predators because individually they have a higher chance to survive an attack. As frogs they will lose their ability to recognise their siblings. they are more likely to find it.” says Jehle.NatURe
safety in numbers
A school of tadpoles weaves its way through lily stalks in Cedar Lake in central Canada. “They are able to smell a food source so with their collective sense of smell. scraping algae from hard surfaces. “There is evidence that they can recognise their own kin using their sense of smell. But it isn’t just about safety in numbers. Tadpoles are mostly herbivorous.” says Jehle. a specialist in amphibians.
Made of aluminium. the spheres sit on top of the test circuit.
. Sweden developing the next generation of power transmission technology. new pieces of equipment such as circuit breakers and transformers are put through their paces to test whether they can cope with high voltage transmission. “They even out the electrical field preventing flashovers – short circuits through the air between different pieces of equipment. At ABB’s High Voltage Laboratory. The spheres are part of an alternating current (AC) test circuit where equipment can be exposed to over one million volts. an engineering manager.Snapshot
Spheres of inﬂuence
These huge orbs form part of a facility in Ludvika.” says Björn Jacobson.
“The red and yellow parts of the spectrum tend to be absorbed by ice and water more than the blues. or white light. there are no bubbles to interfere with the passage of light. “That’s why we see this brilliant blue colour. But here. resulting in these stunning ‘hummocks’.” “This fresh water ice is much clearer than sea ice.” says climatologist Dr Ignatius Rigor from the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center. the full spectrum of light.” adds Rigor. so it penetrates undisturbed. is scattered and reflected.Snapshot
Icing on the lake
hues of bLue
These turquoise gems rising up through the snowy landscape are shards of ice above Lake Baikal in Siberia – the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world. Fierce winds cause the ice to move. which tends to trap salts in a crystal lattice. giving it a white hue.
ALEXEY TROFIMOV/SOLENT NEWS
. When ice has many imperfections.
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HOW DO WE KNOW?
Find out how we solved the greatest mysteries of our world
HOW DO WE KNOW?
heat. The French engineers Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot and Émile Clapeyron studied steam engines and were the first to create a new branch of physics: thermodynamics. Therefore. that produces heat inside the Earth and in nuclear reactors. made Chamberlin’s idea acceptable. Kelvin rejected this idea.
. why would smaller nuclei not be able to ‘fuse’ into bigger ones? This was what the American chemist William Draper Harkins asked himself. The British
physicists Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy soon identified it as radioactivity: atoms decaying by splitting up into smaller atoms. The first glimpse of a possible solution came American geologist Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin. forming helium atoms. an idea defended by the British Physicist William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) until the 1890s. For example. energies of an “atomic or ultra-atomic nature”. The material had a mysterious heat source that kept it hot. oxygen and carbon. The mass of the newly formed atoms is less than that of the original atoms splitting up. There was insufficient uranium or other heavy elements present in the Sun to enable nuclear fission reactions. proposed that the fusion of hydrogen atoms. recently isolated by the French physicists Marie and Pierre Curie. He suggested in 1899 that “unrecognised sources of heat” may exist inside the Sun.HOw DO We KnOw?
WHAT POWERS THE SUN
BY AleXaNder HellemaNs
Until the 19th Century. Kelvin figured out that the Sun could not be more than 40 million years old. the Sun appeared as a huge ball of hydrogen with small amounts of elements. geologists had sufficient evidence that the Earth had to be more than a billion years old. which now corresponds to the modern concept of energy. remained unquestioned until the middle of the 19th Century. it was not surprising that Rutherford thought that nuclear fission. In the meantime. to astronomers. If atomic nuclei can split into smaller nuclei. With it came the realisation that any source of power. the British scientist James Prescott Joule performed his famous experiments that supported Hermann von Helmholtz’s idea that mechanical motion. could also heat up the Sun. and why it was glowing hot. when scientists started wondering how heat related to the power of steam engines. and in 1915. Charles Darwin’s views on evolution required the Earth to be much older. and scientists started to wonder what was the seemingly infinite source that powered the Sun. By the end of the 19th Century. He argued in 1854 that the compression of the gas cloud caused the Sun to heat up. In the 1840s. such as helium. Understanding the atomic nucleus and the chameleon-like nature of an elusive particle ﬁnally resolved the mystery
he nature of the Sun. is finite. but the discovery in 1903 of a weird property of the chemical element radium. no one had any idea how the Sun produced energy. and this tiny difference in mass is transformed into energy according to Einstein’s formula for the equivalency of mass and energy: E=mc2.
Solar power Helmholtz agreed with the views of philosopher Immanuel Kant and mathematician/astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace that the Sun was formed by the
contraction of a huge gas cloud – a theory viewed as correct today. and he clashed with the geologists and biologists of the time. and radiation are different manifestations of what he called ‘force’.
to discovering a nuclear reaction that stretched our understanding of physics to its limits.> IN A NutSHEll
Find out how scientists made the intellectual journey from believing that the Sun was powered by an endless meteor bombardment.
were puzzling: Davis detected three times fewer radioactive argon atoms than predicted by Bahcall. this time with no mass. But unlike the neutron. an electrically neutral particle that had to be holding the protons inside the nucleus. a neutrino hits a deuteron (a proton and a neutron forming the nucleus of a deuterium atom). consisting of two protons and two neutrons. was thought to take place in a chain reaction inside the Sun. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY X5. In the reaction. ROY KALTSCHMIDT/LBNL
nuclei. Raymond Davis. and independently Rutherford. It consisted of a ball-shaped container filled with 1000 tonnes of heavy water. something had to be carrying energy from it. predicted the existence of the neutron. Looking inside the Sun One type of beta decay. producing electrons. In one interaction. The first results. The SNO not only distinguished between the three flavours of neutrino but also confirmed the results obtained by Raymond Davis. The Homestake experiment could only detect electron neutrinos. Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli. The fact that light radiated in the opposite direction from the Sun was proof that the neutrinos came from the Sun. But then a new kid arrived on the block: the neutrino. They would repel each other. The SUdbURY NeUtRINo ObseRvatoRY Is a laRge pIeCe of eqUIpmeNt to deteCt somethINg INCRedIblY small
The equipment that detected neutrinos from the Sun was the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Ontario. a neutron in an atomic nucleus converts into a proton and emits a beta particle. would help to overcome the electrostatic repulsion between the protons. it also proved that neutrinos have mass. In doing so they give off what’s called Cherenkov radiation. Harkins. due to their electric charge. an American physical chemist. and ejects an electron. Protons (hydrogen nuclei) in the Sun’s core would collide with each other. published in 1968. IAN HOWARD. CORBIS. when data from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) (see the key experiment below) in Canada. a neutrino kicks an electron out of an atom. In 1967. The problem became known as the ‘solar neutrino deficit’. In 1920. These electrons travel in the liquid at speeds faster than the light does.What Powers The Sun
would also produce heat according to Einstein’s energy formula. James Chadwick discovered this particle in 1932. a cone of light that’s comparable to the sonic boom heard when an airplane breaks the sound barrier. For low-mass stars. This discovery made it possible to develop a theory for fusion reactions. consisting of two protons.
Photomultiplier tubes at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory surround a vast chamber filled with water to detect a fleeting glimpse of a neutrino
. would not survive. the
ALAMY. such as the Sun. would not fly apart. neutrinos hardly interact with matter. this was only a theory. In a second type of interaction. Scientists started seriously questioning Bahcall’s computations. with the difference in mass being converted into heat. The neutrinos interacted with the deuterium nuclei. decided to use a neutrino capture idea proposed in 1946 by the Italian-British physicist Bruno Pontecorvo. The energy of this beta particle was not constant. suggested in 1930 that yet another unknown particle.
tHE KEY EXPERiMENt
MajoR New sCIeNtIfIC bReakthRoUghs ofteN ReqUIRe hUge eXpeRImeNts. The SNO used a huge tank with heavy water in which all three types of neutrinos could be detected. Bethe developed the proton-proton mechanism. The photomultiplier tubes detected the light cones and their orientation. called ‘tunnelling’. The container was surrounded by a sphere consisting of 9500 photomultiplier tubes. due to the extremely high temperature. The resulting helium nuclei would be lighter than the hydrogen nuclei that formed it. And in 1967. The Italian nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi christened this particle the neutrino – ‘small neutron’ in Italian. became available. Canada. and in 1939 the German physicist Hans Bethe developed nuclear fusion mechanisms that convert hydrogen into helium in the Sun and stars. and Pontecorvo argued that a good number would go undetected. SCIENCE AND SOCIETY. Neutrinos
should therefore be formed abundantly. Neutron bomb It was difficult to explain the stability of atomic nuclei heavier than hydrogen by assuming that they’re made up only of protons. Their existence was only confirmed experimentally in 1955. in which hydrogen atoms are replaced by atoms of deuterium – a type of hydrogen having a proton and a neutron in its nucleus. BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY X2. He finally got off the hook in 2001. Bruno Pontecorvo predicted that solar neutrinos could change type (flavour). converting protons into the neutrons required to form helium nuclei. A quantum effect. was emitted along with the beta particle.
Alexander Hellemans is the co-author of The History Of Science And Technology. called beta decay. The helium nuclei formed. completed a huge neutrino detector in South Dakota. one of the pioneers of quantum theory. It was found that a mysterious particle was carrying energy away in certain types of radioactivity. But Bethe found that if one of the protons changes into a neutron. Not only did it confirm Bahcall’s neutrino flux computations. However.
Raymond Davies set up the Homestake Experiment to detect the neutrinos emitted by the Sun in collaboration with John Bahcall.
G William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) was a British physicist and one of the founders of thermodynamics. It would be emitted in certain nuclear reactions. he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1967 for his research into the nuclear reaction mechanisms in the Sun and stars. data from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory proved he was right. detecting only electron neutrinos. He argued that the Sun was heated by the contraction of a gas cloud. It resulted in the accurate description of two different fusion reactions by which stars convert hydrogen to helium.
Bruno Pontecorvo advances the idea that neutrinos change from one ‘flavour’ into another. showing that neutrinos have mass.
.cASt OF cHARActERS
The bIg-hItteRs of phYsICs who maNaged to UNRavel the mYsteRIoUs foRCe poweRINg the SUN
Hans Bethe a German and American nuclear physicist.
Data from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (pictured) confirms the existence of neutrino oscillations. The Italian physicist also predicted that the three types of neutrino would continuously change from one type into another. He detects only a third of the number of neutrinos predicted by John Bahcall in 1964.
G John Bahcall was an American theoretical physicist who predicted the production rate of neutrinos in the Sun. The predicted neutrino flux was larger than that measured by Davis’s Homestake Experiment but was confirmed in 2001 by results from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory.
It took the best paRt of a CeNtURY to pIN dowN the eXaCt meChaNICs behINd the SUN’s eNdless soURCe of eNeRgY
Wolfgang Pauli postulates the existence of an as-yet unknown neutral and massless particle.
G Bruno Pontecorvo proposed the use of chlorine atoms that would transmute into radioactive argon atoms for the detection of neutrinos. The American physical chemist detected fewer neutrinos than predicted by John Bahcall.
Raymond Davis publishes his first results with his underground solar neutrino detector in the Homestake Mine in South Dakota. a phenomenon known as neutrino oscillation. which was counter to mounting geological and evolutionary evidence that the Earth was much older. and also confirms the results obtained by Raymond Davis and the computation of the neutrino flux by John Bahcall.
Hans Bethe and Carl von Weizsäcker (pictured) work out the two nuclear fusion mechanisms occurring in stars: the proton-proton reaction for smaller stars like the Sun and the CNO reaction cycle for larger stars. and was not more than 40 million years old. the neutrino.
HOw DO We KnOw?
aGE OF thE Earth
bY DR CHERRY LEWIS
It’s taken three centuries for scientists to pin down the age of our home planet. believed that the Earth and the planets had all originated simultaneously from a plume of intensely hot material torn from the Sun. Assuming that the sea had originally been pure water. Ussher developed a chronology for all the significant people in the Bible. Given these unknowns. which gave the time taken to deposit all the rocks.54 billion years old. It’s a number that has changed little since it was first determined 57 years ago. back in 1956 – only the error has got smaller. This date would have remained as unknown as all the others had it not been for an enterprising bookseller called Thomas Guy who recognised a demand for cheap. But this method was fraught with difficulties and also led to a wide range of ages. The decade that straddled the turn
. Over the following century.832 years since its formation to its current temperature. and published his results in 1775. then it should be possible to calculate the time at which the Earth’s crust had consolidated. Kelvin gave his estimate to between 20 and 40 Ma. giving the age of the Earth as 74. But how can we be so certain that it is accurate and why did it take so long to find it? To answer those questions we must turn the clock back three centuries. mass-produced Bibles. Archbishop James Ussher was just one of many scholars in the 17th Century attempting to establish the exact day on which God had created the Earth. a complex task with a cast of characters as diverse as its many experiments
oday we know that the Earth is 4.
SCIENCE PH0TO LIBRARY
Spheres of time As knowledge about geology gradually accumulated. In 1675 Guy began printing a version that included Ussher’s chronology in the margins. they thought it should be possible to measure the time it had taken to accumulate present levels of salt. He then added up their ages to determine that heaven and Earth were created on 23 October 4004BC. The first attempted to estimate both the total thickness of rocks in the world and the rate at which sediments were deposited. and by the middle of the 19th Century two of these ‘hour-glass’ methods prevailed. derived from decomposition of the rocks over which they pass. George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon. evidence for the aeons of time needed for geological processes began to emerge from studying the rates at which they could be seen to be operating. Rivers hold dissolved salts in solution. But because deposition rates are different in
different places. Buffon conducted extensive experiments with spheres of iron and rock of varying sizes. Over a period of 11 years. geologists began to realise that a few thousand years was just not long enough. Lord Kelvin. Starting with Adam. There was uproar from the geologists. which was a Saturday. a renowned physicist argued that the Earth had originally been molten and considered it ‘obvious’ that if the temperature at which rocks melted and the rate at which they had cooled down was known. ages calculated using these rates produced a broad range – from 3 to 2400 Ma. Then in 1862. The second hour-glass method attempted to measure the rate at which salt accumulated in the sea. a French Count. In particular. plus or minus one per cent.
> IN A NutSHEll
From the first investigations involving cooling spheres of iron over 200 years ago. With a cast of characters as diverse as its many types of experiment. find out about geology’s finest hour. to exact measurements of isotopes in meteorites. the quest to fathom the age of the Earth has been a difficult path for generations of scientists.
the lead was measured using delicate chemical techniques.5 billion years ago. At one point Holmes discarded all the data and started again because radon leaked into the room. UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH. A year later. AIP EMILIO SEGRE X2 ILLUSTRATOR: RICHARDPALMERGRAPHICS. ARthUR Holmes foUNd a RelIable datINg method aNd paved the waY foR the age of the EaRth to be deteRmINed
platinum crucible. This proved that the Earth and the meteorites were formed at the same time from the same solar material around 4.640 Ma. Bertram Boltwood. Shortly afterwards. which measured the amount of radon. but helium as well. the U/Pb ratio increased consistently with age. triggered an explosion of activity in labs around the world. This technique was eventually used to date the age of the Earth. Rock of ages Having identified that helium was a byproduct of uranium decay. Furthermore. who recognised it: because helium is a gas.
Trial and error In 1938. The known rate at which uranium decayed to radon gave the amount of uranium present. analysis of each mineral was repeated up to five times. 207Pb and 208Pb – but at the end of the spectrum a tiny blip was seen. one element changed into another: uranium decayed to radium. CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION. A mineral solution is boiled (1) and the resultant gas stored (2) before the amount of radon is measured by an electroscope (3)
2) Radon is collected here
3) The amount of radon present is measured with an electroscope
In 1910. working with a new mass spectrometer at Harvard University. there was a flaw in his method and it was Robert Strutt. Claire Patterson. showing that the Earth must be at least that age. and ultimately transferred to an electroscope . samples from the Earth (and later. He calculated the average U/Pb ratio from these minerals to be 0. it was but a short step for Rutherford to realise that if the rate of helium production could be established. he demonstrated that the Earth. They astounded the world with their announcement that in the process of radioactive decay. SCIENCE AND SOCIETY X2. analysed rocks containing uranium and noticed that along with helium. large amounts of lead were present. and that radon was also unstable and went on to decay to other elements. The excitement over the discovery of X-rays in 1895 and the realisation in 1896 that uranium emitted similar ‘mysterious rays’ (termed ‘radioactivity’ by Marie Curie). In order to verify results. Arthur Holmes argued. an American chemist. Rutherford
became the first person ever to date a rock by radioactive decay – obtaining an age of 40 Ma. PHOTOSHOT. Progress was slow and the discovery of isotopes by Frederick Soddy in 1913 complicated things considerably. Arthur Holmes set out to determine the uranium/lead (U/Pb) ratio of 17 different minerals in a rock. demonstrating the reliability of the uranium-lead dating method. and the resultant glass dissolved in dilute hydrochloric acid. Patterson spent the next three years trying to prove the relationship and in 1956. UK. it can escape from the rock. As the technology progressed. another American. in order to both date the rock and prove that lead was the stable decay product of uranium.
tHE KEY EXPERIMENT
Water condenser 1) A solution of the dissolved mineral is boiled
BY measURINg the RatIo of URaNIUm to lead IN RoCks. a physics lecturer at the Royal College of Science in London. JJ Thomson discovered the electron and in 1902 Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy revealed radioactive decay.The Age Of The Earth
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY X3. a relatively simple calculation would show how long it had taken for the helium to accumulate. succeeded in determining the vanishingly small amounts of lead in iron meteorites. Soddy demonstrated that not only radon was produced. Furthermore.
The apparatus used by Arthur Holmes to determine the ratio of uranium to lead in minerals. The missing piece in the uranium-lead jigsaw had at last been found. He concluded that lead was indeed the final decay product of uranium and that a reliable technique had been found for dating rocks – it has been used ever since. [radon] was boiled out.COM
of the 20th Century must have been thrilling. planets and meteorites had a common ancestry. contaminating his results. and the age of the rock could be established. the Moon) also fell on that line. The oldest date in his dataset was 1. The minute spectrum of primordial lead was finally visible and identified as 204Pb. the young American physicist Alfred Nier. In 1897. After boiling and standing for several days in a corked flask . Unfortunately. In 1907. some lead had probably been around since the Earth first formed – called primordial lead – but if he could not identify which isotope of lead was the result of the decay from uranium and which isotope was that of primordial lead. collected in a gas-holder . the resulting powder being ‘fused with borax in a
To vacuum pump
. While waiting for the radon to accumulate. which in turn decayed to the gas radon. tried to identify all the known isotopes of lead (chemical symbol Pb). his dates would be inaccurate.
Dr Cherry Lewis is an honorary Research Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.045 and the rock to be 370 million years old. As expected. He spent days separating the minerals from the rock. he quickly saw the three known isotopes – 206 Pb. Furthermore.
Holmes uses Nier’s data to develop a model for calculating the Earth’s age.
G Alfred Nier American physicist at Harvard University who pioneered the development of mass spectrometry.
Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy discover radioactive decay.
Arthur Holmes English physicist and geologist who developed the uranium-lead dating technique.
Arthur Holmes develops the uranium-lead dating technique and calculates the Earth must be at least 1. Two years later.
Lord Kelvin determines that the Earth was a molten globe between 20 and 400 million years ago.
ThRee hUNdRed YeaRs of INvestIgatINg the pRopeRtIes of elemeNts has showN Us how old EaRth Is
Count Buffon calculates the age of the Earth to be 74. It is found to be 40 million years old. then scaling up his results to the size of the Earth.
Following Alfred Nier’s discovery of a 2. He later changed his first name to Clair. He discovered 204Pb and provided Arthur Holmes with data to calculate Earth’s age.832 years by heating spheres of iron and timing how long they took to cool. Holmes worked at Durham University building the geological time scale.640 million years old.480 million-year-old rock.cASt OF cHARActERS
The sCIeNtIsts whose effoRts foRged a bRIght fUtURe foR geologY
Frederick Soddy English chemist whose discoveries of radioactive decay (with Ernest Rutherford at McGill University) and isotopes at the University of Glasgow revolutionised the science of radioactivity. (Lord Kelvin) was a mathematician and physicist at the University of Glasgow.
G William Thomson.
G Claire Patterson American geochemist who finally dated the age of the Earth at the California Institute of Technology. but by 1899 had revised the time downwards to between 20 and 40 million years ago. which defines the age of the Earth. two years later Rutherford dates the first rock determined by radioactive decay.
Claire Patterson analyses the lead content of five meteorites and a sample from Earth.015 million years old. Moon and meteorites to be 4. which he determines to be 3. He regarded his work on the age of the Earth as his most important contribution to science.550 ± 70 Ma. by isolating microgram quantities of lead from meteorites. Soddy discovers isotopes which greatly improve the accuracy of dating.
That’s less than the reaction time of the observers. Back down to Earth To determine high speed requires either
. and the time lapse measured. With our modern knowledge of light’s
speed. and the aberration of light. This confirmed Cassini’s conjecture – when Earth is approaching Jupiter. known as aberration. we know it would have taken about one hundred-thousandth of a second for it to make the round trip. Roger Bacon used the ideas of Alhazen to support the idea that light travels at a very high speed. The apparent position of a star varies during the year due to this phenomenon.000km/s. in 1667. which in their orbits disappear behind the planet and reappear later. Jupiter’s innermost moon. an estimate that is within about two per cent of the modern value. and he attributed this to light having a finite speed. Ideas continued to flow. Giovanni Cassini had been observing the moons of Jupiter.HOw DO We KnOw?
SPEED OF LIGHT
bY ProF FraNk Close
It’s the universal speed limit and the key to making sense of the Cosmos. Now think of the falling rain as light travelling from a distant star. Hence it arrives relatively early. and your motion being that of the Earth through the heavens. In 1690. In 1629. it has moved nearer while the light is en route. Rømer’s measurements and his discovery of the correlation with Earth’s motion cause him to be credited with the discovery.200 times faster than the Earth in its orbit. 295. In Paris. Danish astronomer Ole Rømer joined Cassini. And in the 11th Century. but how did scientists discover how fast light can travel?
ncient Greek mathematician Euclid believed that sight occurs because the eye emits light. In the 13th Century. the Basran mathematician Alhazen wrote his Book Of Optics. with a finite speed that varies depending on the medium through which it passes. discovered this phenomenon in 1729. faster than sound but finite. hence their inability to measure any delay – the distances involved were simply too small. about a mile away. Walk in the opposite direction and the origin of the raindrops now also appears to be in the opposite direction. No time delay was detected. By contrast. James Bradley.
Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens used this to estimate a speed for light of about 220. where he argued that light moves from object to eye. and in 1676 noticed that the time that Io. takes to reappear is less when the Earth is approaching Jupiter than when it’s receding from it. the Dutch philosopher Isaac Beeckman proposed an experiment wherein the flash of a cannon was reflected by a mirror. Hero of Alexandria pronounced that light must travel at infinite speed as distant stars appear at the instant one’s eyes open. The next step in the story again involves astronomy. His measurements varied. Rain that is falling vertically when you are at rest appears to be falling from a point in front of you as you walk forwards – you have to tip your umbrella to keep dry. As late as the 17th Century. He deduced that light travels about 10. luminaries such as Kepler and Descartes insisted that light travels infinitely fast. Galileo independently proposed a similar experiment. the distances between the planets are so large that light takes several minutes to travel between them. about 70 per cent of the modern value. and the total distance for the light to travel is less.000km/s. the Astronomer Royal.
Today we can measure the speed of light very precisely but.How do we know?
> IN A NutSHEll
How fast light can travel is a question that scientific minds have been grappling with since ancient Greece. as this article explains. it took hundreds of years and lots of theories to get to where we are now.
In the top diagram. we determine the latter from the speed of light.792. this led Einstein to insist that the ether does not exist (at least in the form then believed). while its resistance to the magnetic field is called its magnetic permeability. and vice versa. light is slowed when it passes through a transparent medium. He was able to infer the speed of light. A mirror five miles away reflected the light back. Viewed from Earth. orbits that planet every 42.792. and found a speed of 299.
tHE KEY EXPERiMENt
Io Distance light travels Jupiter
How obseRvINg the movemeNt of the mooNs of JUpIteR pRovIded 17th CeNtURY astRoNomeRs CassINI. and to propose his theory of Special Relativity in 1905. However.792. NIST
accessing a large distance. such as water or glass. The ease with which the electric and magnetic fields can oscillate back and forth determine the speed at which the electromagnetic wave travels. to their surprise. an electric field disappears and a magnetic field emerges. performed his own measurements. it’s closer (bottom).The Speed Of Light
SCIENCE AND SCOIETY PICTURE LIBRARY. the speed of light is related to these quantities. centuries ago. Light has less distance to travel.46km/s. which established this.458 of them in the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one second. Later in the orbit. He had the insight that this could be due to light taking time to travel from Jupiter to Earth. and when their values were inserted into Maxwell’s equations at the end of the 19th Century. But in reality.5 hours.796km/s.788km/s. as in astronomy. and Rømer’s ideas were not universally believed. The French physicist Louis Fizeau in 1849 found a way to do this on Earth. it is possible for particles such as an electron to travel through the medium faster than light. shortening the interval between eclipses of Io
Distance light travels
Diagram not to scale
. He shone light between the teeth of a rapidly rotating wheel. Today. and to define the metre so that there are exactly 299. THINKSTOCK. Onwards to Einstein In 1887.000km/s. He made a long series of measurements. UK and the author of The Infinity Puzzle. which is remarkably close to the modern value of 299. with an uncertainty of just 1m/s. Michelson and Morley’s setup proved highly sensitive and.COM.
Frank Close is a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. the electric and magnetic ‘stiffness’ are not zero. Leon Foucault used a similar idea. In 1865 James Clerk Maxwell published his work on electromagnetic waves. Rømer realised that the variations correlated with the relative motion of Earth and Jupiter. demonstrated that the speed of light is universal. when Giovanni Cassini made measurements around the year 1671. In any electromagnetic wave. independent of direction. It was thought that the time between eclipses would be the same. When these were combined with Cassini’s. GETTY. Earth is nearer to Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun. In Maxwell’s theory. If space offered no resistance – in Maxwell’s theory. over and over. Strangely. but still below the absolute speed limit. the innermost moon of Jupiter. ALAMY. Einstein’s theory implies that the speed
of light in a vacuum is nature’s speed limit: no object that has mass can ever attain the speed of light in a vacuum. or the ability to measure very small time intervals. and which led to an estimate of light’s speed to be over 220. However. BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY. For many. Ole Rømer. and his assistant. since 1983 it has been agreed to ‘fix’ the speed of light at the above value. In turn. CORBIS ILLUSTRATOR: RICHARDPALMERGRAPHICS.000km/s. So today. enable the most accurate value of 299. It turns out that the product of these quantities is proportional to the inverse of the square
of the speed of light. and the measurement of time intervals using atomic clocks. The resistance or ‘stiffness’ of free space to the former is called its electric permittivity. In particular. RØmeR aNd HUYgeNs wIth aN eaRlY INdICatIoN of the speed of lIght
Earth Io. Consequently. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. Therefore the distance travelled from Jupiter to Cassini’s telescope would vary from one eclipse to another. while any particles that have no mass must travel through a vacuum at this universal speed. In 1862.458m/s. So in a sense Kepler was right. It was not until James Bradley measured the speed of light by means of stellar aberration that Rømer’s theory was accepted. during which period the Earth had moved. if the electric or magnetic ‘stiffness’ were zero – the speed of light would indeed be infinite. Io periodically disappears behind Jupiter and reappears later. then the most accurate estimate of the speed of light available. depending on whether the Earth was moving towards or away from Jupiter. advanced highly stable lasers. they gave a value of 299. the results kept changing. Cassini seems not to have trusted his intuition. as physicists struggled to do for centuries. instead of measuring the speed of light relative to the space-time of the Universe. in which light is a wave of electric and magnetic fields. this was so unimaginably fast as to be regarded as infinite. Albert Michelson and Edward Morley in the USA attempted to measure the speed of the Earth through the ‘ether’ – a medium then believed to permeate all space – by measuring the difference in the speed of light in two perpendicular directions.
This was translated into Latin in the 12th Century. He proposed that the planets orbit the Sun. to an accuracy of 1m/s.
.458th the distance travelled by light in a vacuum in one second. fellow Dane Christiaan Huygens calculates this speed to be around 220.792. the speed of light in a vacuum is measured to a precision of one part in a billion: 299. the Italian polymath’s work led to the theory of mechanics. independent of the speed of the source or of the observer. which is at the centre of the Solar System. and influenced western thought regarding the rainbow and optics in general.796km/s. including showing that it travels more slowly through water than through air.
Light speed made absolute at the 17th General Conference on Weights and Measures. He also made improvements to the telescope and founded observational astronomy.458m/s.
G Ole Rømer during his time as assistant to Giovanni Cassini (1625-1712) in Paris.
French physicist Léon Foucault uses rotating mirrors to calculate the speed of light at 299. it was Rømer who demonstrated this. a metre is now defined as 1/299.000km/s.cASt OF cHARActERS
Some of the gReat mINds that poNdeRed the speed of lIght thRoUgh the ages
Galileo Galilei often regarded as the father of modern science. This inspired Roger Bacon (1214-1294).1868
Leon Foucault in addition to his work on the speed of light.
A laser (below) is used to measure the frequency of a particular spectral line of a krypton atom. the Danish astronomer observed the moons of Jupiter.
James Maxwell shows light to be an electromagnetic wave. forms the basis of the Special Theory of Relativity developed by Albert Einstein. As a result. This offers a practical way of seeing the effects of Earth’s rotation. an English philosopher who is often wrongly credited for Alhazen’s ideas.
The concept that the speed of light is universal. Although Cassini had the idea that the data showed that light travels at finite speed. The speed of these waves agreed with that of light. the French physicist is known for the Foucault pendulum. enabling its speed to be calculated from known properties of space. By combining this information with the definition of the metre. This established light.
1819. the Basra-born mathematician wrote the seven-volume Book Of Optics from 1011-1020.792.
G James Clerk Maxwell the Scotsman is credited with uniting all known phenomena of electricity and magnetism in a theory that predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves.
How sCIeNtIsts speNt 300 YeaRs devIsINg eveR moRe aCCURate waYs of measURINg the speed of lIght
After Ole Rømer shows that light travels at a finite speed.
G Alhazen based in Cairo. radio waves. x-rays and more as all being electromagnetic waves that differ in frequency and wavelength.
But in 1787 a Swiss preacher. who was a big influence on Charles Darwin. and were astonished when he let rip with an impassioned lecture on the Ice Age. enormous hippopotami. and established as fact. it’s taken over 200 years to reveal Earth’s Ice Ages
or hundreds of years. The silence of death followed… springs dried up. as Eiszeit). But as a good scientist. streams ceased to flow. some as big as a house. are left behind by retreating glaciers. who gave a talk on the topic in Lucerne at the 1834 meeting of the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences. was in the audience. But the idea languished until it was taken up and vigorously promoted by another Swiss. and sunrays rising over that frozen shore… were met only by the whistling of northern winds and the rumbling of the crevasses as they opened
across the surface of that huge ocean of ice. Étude Sur Les Glaciers. lying around in places where they didn’t belong. Agassiz picked up the Ice Age idea from a geologist. and gigantic carnivora became suddenly buried under a vast expanse of ice covering plains. and found them. and speculated that the Swiss glaciers had once been joined
in a single ice sheet extending across the mountains and perhaps reaching into the nearby lowlands of Europe. a mathematician who worked in Paris. Agassiz was its president. soon after the meeting he headed into the Highlands to look for evidence in the form of ‘terminal moraines’ left behind by longmelted glaciers. endorsed by Lyell. and like many who heard the Ice Age theory for the first time. In 1840. previously covered with tropical vegetation and inhabited by herds of great elephants. European people were aware of large lumps of rock. far from the strata where such material originated. James Hutton. Louis Agassiz. and his book was called
. was unconvinced. Controversial findings By the time the next annual meeting of the Society came around. The audience settled into their seats expecting a dull presidential address on fossil fishes. The author was Joseph Adhémar. at Neuchâtel on 24 July 1837. held in Glasgow in September. Agassiz presented the evidence in a book. lakes. Jean de Charpentier. when Agassiz presented his ideas to a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. written in language that could not be ignored: ‘Europe.HOw DO We KnOw?
BY JohN GribbiN
From controversial beginnings to irrefutable evidence. The great geologist Charles Lyell. and until late in the 18th Century the accepted story was that they had been dumped by the great Biblical Flood. not by water.’ Such language attracted attention. Bernard Kuhn. He reported how heaps of rocky debris. known as moraines. who was born in 1807. In the 1790s the Scottish pioneer of geology. reached the same conclusion after a visit to the Jura Mountains of France and Switzerland. They became known as erratic boulders. Before the year was out. the Ice Age theory had been presented to the Geological Society in London. suggested that these boulders had been carried to their present locations by ice. When had the Ice Age occurred? And why? The seeds of the modern theory of Ice Ages (note the plural) were sown in a book published in 1842. but in scientific terms a much more important event also occurred in 1840. shortened to ‘erratics’. seas and plateaus alike. in which that very term was introduced (in German. But this raised more questions.
to intricate calculations describing the motion of the Earth around the Sun.
. it’s taken over 200 years for scientists to discover when and why Earth has periodic frozen epochs.> IN A NutSHEll
From solving the mystery of giant boulders left scattered across Europe.
making an Ice Age.
tHE KEY OBSERVAtiON
A walk takeN bY two meN IN the Alps – oNe a skeptIC. Croll published his first paper on Ice Ages in 1864. If it were not for global warming. Northern winter was seven days longer than summer. the pattern of the seasons slowly shifts around the orbit
of the Earth as the millennia go by. history was repeated when the British geologist Charles Lyell set out to see the evidence for himself after hearing Agassiz speak about the Ice Age theory. when de Charpentier took a skeptical Agassiz up into the Alps. alternating in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It came in the form of scars. His results were published in 1920. ROBERT HARDING. a Russian-born German meteorologist. but cool summers. and Northern Hemisphere winters are a tiny bit warmer.Earth’s Frozen Past
Révolutions De La Mer. realised that they showed how Ice Ages are associated with cool summers. hot summer days. Adhémar argued that over thousands of years this extra length of winter had allowed the vast Antarctic ice sheet to grow. then it is wrong.000 years long are separated by slightly warmer ‘interglacials’ about 10. In
AKG IMAGES. The actual amount of heat ‘lost’ during the seven extra days of winter is nowhere near enough to make great ice sheets grow. This is what led him to the idea that a vast area of Europe had once been blanketed in a sheet of ice. SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
fact. But the cycle of the seasons itself is. discovering that some boulders in the area came from as far afield as Scandinavia. hard maths By the end of the 19th Century. This was the idea that the climate on Earth is modulated by changes in the orbit of our planet around the Sun. Agassiz spent several years studying erratics in the Alps. Because the Earth travels more swiftly when it is nearer to the Sun. the otheR eNtIRelY CoNvINCed of hIs Ideas – was the dRIvINg foRCe behINd the sCIeNCe that Revealed the ICe Ages
The key moment in the Ice Age story came in 1836. of course. Once again. explained by the tilt of the Earth. known as ‘parallel roads’. Voilà! An explanation of not one but many Ice Ages. Enter James Croll. GETTY X2. born in Scotland on 2 January 1821. As the famous physicist Richard Feynman later said: “If it disagrees with experiment. And 11. But he also knew that because of a wobble of the spinning Earth (like the wobble of a spinning top). Some 11. In 1840. researchers tested Croll’s theories and showed that he was wrong.000 years ago. the next Ice Age would be just around the corner. It contained one golden nugget. Before then. UNIVERSITY OF BELGRADE. the idea was wrong. But Adhémar thought longer term. The person who made this clear was a Serbian mathematician. Croll suggested that when Northern Hemisphere winters were particularly cold. Agassiz was firmly convinced that erratics were the result of rocks being left by a Biblical Flood. but the final version can be summed up simply. completely overwhelming this small orbital effect. and soon after reading them Wladimir Köppen. The only snag is. Croll calculated that between 100. and that the present interglacial began about 10. Cold. the pattern was the same as today. he found irrefutable evidence for the previous existence of a great ice sheet.000 years long. Johannes Kepler had realised that the orbit of our planet is slightly elliptical. The ‘roads’ mark the shorelines of former lakes trapped in the valley by glacial dams. It took Milankovic two years to come up with a model describing how the insolation had changed over the millennia for each band of latitudes on Earth. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY X3. And nobody had realised the significance – the implication that what you need to start an Ice Age is not cold winters. What we now know is that Ice Ages roughly 100.000 years ago. Milutin Milankovic ´. the geological evidence showed that at that time it was plunging into an Ice Age.000 and 80. this time covering Scotland. winters are longer than summers. which he built in the Swiss Alps around a huge boulder on a glacier during an expedition in 1840
. But in the best tradition of science. just south of the Great Glen. along the sides of the valley of Glen Roy. He developed his ideas over many years. But it did set people thinking about the orbital influence on climate. Seasonal effects In the 17th Century.000 years before that. cold winter days and long.” This applies to observations as well as to experiments.
John Gribbin is a science writer and co-author of Ice Age (Allen Lane). it spends seven days less traversing the (Northern Hemisphere) winter half of its orbit than it does traversing the summer half. So Northern Hemisphere summers are a tiny bit cooler than they would otherwise be. He had got it exactly backwards.000 years ago the world should have been thawing out of an Ice Age. when confronted with evidence to the contrary he recanted. snow and ice would spread across the continents. In the south.
Agassiz’s ‘Hôtel de Neuchâtelois’. which brings us short. CORBIS.
produced by cyclical changes in the Earth’s tilt. a travelling salesman.
. receiving honorary degrees. where he was a major influence on the development of American science.
James Croll worked as a carpenter in Glasgow. This implied a very long history. After his caretaking job. He promoted the ‘uniformitarian’ idea that the same processes we see today (volcanoes.
G Charles Lyell was the pre-eminent geologist of his time.
Milutin Milankovic calculates how the ‘insolation’ of the Earth at different latitudes has changed over thousands of years because of the effects discussed by Croll. Mars and the Moon. allowing time for evolution to work. He adapted his name when he moved to Switzerland to take charge of the salt mines at Bex. His interest in geology led him to study the moraines scattered in the valleys there. he became a fulltime scientist.
It took oveR 200 YeaRs of obseRvatIoNs foR geologIsts to Reveal the tRUth aboUt EaRth’s fRoZeN past
Bernard Kuhn unsuccessfully tries to convince geologists that erratics seen at low altitudes far down Swiss valleys had been dumped there by retreating glaciers. Louis Agassiz is in attendance. implying that the valleys were once full of ice. born in Germany as Johann von Charpentier. In 1948 he became Vice President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences. These were so successful that he was offered a permanent job. He worked in civil engineering before taking up a post in Belgrade. and stayed in the USA. and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1876.
G Jean de Charpentier was a mining engineer. earthquakes and so on) explain the changes that have occurred during Earth’s history. and proprietor of the only temperance hotel in a town with 16 hostelries selling alcohol. are responsible for the onset of Ice Ages. The same year he convinces British geologists including Charles Lyell that the theory is right. where he returned after the War.
James Croll publishes his first paper on climate change. Venus.
Jean de Charpentier gives a talk to the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences on the idea that glaciers had once covered Switzerland. the Jura mountains and other parts of Europe.
G Milutin Milankovic ´ also calculated solar radiation data for Mercury. the start of the development of his idea that very cold winters.cASt OF cHARActERS
The sCIeNtIsts who pUt theIR heads above the paRapet to pRove that ICe Ages took plaCe
Louis Agassiz travelled to North America in 1846 to study the local geology and natural history and give a series of lectures.
Louis Agassiz (pictured) publishes a book dramatically expounding a much bigger vision of ice stretching from the North Pole to the Mediterranean.
In addition. Each element had its own ordinal number.HOw DO We KnOw?
bY DR ERIC SCERRI
Once the periodic table had been discovered. the race was on among scientists to ﬁnd the missing pieces in the puzzle…
hroughout the history of chemistry. At this point the hunt for missing elements became more focused and it became clear that precisely seven elements remained to be discovered between the original boundaries of the periodic table from elements 1 to 92. Once discovered. 61. The problem was that the periodic table originally ordered the elements according to their increasing atomic weights. eka-aluminium and
eka-silicon. Henry Moseley. There are even some ‘monster cases’ where two elements actually fall in the wrong order according to their atomic weights. For example. that soon became known as its ‘atomic number’. This brings us to the second major discovery. Mendeleev had the audacity to predict the existence. for example. But it turns out that subsequent elements in the table do not differ by a constant value of atomic weight. that of the next element helium is 4. especially when dealing with the heavier elements.’ pxx) that ran from 1 for hydrogen to 92 for uranium. As a result of such irregularities it was not clear whether any more elements existed between. 75.941. they were given the names scandium. If gaps were present in the periodic table. The periodic table was independently formulated by at least six scientists in different countries. the element iodine has a lower atomic weight than tellurium and yet according to its chemical and physical properties it should appear
after tellurium. the atomic weight of hydrogen is 1.008. 72. of several new elements that would fill the empty spaces in his periodic table. Dimitri Mendeleev. which resolved most of the outstanding issues about missing elements. and even the properties. The missing elements had atomic numbers of 43. who in 1869 succeeded in accommodating the 63 elements that were known at the time into a coherent system. 85. His three best-known predictions were for elements that he called eka-boron. found that a better means of ordering the elements was provided by an ordinal number derived from his experiments with X-ray spectra (see ‘The key experiment. But things are not quite that simple. the discovery of a new element has been regarded as an important event and much credit has been granted to those who made such a find. The most famous of these was the Russian chemist. The first of these major discoveries was the periodic table. In 1913 an English physicist.
. that wonderful system of classification that serves to bring order to the elements while placing them into families of groups with similar properties. it meant that certain elements still awaited discovery. Unlike the atomic weights for each element. For example. 87 and 91. there were no fractional values and so there were no longer any ambiguities. hydrogen and helium. while still leaving plenty of scope for controversy. Two major scientific breakthroughs then placed important constraints on the search for new elements.003 and the next element lithium has atoms with a weight of 6. Weight problems Here was the first signpost for how we know if elements are missing. gallium and germanium respectively.
a system describing all known elements.> IN A NutSHEll
Elements are the building blocks of the natural world. was produced in 1869. The first periodic table. revealing that a number were yet to be discovered – and scientific glory awaited those who could isolate them.
It was a task carried out in 1945 by Jacob Marinsky and Lawrence Glendenin by the irradiation of uranium in a graphite reactor.
Henry Moseley in the Balliol-Trinity laboratory at the University of Oxford. a couple of teams in the US made independent claims for the element: Charles James and his co-workers believed they had recorded the X-ray lines of the element. element 61. especially by the French chemist Georges Urbain who thought he had discovered the element as early as 1911. was produced. This was due to a rule that maintained that the discovery of a new element should be assigned to whoever discovered the longest-lived isotope of an element. c. A few years earlier. Like technetium and astatine. Next. This agreed with the chemical order of the elements and confirmed that Moseley’s ordinal number – or atomic number. in view of its close proximity to uranium in the periodic table. In this way. suggested that they might name it nipponium.theIR atomIC NUmbeR
Henry Moseley’s key experiment. element 91 is also radioactive. Perey named the element francium in honor of her homeland. It had been discovered that when X-rays strike a metal target. 1910
. was quick to relinquish his claim when he heard of Meitner and Hahn’s discovery of a different isotope with a half-life of about 32. promethium. which was claimed by two teams of researchers before being credited to Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn in 1917. but discovery of the element now called rhenium is generally attributed to the husband and wife team of Ida and Walter Noddack. The official discovery of the element is attributed to two Italian scientists. a physicist and chemist respectively. as it soon became known – provided a better means to order the elements than their atomic weight. up to and including element 118.com. Not surprisingly. the metal cobalt came before nickel. see ericscerri. GETTY X3. His advisor William Ramsey. was based on the reflection of X-rays. First there was a team of Italians that included Luigi Rolla and Lorenzo Fernández. as did Smith Hopkins at the University of Illinois. In 1949. element 91. The final discovery in this ‘tale of seven elements’ involved an equally tortuous route. But none of this stood the test of time. where he teamed up with Dale Corson and Kenneth MacKenzie.The Missing Elements
First blood The first element to be bagged was actually the heaviest one. Moseley adapted this experiment so that he could change the target metal without having to dismantle the apparatus each time. The fifth element also involved a good deal of controversy. She had been an assistant of Marie Curie in Paris. they emit secondary rays that are characteristic of the metal in question. called Fred Allison claimed in 1930 that he had invented a new method for measuring what he called a magnetooptical effect. ALAMY. Berkeley. but nobody was able to reproduce their results.
Masataka Ogawa. Marguerite Perey. maintains that Ogawa had in fact discovered element 75. who were to achieve even greater fame when they discovered nuclear fission in 1938. Curiously perhaps. The fourth element Perhaps the most controversial of all the missing seven elements to be discovered is the fourth. Moseley’s initial experiments only considered a sequence of 10 elements. who claimed to have detected some X-ray lines at just the frequencies expected for element 61. had to be synthesised artificially. who was working at University College. who had discovered a number of noble gas elements. London. an element that forms actinium (element 89) upon radioactive decay. AIP X2. they bombarded a sample of bismuth-209 with alpha particles to produce astatine-211. Since then a remarkable 26 elements have been artificially synthesised. The secondary rays from each metal were then reflected from a crystal and the image was recorded on a photographic plate. It was decided that the new element should be called prot-actinium. in 1925. A chemistry professor in Alabama.
tHE KEY EXPERIMENT
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY X3. Moseley was able to measure the frequencies of the reflected X-rays and found a simple relationship between the square root of the frequency and an ordinal number to represent each metal. Emilio Segrè and Carlo Perrier. This element could not be produced again.500 years. carried out a century ago in 1913. The second element of the missing seven was element 72. But that’s another story…
Dr Eric Scerri teaches chemistry at UCLA and is the author of A Tale Of Seven Elements. neptunium. but he soon expanded his study to most of the elements lying between aluminium and gold. This discovery was bitterly disputed however. and that this had led him to discover not only element 87. between calcium and zinc. the Polish radiochemist Kasimir Fajans had discovered a very short-lived isotope of this element that he named brevium but to his credit. which was named hafnium by its discoverers George de Hevesy from Hungary and Dirk Coster from Holland.
Emilio Segrè also synthesised the sixth element after relocating to the University of California. The graph that Moseley obtained showed that in terms of its X-ray frequency.
BoUNCINg X-RaYs off dIffeReNt tYpes of metal pRovIded the keY to a moRe CoNsIsteNt method of ClassIfYINg the elemeNts . For more on his writing. The genuine element 87 was discovered in 1939 by a French woman. an element beyond uranium. but also element 85. even before all the seven elements had been discovered. who called it ‘masurium’. To this day another Japanese chemist. The element now called technetium was also first claimed by the Noddacks. Kenji Yoshihara. The third missing element was first claimed in 1908 by a Japanese chemist.
in the whole of the Earth’s crust.
Ida Noddack was a German chemist and physicist who was co-discoverer of the element rhenium along with her husband Walter Noddack. A French radiochemist. He arrived at his arrangement of the elements while in the process of writing a book on inorganic chemistry for students.
MeNdeleev’s 1869 peRIodIC table spaRked a sCIeNtIfIC RaCe that woUld last foR oveR 100 YeaRs
Mendeleev publishes the first of his periodic tables and uses it to correct some atomic weights and to correctly predict the existence of several previously unknown elements. francium. she was forced to flee Germany in 1936 because of her Jewish heritage. thereby establishing the experimental basis for the property of atomic number.
G Lise Meitner discovered the element protactinium as well as nuclear fission with Otto Hahn. the first of the seven missing elements to be artificially created. which he first published in 1869. the last naturally occurring element.
Henry Moseley conducts the first of his two classic studies on the frequency of X-ray lines emitted from a sequence of 10 elements.
G Dimitri Mendeleev was perhaps the most famous Russian scientist of any epoch. such as in medicine. He was tragically killed while fighting at the battle of Gallipoli in WWI. settling in Sweden and eventually the UK. They also claimed to have discovered another element that they named masurium. she began as a technician working with Marie Curie and made her key discovery before obtaining an undergraduate degree. An Austrianborn physicist. She was the first woman to be elected to France’s Académie des Sciences.500 years.cASt OF cHARActERS
A Roll-Call of sCIeNtIsts who dIsCoveRed the mIssINg elemeNts
Henry Moseley published eight scientific articles during his lifetime. Technetium would go on to find important applications.
Marguerite Perey discovers the last naturally occurring element in Paris. In one of these the English physicist found a simple relationship between the frequencies of reflected X-rays and an integral value for each element — its atomic number.
G Marguerite Perey discovered francium. Fission became the basis of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn discover the first of the seven ‘missing elements’ in the periodic table.
. He discovered the periodic table of the elements. There are only about 30g of this element. The isotope of the element later called protactinium has a half-life of 32. but that turned out to be spurious.
Emilio Segrè (pictured) and Carlo Perrier discover technetium.
was working at Marburg University in Frankfurt. But it was Antonio Snider-Pellegrini who in 1858 first reconstructed the continents as they might have looked before the split. The book stated that during the late Palaeozoic era (about 350 million years ago) all the continents had been grouped together in one vast supercontinent he called Pangaea. The British geologist. publishing The Origin Of The Continents And Oceans in 1915. people have noticed how the east coast of the Americas looks like it once fitted snugly into the west coast of Africa and Europe – it isn’t a perfect fit. were shown to cluster around Pangaea’s South Pole. In both Britain and America. Underwater world In the 1950s. Not only did the tropical flora of the coal measures demarcate the equator of Pangaea. Holmes claimed. there was one question that could not be answered. was the mechanism that drove continents around the globe. a thought occurred to him: “Does not the east coast of South America fit the west coast of Africa as though they had been contiguous in the past?” Wegener was so inspired by this revelation that he
determined to start looking for evidence to support it. In December 1927 he wrote a groundbreaking paper.
The Earth moves Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist who. groups collecting magnetic data from the ocean floors found a surprise beneath the Pacific: a pattern of linear magnetic stripes on the ocean floor that mirrored each other either side of
. caused convection in the substratum beneath the crust. Dutch mapmaker Abraham Ortelius considered that the Americas had been ‘torn away from Europe and Africa… by earthquakes and floods’. generated by the decay of radioactive elements within it. allowing the substratum to rise into the gap and form new ocean floor. in 1910. In 1912 he felt confident enough to give his first lecture on the subject. as hot material reached the top of a convecting cell beneath a continent it would travel horizontally. Arthur Holmes. which grew in a polar climate. as he and his roommate poured over the latest edition of a colour atlas. Holmes believed that over vast periods of time it behaved like a very thick. postulating that differential heating of the Earth’s interior. the continents slowly drifted apart. the race began to explain how they drifted apart
ver since maps were made. Just how did the continents move? Geophysicists in particular complained
that Wegener’s mechanism to explain this was physically impossible. producing a force that was sufficient to slowly drag the continents apart. was one of the few who favoured continental drift. As Pangaea started to break up.HOw DO We KnOw?
BY Dr CherrY lewis
Once scientists discovered that the continents were once joined together. As early as 1596. On Christmas. but it’s good enough to make many wonder whether they had once been joined together. eventually arriving at their current positions. Although the substratum appeared solid. Wegener’s ideas were received with incredulity and disbelief. but Glossopteris ferns of the Permian era. Some of the most convincing evidence was the palaeontological data. This convection. Although most geologists saw the logic of Wegener’s arguments. hot liquid.
> IN A NutSHEll
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Today. But while such ideas were first put forward in the 1500s. it wasn’t until the 1960s that the theory of continental drift was conclusively proven.
. the concept that the continents sit on moving plates – and that earthquakes and tsunamis are caused by those plates shifting – is common knowledge.
pointing in the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field. By varying the estimated spreading rate. Eventually basaltic material wells up between the continental fragments. And it was not until the ’50s that people realised this was caused by the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field periodically flipping over. In 1965. while the oldest were furthest away and adjacent to the continent. The two continents. The study also confirmed that at least 11 geomagnetic reversals had occurred over the last 3. as continental drift is now called. What’s still not entirely clear. pushing them further and further apart until an ocean such as the Atlantic forms. as Hess’s theory became known. The process generally starts with heating at the base of the continental crust.5 million years. Vine used this enhanced timescale of reversals to predict the magnetic profile that would be expected across the central regions of mid-ocean ridges. Their average rate of movement is about 4cm
a year – about the rate your fingernails grow. such that the South Pole became the magnetic pole. By the end of the 1960s. MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY. the new material pushed the previous flow apart so that half would move to either side of the ridge. when he proposed his theory of evolution. It was immediately evident that the youngest rocks were nearest to the ridge. the stripes must represent the periodic ‘flipping’ of the Earth’s magnetic field. Fred Vine and his PhD supervisor at Cambridge. Hess had them riding on a conveyor belt of convecting mantle.
Earth’s barcode The significance of the ocean floor’s magnetic stripes then dawned on two British geophysicists. fractures occur that gradually grow into rifts which start to break up the continent. is why some plates move faster than others. known as potassiumargon dating. comparable to that caused by Darwin a hundred years earlier in biology. In 1963 they proposed that if spreading of the ocean floor occurred as Hess suggested. the magnetic particles within them become ‘fossilised’. PRINCETON DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES.
Dr Cherry Lewis is a geologist and the author of The Dating Game: One Man’s Search For The Age Of The Earth. It appeared to confirm Harry Hess’s theory of seafloor spreading and continental drift. Comparing the age and geomagnetic stratigraphy of the marine sediments with the onshore lavas provided an excellent correlation. FRED VINE/JOE CANN. CORBIS X2. This verified Vine’s work and the theory of continental drift at long last became indisputable. a new magnetic survey of the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the northeastern Pacific was made.
tHE KEY EXPERiMENt
A datINg method UsINg deep-sea CoRe samples pRoved that the theoRY of CoNtINeNtal dRIft was CoRReCt
A method for dating certain rocks. The following year. was crucial in helping to prove theories of continental drift
. In 1962. The theory of plate tectonics was born. Seafloor spreading. a geomagnetic reversal timescale was developed to allow Fred Vine to correlate onshore reversals with sea floor reversals and demonstrate that the ocean floors were youngest close to the ridge and oldest next to continents. it was possible to obtain a very close simulation of all the observed anomalies and consequently determine the actual spreading rates at individual ridges. would be thousands of kilometres distant. was pioneered in the 1950s. samples from deep sea cores from the Pacific showed that the timing and pattern of magnetic reversals in the core samples matched those determined from lava flows on land.How The Continents Formed
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY X5.
The process of potassium-argon dating. predicted that as ‘rising limbs of mantle-convection cells’ welled up from the depths beneath the midocean ridges. instead of continents ploughing through oceanic crust as Wegener had proposed. once part of the same landmass. Furthermore. which causes it to become more plastic and less dense. Drummond Matthews. CORBIS
the mid-ocean ridge with almost perfect symmetry. Tectonics today Today’s lithosphere is divided into eight large plates and many smaller ones. Verification of Vine’s work was provided by palaeomagnetic investigations of 650 samples from sediments in seven deep-sea cores taken from the Antarctic. however. the heated area becomes a broad dome. as seen here. Because less dense objects rise in relation to denser objects. Today. then Head of Geology at Princeton University. the great unifying theory of plate tectonics. explains just about every geological feature you care to imagine. fossilised in basalts as they oozed out from the mid-ocean ridge. a revolution had occurred in geology. when geologists wanted to know how frequently magnetic reversals occurred. slightly widening the ocean each time. Harry Hess. thus linking the continents and oceans. Since the early 20th Century it had been recognised that when rocks such as basalt (lava) cooled from their molten state. put forward a startling proposal. As the crust bows upward. By the early 1960s.
Harry Hess proposes ‘seafloor spreading’.
Harry Hess was a geologist at Princeton University who suggested that the Earth’s crust moved laterally away from volcanically active mid-ocean ridges.
Alfred Wegener proposes his theory of continental drift in which a single landmass.
Antonio Snider-Pellegrini depicts the continents as a single landmass on the first day of Creation.
CoNtINeNts move oveR thoUsaNds of YeaRs – aNd It took Us NeaRlY 400 to fIgURe oUt how the pRoCess woRks
Abraham Ortelius suggests in print. He died on a polar expedition and did not live to see his theory revolutionise the Earth sciences. having studied the first modern maps of the whole world. He went on to provide evidence that verified continental drift. whereby convection within the mantle brings molten material to the surface at midocean ridges.
. citing fossils and matching rock formations on opposing sides of the Atlantic to support his ideas. existed during the Carboniferous era.
Arthur Holmes suggests convection currents in the mantle as the mechanism for driving continents around the globe.
G Fred Vine proposed. Lack of a mechanism was hitherto a major obstacle preventing the acceptance of continental drift. and a pattern of magnetic stripes that mirror each other either side of the ridges. 1939
G Antonio SniderPellegrini was an Italian-American geographer who was the first to illustrate the continents as a single landmass. along with Drummond Matthews (pictured to the right of Vine). Pangaea. that the Americas had at some point in history been “torn away from Europe and Africa”.cASt OF cHARActERS
The sCIeNtIsts whose effoRts foRged a bRIght fUtURe foR geologY
Alfred Wegener was the German meteorologist who first proposed the theory of continental drift. When Pangaea broke up. in a book entitled The Creation And Its Mysteries Unveiled. that magnetic stripes either side of mid-ocean ridges recorded the orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field. the fragments drifted slowly to their present positions.
G Arthur Holmes proposed convection currents in the mantle as a mechanism for driving continents around the globe.
Mapping the ocean floor reveals vast mid-oceanic ridges that circumnavigate the globe.
b. But like Wegener. the British physicist’s ideas were ignored for decades. He compiled a database to support his theory that the continents were slowly drifting around the Earth and had once been joined in a single landmass. His theory of seafloor spreading made him one of the ‘founding fathers’ of modern plate tectonics. slowly pushing the continents apart.
has two. In other words: atoms are made of something even smaller. uranium. hydrogen and oxygen. An atom of hydrogen. we’ve endeavoured to ﬁnd out what things are made of at the smallest scales of matter. he was the first to recognise that substances are compounds of basic elements. dense and massive. you will find its common constituents: lightweight. and the heaviest naturally occurring element. atoms of oxygen. This led to the idea that basic elements were rearranging themselves in such processes. calcium and iron weighed 16. This was until Aristotle rejected atomic theory and the idea was ignored for nearly two millennia. has a nucleus with one unit of charge. The only difference between the atom of one chemical element and another is the amount of electric charge on its nucleus. Democritus asserted that all material things are made from tiny basic objects – atoms – that cannot be divided into smaller pieces. Mass effect In early 19th Century England. He
had discovered that the weights of the various elements involved in chemical reactions were always in simple numerical proportions. such as hydrogen. at the centre. the weight of the oxygen would need to be eight times as much as that of hydrogen. in Ancient Greece. First was the phenomenon of atomic
. the lightest element. Today we know that everything is made from chemical elements. Robert Boyle founded the atomic theory of matter. the next. and the number of electrons that can be ensnared by the rule: ‘opposite charges attract’. Today we also know that an atom is not the smallest thing: atoms are themselves divisible. carbon and oxygen. Quantitative chemistry came about in the late 18th Century when Antoine Lavoisier showed that the masses of individual elements stay the same – are ‘conserved’ – during chemical reactions. Careful measurements showed that if all of the gases were to be used and none left over. Atomic alchemy In the 17th Century.
Helium. combining to make water.HOw DO We KnOw?
struCturE OF thE atOm
bY ProF FraNk Close
Throughout history. Relative to hydrogen. As two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom have combined to make a molecule of water – H2O – this implies that one oxygen atom must weigh eight times as much as two atoms of hydrogen. Boyle’s ideas were descriptive only. and to propose that these elements are composed of basic particles: atoms. carbon. 12. With hindsight. by the middle of 19th Century two discoveries held the clue that atoms have an inner structure. The simplest example involved the gases. negatively charged electrons in the outer regions and a positively charged nucleus. 40 and 56 times as much. This tantalising numerology was a hint that the atoms of the heavier elements having ‘more’ of the mystery material than the lighter ones. Thanks to great scientists we now know the answer…
ome 400 years BC. The Ancient Greeks also believed that everything was made from a few basic elements. encircled by one electron. If you cut into an atom of any element. Obtaining this knowledge took scientists on a remarkable journey of discovery. John Dalton suggested that all atoms in a given chemical element are exactly alike: the atoms of different elements being distinguished by their mass. has 92.
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. find out about the pioneering physicists and the ground-breaking experiments that have shown us the workings of the atom.> IN A NutSHEll
From the first philosophical forays into the make-up of matter in Ancient Greece to the 20th Century’s exploration of quantum theory. AKG IMAGES
this hypothesis describes a host of historical phenomena and has led to a wealth of technological applications. look to see if any alpha particles were deflected through very large angles. radioactivity showed that one element could transform spontaneously into another by emitting particles. which led him to predict that further elements must exist to fill them. and a scintillating screen to detect the scattered alpha particles. The energies of the various waves are unique to atoms of a given element. follow different laws from those of Newton.COM.when light emitted by hot elements was split into component colours. Quantum theory goes one step further to explaining where electrons can be around a nucleus. the phYsICIst ERNest RUtheRfoRd aNd hIs ColleagUes foUNd a waY to pRobe the heaRt of aN atom
Scintillating screen Beam transmitted with little or no deflection
Beam of alpha particles
Early in the 20th Century. lifting the electron up the ladder. p99). like someone on a ladder who can step only on
individual rungs. positively charged particles emitted in radioactivity – they found that most of them passed through. So although we can’t directly ‘see’ the electron waves within atoms. This raised two questions: what were the constituent parts of atoms and how were they arranged? Answers came in 1897. which explain the behaviour of objects that are large enough to see. UK and the author of The Infinity Puzzle. Conversely.
. but with a dense central region. He mused that these forces might be present within atoms. When Rutherford’s discovery of the positively charged atomic nucleus and Thomson’s discovery of the lightweight. the atom absorbs that photon. And as atoms have no overall electric charge.000 alphas were turned back in their tracks. and the periodic table. His celebrated Periodic Table Of The Elements contained gaps.The Structure Of The Atom
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY PICTURE LIBRARY X3. RICHARDPALMERGRAPHICS. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Frank Close is a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. To everyone’s amazement he discovered that about one in 20. Instead of mica. Instead of an electron being able to go anywhere in an atom. a process known as transmutation. elements having similar chemical properties periodically reoccurred.
tHE KEY EXPERiMENt
Beam deflected Gold foil
IN hIs MaNChesteR laboRatoRY. the massive particles must be positively charged in order to neutralise the electrons’ negativity. What is familiar for electromagnetic waves occurs for electrons too. A single wave corresponds to the lowest rung of the energy ladder. ALAMY X2. it is limited. two waves puts the electron on the second rung and so on. the excess energy is carried away by a photon of light. When an electron drops from a rung with high energy to one that is lower down. Rutherford deduced that the gold atom must be mostly empty space. In addition to spectra. such as atoms. He called this the nucleus. In 1911. Rutherford famously exclaimed: “It was as though you had fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it had bounced back and hit you”. Rutherford realised that the positive charge in an atom is concentrated in a massive and exceedingly compact central ‘nucleus’. American Robert Millikan measured the electric charge of the electron and it led to two inferences: as electrons are so light. Ernest Marsden. which were moving at 15. The spectral lines that result when electrons jump from one rung to another are therefore like a barcode. capable of deflecting the alpha particles. Danish physicist Niels Bohr articulated the idea in the summer of 1912. Any particle can take on a wave-like character. The size of the nucleus relative to an atom was famously compared to being like a “fly in a cathedral”. a seductively simple picture emerged of the atom as a miniature Solar System. but occasionally one would recoil violently (see ‘Key experiment’. and that it was the repulsion of like charges that was deflecting the relatively lightweight alpha (the nucleus of a gold atom being some 50 times more massive than an alpha particle). It was the discovery of quantum theory: very small things. if an atom is hit by a photon whose energy matches the gap between two rungs. like an atomic barcode unique to each element. there must be other more massive particles in there too. This could only have happened if they felt electric and magnetic forces far greater than anything known. Rutherford suggested that his colleague. characteristic sets of lines showed up. when JJ Thomson found that electric current is carried by negatively charged particles: electrons. Dmitri Mendeleev discovered that when he listed the atomic elements in order of their atomic weights. CORBIS X2.000km/s. identifying the elements present in the Sun and other stars. negatively charged electron were married with the rule that opposite electrical charges attract. Second.
Science is golden When Ernest Rutherford and his assistants Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden bombarded atoms of gold with alpha particles – massive. Quantum leap But something was missing. Ernest Rutherford noticed that thin sheets of mica could deflect alpha particles (see ‘Need to know’ p101). Marsden used gold leaf that was only a few hundred atoms thick.
cASt OF cHARActERS
The pIoNeeRs that have peeled baCk the laYeRs of the atomIC oNIoN
Dmitri Mendeleev a Russian chemist. in 1906 and 1907. He realises the nucleus is massive and compact. The electron still appears to be indivisible. but this was rejected after claims that his discovery was too old. and identifies it as a constituent of all atomic elements. Although he is best known for his discovery of the nuclear atom.
It has takeN two CeNtURIes foR some of the gReatest phYsICIsts to get to the heaRt of the atomIC woRld
John Dalton proposes that all matter is made of indestructible atoms.
Niels Bohr creates a conceptual picture of the atom like a miniature Solar System. He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1922. and the atmosphere.
. It is negatively charged. where ‘planetary’ electrons orbit a central nuclear ‘Sun’.
G Niels Bohr a Danish physicist who made major contributions to the foundations of quantum mechanics and to the theory of atomic structure. with which his name is associated. but his most famous insights were with the atomic theory of chemistry. Cambridge. and that chemical reactions occur when atoms are rearranged. Born in Cumberland.
Erwin Schrödinger produces a quantum theory of electron behaviour in the hydrogen atom in 1925. In 1928. which suggests that there must also exist positively charged constituents to neutralise the atom. in 1897. and a Nobel Prize in 1906. he joined Trinity College. and that an atom is mostly empty space. The proton and neutron are today known to be made of more fundamental seeds: quarks. in 1876. Paul Dirac completes the theory. becoming Master in 1918. that atoms of different elements are distinguished by their weights. He spent the rest of his life there. He was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize. identifying forms of radioactivity.
Ernest Rutherford discovers the positively charged atomic nucleus following experiments by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden. he moved to Manchester where he taught mathematics and natural philosophy.
Joseph John (‘JJ’) Thomson (pictured) discovers the electron. He studied the behaviour of gases.
G Joseph (JJ) Thomson born in Manchester. and fathering the field of nuclear physics. most famous for his Periodic Table Of The Elements. which he discovered while writing a textbook on chemistry in 1869. His planetary model was the forerunner of the modern picture of the atom. his 1908 Nobel Prize was for chemistry and his discovery of transmutation of the elements.
Ernest Rutherford the New Zealand-born British physicist is famous for discovering the atomic nucleus.
Atomic nucleus established to consist of protons and neutrons.
G John Dalton an English chemist and founder of modern atomic theory. making it consistent with the theory of Special Relativity. His work on the properties of gases and atomic structure led to his discovery of the electron.
Matt and Richard set themselves the challenge of taking underwater images of gannets in the seas off Shetland. despite attempts spanning several weeks. The coast here is picturesque but exposed. the weather unpredictable. His daily commute involved a 90m abseil down sheer cliffs.
Photographs by Andrew Parkinson.NATURE SCIeNCe
THE pRIVaTE LIfE Of GaNNETs
Andrew’s fascination with gannets culminated in three months camping alongside them at the northernmost tip of the Shetland Islands. only a few days of photography were successful. near Richard’s home. Richard Shucksmith and Matt Doggett
. then a tortuous traverse along their rapidly eroding base to reach the heart of the gannets’ colony.
the gannet’s body and wings are white.The caLm sembLance
Britain’ largest seabird.
. with black on the outer wings. Gannets live for much of the year at sea. arriving at their breeding grounds between February and April and leaving in September. The head has a yellowish tinge and the bill is strong and spear-shaped.
Only when their dark juvenile plumage has been replaced by feathers of a silvery hue. a preoccupation with flight seems to distract them. aggressive and demanding – and frequently sporting ridiculous hairstyles! Then. as in the final picture. here depicted over a period of eight or nine weeks. sees a dramatic shift in character. on the threshold of adulthood. are they truly ready to take flight. though this is perhaps the most dangerous time: the waters below are littered with the carcasses of those that leapt too soon. As their down is blown away they become like human teenagers: noisy.teenage chicks
The transition of a gannet from chick to subadult. AP
The bird folds its wings tighter and tighter until.Portfolio
The gannet’s athletic hunting technique is a spectacle to behold – and a test of skill to which the bird is supremely well adapted. at the point of impact with the water. it makes minute adjustments to its wings. Then. Flying directly into a headwind. peering down. AP
ANDREW PARKINSON X9
. its binocular vision fixed on a mackerel below. with a final glance. it turns sharply and lets gravity take over. tilting slightly to move incrementally left or right. reaching 100kph. up to 15m above the surface. it becomes arrow-like in shape. the gannet will wingbrake and stall.
elaborate courtship rituals are the epitome of tenderness. sky pointing and billing (shown) are just a few of the ways in which a couple communicates with each other. reinforcing a pair bond that can last a lifetime. fascinated by the varied moves in their romantic repertoire: head bowing. the gannets’ exquisite. AP
. I watched this pair one May morning. allopreening.Sweet and tender hooLigans
In contrast with their aggressive responses to intruding neighbours.
Once in the ocean. but it is an adept swimmer.Portfolio
Dozens of gannets circled above our boat. shallower and lasting only a few seconds. Gannets have evolved adaptations for this foraging method: air sacs in their head and neck inflate to minimise impact injuries. A collision could have been dangerous for both bird and photographer – but as they were aiming for the fish so accurately. Despite their large size. using both wings and feet to pursue fish to depths of approximately 30m. and the more successful U-shaped dive. we could hear the birds hitting the surface above our heads. When a single bird took the plunge. and they do not have external nostrils. 40 birds diving around us. the others followed suit. RS
sink and swim
A gannet’s plunge-dive carries it only a few metres below the surface. MATT DOGGET
ANDREW PARKINSON. during which the bird may be submerged for about 20 seconds. so water is prevented from surging into the sinuses. with 20. Two dive types have been described: V-shaped. RICHARD SHUCKSMITH. gannets are often victims of kleptoparasitism – we watched several above the water being harassed by skuas until they regurgitated their meals. watching as we tossed mackerel over the side. we never felt at risk. 30.
fiNd Out MOre
Enjoy more of Matt and Richard’s amazing photographs of the underwater acrobatics of Shetland’s gannets at our website: E www.com
. to prevent other gannets from stealing their food and to avoid mugging by skuas or gulls at the surface.andrewparkinson. Iceland and the Faroe Islands over fishing quotas. Norway. Richard Shucksmith and Matt Doggett have taken wildlife images together since university.discoverwildlife.com E www. Healthy stocks of mackerel – a favoured prey – are imperilled by a dispute between Scotland. and among BBC Wildlife Magazine’s most prolific contributors. RS
Andrew Parkinson is one of Britain’s foremost wildlife and nature photographers.NATURE
the big food fight
Gannets often swallow prey underwater – to maximise consumption on each dive. They now form half of the Earth in Focus group. Intelligent long-term management of fish stocks would go some way to securing the future of these magnificent hunters.com E www.earthinfocus. and potential overfishing would be a massive problem. But there are other threats to the gannet’s food supply.
science’s biggest names predict the most influential discoveries of 2013
From printing DNA to buildings that heal themselves.
As a result. The fact that the semiconductor forms the optimal structure spontaneously means it
could be applied to large areas – including whole buildings. The big challenge now is to figure out how you cover a building with loads of wires so you can use that absorbed energy. nanotechnology is being used in things like LED lighting. a vein structure. the reason we are so responsive – that we feel pain and heat – is that we have functional ‘nanotechnology’ in our cells. There are already solar cell paints. UK
e’re getting better at manipulating materials at the nanoscale – creating tools from individual atoms and molecules. There’s a lot of interest in harvesting the energy from the Sun in big structures. you’ve solved the global energy problem. But we’re going to see it applied to whole buildings.SCIeNCe
breakthroughs of 2013
BuilDiNGS tHAt HEAl tHEMSElVES
Professor of Materials and Society at University College London. the semiconductors incorporate molecules that are hydrophilic and others that are hydrophobic – water-loving and water-hating respectively. If you can get every building to act as a solar collector. But the use of nanomaterials in architecture won’t just be about energy capture. jAMES CHEADLE X3
Dr Henry Snaith peers through a prototype solar cell
. These molecules want to pull apart. Evolution has optimised our cells to be able to detect things like heat and pain or if
One of the self-assembling solar cells being developed at Oxford University
“Buildings will sense things and self-heal. they have developed semiconductors whose molecules selforganise into the optimal shape to collect light and transmit the resulting electrical charge. In their so-called ‘gyroid-structure’ solar cells. At Oxford. That’s where architecture is heading”
BBC. they spontaneously form a 3D structure that is good for light collection and conversion to an electrical current. After all. The answer isn’t going to be people wiring up buildings with tiny wires. Cambridge and Cornell universities. silicon and plasma technology. Buildings will also sense things and self-heal as part of what they are. they have a solar paint that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy. At the University of Notre Dame. It’s going to be conductive material that will self-organise into wires. but the molecular links between them prevent this. and collect energy from the paint. So instead.
Kinect is much larger than a phone and uses a lot of power. This field of research really couldn’t be any more exciting.breakthroughs of 2013
GEStuRE-cONtROllED MOBilE PHONES
Principal Research Scientist in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. then new ideas for different kinds of interface will come along. There will be other things in the field of view. Games are one use of these interfaces. ultrasound is being revolutionised by improvements in data processing.”
iNcREASiNGlY POwERFul ultRASOuND
. But there are also big gains to be made in how you process the data – and that’s where my research group is involved. liver or eventually. X-rays are not particularly cheap and can have long-term effects. because it solves so many problems. Like in our 3D work and many forms of computational imaging. If you’re lucky they will automatically open and close a window. We’ve already had trachea transplants with tracheas grown from a patient’s own stem cells.”
“There’s a lot going on in ultrasound imaging research at the moment. then what you are looking to gather is information about where the user’s
Dr Henry Snaith at Oxford University is at the forefront of efforts to make buildings harness power from the Sun
there’s a crack in your skin. So consumers are willing to change. an MRI machine is a huge piece of extremely expensive equipment.
hands are. The most significant breakthrough has been in the development of a scaffold material in which the cells can replicate and grow into a kidney. the scaffold ‘dissolves’. And once you can move your hands in three dimensions instead of two. You want to make the sensors as efficient as possible and advances are being made. Once you reduce what you are interested in.
You could soon be interacting with your mobile device without even touching it
STEM CELL ORGAN TRANSPLANTS
“I suspect that we will soon see one of the first liver or kidney transplants where the organ has been grown from the patient’s own cells. We’ve built prototypes that demonstrate this. but there’s potential elsewhere too – including with mobile phones and tablets. we are working on a project where we’re trying to make large objects touch-sensitive. perhaps. That’s where architecture is heading. so a big challenge is scaling the system down for a mobile device. USA
m very excited about the integration of 3D movement recognition systems into mobile devices. such as walls. On a phone. At the moment buildings are static: they are built and have to be repaired. So the organ is artificial – there is no donor. a heart. Let’s say your goal is to build a gestural interface. Ultrasound can be cheap and what people can get out of ultrasound seems to be improving rapidly these days. all the structures around us will be more responsive to the environment. Once the organ has developed. But one thing that isn’t going to change is that you can’t see through your fingers. So if you can do the same kinds of things with gestures as you do on a touchscreen – such as pinch to zoom – that’s already a nice development. you’re obscuring a significant proportion of your screen with them. and so doesn’t damage cells. So it’s not just the screen of your mobile phone – it’s your whole room. It’s also one of the medical imaging methods that tends to be extremely low cost. And while MRI is non-ionising. Microsoft Kinect has transformed gaming because people are now used to using 3D gestural interfaces in computer games. I think it’s going to be a big thing in electronics that will take off soon. In this respect. People don’t mind adopting new interfaces – a few years ago there were no touchscreens on phones. But complicated organs are going to be harder. But in future. then the mathematical modelling and processing allows you to get away with measuring less. But you are not looking to form a full image of the whole field of view.
TRANSMittiNG liFE At liGHt SPEED
hotosynthesis is incredibly inefficient. That information is then sent to the digital-biological converter. LEN RUBENSTEIN
“Just imagine something that is a teaspoon in size and yet is so holey and porous on the inside that you’d need a football field’s worth of wallpaper to cover it. Inside the converter there are four bottles of chemicals and the genetic material is printed. No cells are required – you can just make a
. but when they started looking at its scale-up costs and efficiency. can provide a way of storing hydrogen. There was huge excitement when it was announced. An MOF with holes that are of a very similar size and shape to the hydrogen molecule.
hydrogen comes off one side. To solve this. A couple of years ago. The first part of the process is encoding DNA for a vaccine or insulin in digital form. because you could use sunlight and water to make meaningful amounts of fuel. “You’ll be able to have a box next to your computer – the converter – and download insulin or a vaccine. In the US. so significant developments are likely over the next 12 months. There’s a lot of hype around hydrogen – it releases enormous amounts of energy when it reacts with oxygen. you have to separate positive and negative charges. and oxygen the other. people are now working on each of the three main steps involved in simulating photosynthesis.SCIeNCe
breakthroughs of 2013
SuPER-EFFiciENt ARtiFiciAl PHOtOSYNtHESiS
Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University College London. Our need for fuels far outstrips what sunlight can deliver through photosynthesis. hydrogen with 20 per cent efficiency. Using this DNA. Then. So we read the sequence of ACTG [adenine. holding his artificial leaf
ORGANOVO X3. so it can be used in fuel cells to power anything from cars and buses. there are people out there who are reporting MOFs with new structures and new shapes. you’ve got to capture the light – this causes a negatively charged electron to be excited. to ships and submarines. In effect they’re molecular sponges. we can make proteins. So the challenge is on to beat those percentages – to make. It’s the start of being able to get biology over the internet. Every week. thymine and guanine – the molecules whose sequence encodes the information in DNA] in the genetic material and convert that into the 1s and 0s on a computer. and with the right sorts of intermolecular forces. For most plants. say.
American biologist and entrepreneur who created the first synthetic species
Daniel Nocera of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. and scientists are now targeting MOFs with cavities that are suited for particular molecules. We’re also building what we are calling a digital-biological converter that will take that digital information and convert it back into functioning biology. So a system that’s much more efficient would be a game-changer.”
BEttER HYDROGEN StORAGE
e’ve been looking at converting DNA into the 1s and 0s of computer code and sending that information as a digital magnetic wave or an email around the Earth in less than a second. if there are lots of boxes around the world. This is a very clever device where a silicon photocell is coated so that. There’s been remarkable progress here. it took about nine months for the world to get a vaccine. when dipped into water and exposed to sunlight. First. In the future. the percentage of the incoming light energy which is actually transformed into sugar is around 1 per cent.000 young people died in that interval. you have to harness these charges to do the water-splitting chemistry. With the H1N1 influenza virus. cytosine. 250. It’s hoped that someone will soon find one that’s capable of storing fuel in the form of hydrogen gas with an energy density rivalling that of liquid hydrogen. it could be the end of pandemics. Daniel Nocera at MIT revealed the artificial leaf. the numbers just didn’t add up. Second. These materials are known as ‘metal-organic frameworks’ (MOFs).
but also how we think of biology and life.This 3D printer developed by Organovo can take human cells and shape them into tissue
dose of insulin from a biological reaction. We are now making the first 3D biological printers”
FuRtHER DiScOVERiES ABOut OuR PERSONAl EcOSYStEM
“The microbiome [all the microbes that live on. all you have to do is synthesise the DNA. If we can prevent that. we can simply convert the DNA sequence into an RNA vaccine and for DNA vaccines. particularly with some gastrointestinal diseases. there are very strong correlations. Or.”
Craig Venter is working on a similar device to Organovo’s Bioprinter that can print vaccines
Sent via email. We will see a big scale-up in what can be done in terms of measuring the microbiome. Anyone who has seen the movie Contagion would not want to see that played out around the globe. A lot of regulatory hurdles will need to be overcome if people are going to do this in their own homes because it represents a fundamental change in how information is distributed and how information gets converted into meaningful things. rather than producing a protein. The next step will be each government having its own ability to do that [print vaccines] and then eventually it will go to hospitals and corporations. a vaccine would be printed from organic chemicals
. the human body] is going to become more and more important for human medicine. The first practical use will be in sending vaccine information to large centres around the world that are equipped to make large doses of vaccine. All of these are being studied around the world. Our skin has a significant number of different environments: we have different microbes in different areas of our skin. It will not just change how we deal with pandemics. I think standard manufacturing is moving towards distributed production using 3D printers. and in. And. We are now making the first 3D biological printers.
“I think standard manufacturing is moving towards distributed production using 3D printers. There’s an increasing number of clear links between the microbiome and diseases. such as the mouth and the vagina. what a phenomenal contribution that would be.
And that’s something we’d need to investigate as well. So now we’re growing the
jAMES CHEADLE. It’s a big leap to say we’re going to use quantum mechanics to help us cure cancer. the harder it is for that quantum strangeness to have an effect. tentatively. So there’s a lot of people working to try and understand its role in cancer. It’s something of an adventure. It’s an ongoing study that’s still at the very early stages. STEPHEN HICKS
“Scientists are coming round to the idea that quantum mechanics could play a role in mutations in DNA”
bacterium E coli in the lab to observe its mutations. we wondered whether it could just be a proton quantum jumping from one spot to another. But the fact that you can do these experiments now suggests that we can make serious progress. If quantum tunnelling is indeed creating these mutations then the E coli cultured in deuterium would exhibit far fewer mutations. The E coli is grown in deuterated water – heavy water. for the delicate quantum shenanigans to play a role. So at our lab. It was thought that molecules inside a living cell were just far too complex. too messy. inanimate matter you’d never have a single
molecule being able to influence something made up of trillions and trillions of particles.
. since deuterium bonds are much heavier than hydrogen and are therefore far less likely to quantum jump. but understanding its contribution could lead to new technologies that could help us prevent and fight the disease. its DNA will be made up of deuterium bonds.QuANtuM tOOlS FOR StuDYiNG cANcER
Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey. In fact. it looks like life is the only system in the whole Universe where you can get a macroscopic. measurable effect because of the action of a single molecule. Quantum phenomena are delicate things. rather than hydrogen bonds. UK
cientists are coming round to the idea that it’s possible that quantum mechanics – strange mechanisms that work at the level of atoms and molecules – could play a role in mutations in DNA. the results we’re getting could be down to something other than quantum effects. But there’s something special about life that means it can. Gradually. creating a much bigger effect. In normal. because the E coli will utilise what’s in its surroundings as it replicates and grows. this is what it looks like is happening. You can think of mutations as just a hydrogen bond breaking somewhere and forming somewhere else in DNA. You could turn around and say maybe the enzymes that make the DNA mutate are less efficient in heavy water. And. and the more complicated the system is. What’s so exciting here is that we didn’t expect to find these mechanisms influencing biology. In other words.
breakthroughs of 2013
CRAckiNG tHE BRAiN’S cODE tO REPAiR DAMAGE
ptogenetics is an exciting area. There are light-sensitive proteins in algae, bacteria and fungi, the genes for which can be expressed in cells in the brain. When you shine a light on those cells, they produce an electrical signal. It allows you to make brain cells behave according to your control. Others have been using this to drive neurones to fire, but the trouble is the brain uses its own code. It speaks a language like Morse code, but far more complicated. We figured out the code transmitted by the retina and we can make the optic nerve – the output neurones of the retina – send the normal coded signal to the brain. It’s a treatment for complete blindness, where someone has a damaged retina with no photoreceptors. You can give them a device that sits in a pair of glasses and takes
Neuroscientist and principal investigator in the Nirenberg Lab at Cornell University in the US
Jim Al-Khalili is working on an experiment looking at the effects of quantum mechanics on our cells
images. It translates images into the brain’s code as light pulses, so the optic nerve sends the right signal to the brain. If you bring optogenetics together with the brain’s code, remarkable things are possible. For instance, you could jump over dead sensory cells used in hearing or an area damaged by a stroke to make sure the brain receives the signal. The code takes the form of equations. If you give someone a visual input and record the output of the neurones, you get equations that describe the relationship between input and output. Those equations are the codebook. If you put any visual stimulus through the equations, out comes the answer. It could work elsewhere in the body – determining the code of the auditory nerve, for example.
“A lot of funding is going into research on the properties of graphene, and especially into how it can be used in nanotechnology. Progress in nanotech was already speeding along, but the discovery of graphene has accelerated matters. This is because it’s good at creating nanotubes, which are the building blocks of the nanoworld. Certainly its properties suggest that it could soon enable the development of tiny ‘robots’ at the nanoscale. Graphene seems to be completely inert too, so it’s perfectly suited for medical applications. A lot of researchers working in this area are now submitting research grants involving graphene, because that’s where masses of funding is coming from. Even chemists are getting in on the action because graphene appears to be almost impermeable to anything but water, so it could prove incredibly useful as a membrane for separating materials. This would enable us to get at the precious elements we’re after.”
Nirenberg’s system replaces the retina with an encoder that transmits an image to the brain Image Retina Brain
NEw AVENuES FOR AlZHEiMER’S RESEARcH
“There’s potentially some exciting things happening with research into Alzheimer’s disease at the moment. The conventional wisdom has been that what initiates the dementia happens to all brain areas at approximately the same time. Different areas of the brain may show Alzheimer’s at different times, but they have all been targeted at the same time. In the same way that if you sneeze on a bunch of people, they may all get sick, but not at the same time. However, there was a finding in April 2012 that when a person gets Alzheimer’s they get dementia in one area, then another area, then another area. And there is a possibility that if it’s a disease that spreads from one area to another, it could dramatically change how you treat it. If you can figure out a way to stop the spread, you can contain it.”
milestones d e g n a h tc
The first wheel to make an appearance is the potters wheel – a disk with a hole cut in the middle. The oldest wheel was found in Solvenia in 2002, estimated to be 5100 – 5350-years-old. The wheel is introduced as a mode for transportation of goods, in Mesopotamia, Indus Valley, the Northen Caucasus and central Europe.
In India, the spoked wheel and the chariot are made. The spoke introduces a new subtlety since it’s loaded in tension, not compression, which sets precedent for the early mode of transportation.
In China, money in the shape of small knives or spades made of bronze is used as currency along with bronze replicas of cowrie’s shells. This replaces the barter system.
The Chinese use bronzed Wen coins with holes, and the Indians use punched disks as currency. The Lydians create staters coins from electrum.
During the Tang Dynasty in China, paper money, known as jiaozi, is introduced alongside coins.
6TH CENTURY BC
123 RF.COM X 13
King John signs the Magna Carta ushering a democratic system in England and the English Parliament is created. The Charter limits the political influence of the royal family and increases the power of the people. 1689
The first purported form of democracy is practiced in Athens, Greece, where community leaders are selected from a poll ballot open to all citizens.
In England, The Bill of Rights lays down the limits on the powers of the sovereign and sets out the rights of Parliament, rules for freedom of speech, the requirement to regular elections and the right to petition.
Moshita Prajapati traces the origins of the foremost inventions that have shaped and built the world as we know it
Used as gears in devices, such as clocks, water wheels, cogwheels, and astrolabes for sailors to navigate.
Harvey Samuel Firestone’s Firestone and Tire Company begins the mass production of tyres for automobiles owing to a deal with Henry Ford of Ford Company.
The new age Tweel wheel from Michelin is a radical shock absorbing rubber tread band that distributes pressure on dozens of flexible polyurethane spokes, supported by an aluminum centre.
In 1661, Stockholms Banco (bank), issues the first banknotes in Europe. It has to be noted that in 1664 the bank ran out of coins to redeem notes and ceased operating in the same year.
Physical currency is supplemented with plastic money; the Credit Card. Diners Club issues the first card in USA.
In October, Standford Federal Credit Union becomes the first financial institution to offer online banking services.
Sweden considers implementing digital currency and withdrawing coins and paper currency from its market.
Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, allows America to become the first country to break away from rule of the monarch and become an independent democracy.
Prime Minister of Britain, Charles Grey, introduces the Great Reform Act transferring voting privileges from the nobles and the gentry to the population living in towns, boroughs and underdeveloped industrial towns.
Women are allowed to vote in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom in the year 1918.
India is the largest democracy practicing in the world.
bindu (dot). akasa (space). harnessing steam power and the iron industry.
German scientist and inventor.
Two computers at MIT are made to communicate with each other over a shared network.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Networks (ARPANET) goes online. he uses the @ to distinguish between the sender’s name and network name in the email address. which led to an increase in demand for yarn. a programmer. The invention of the Flying Shuttle by John Kay (1733) greatly increased the speed of weaving. linking four US universities. kha (sky). which changes sounds to electrical signals and then back to sound once again. To achieve this.
. The network is designed to provide a communication network linking the country in case of a nuclear attack or war. Brahmagupta gives zero its exalted status in mathematics. leading to the inventions of the Spinning Jenny by James Hargreaves (1764). Johann Philip Reis constructs a machine.zero
The concept of zero takes shape in India and is represented by words.
Bhaskara I gives zero its symbol ‘0’.
The British Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was due to coming together of a series of technical developments primarily in the fields of manufacturing textile. sends the first email over ARPANET. such as shunya (void).
Michael Faraday shows that the vibrations on metal objects could be transformed to electrical signals.
Mohammed ibn-Musa alKhowarizmi’s works reach England and Europe, where Fibbonnaci further expands its function, especially into accounting and taxes. Newton and Leibniz created rules for working with zero, leading to innovations and discoveries in physics, engineering, calculus, economics finance, etc.
Zero reaches the Arab world. Mohammed ibn-Musa alKhowarizmi begins his work on complex algebraic equations.
and the water powered Water Frame by Richard Arkwright (1769). James Watt in 1775 improved upon Newcomen’s steam engine design, which leads to advances in the designs and functioning of locomotives, steamboats, and cotton mills. In the year 1709, Abraham Darby I, devises a method to produce pig iron in a blast furnace by using coke, heralding the production of iron as a raw material, which fuels construction of railway tracks and machines.
On 10 March, Alexander Graham Bell successfully transmits a speech, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you!” through his version of the modern telephone.
During the management of Bell Company employee Theodore Vail, 10,000 phones come into mass use.
Motorola employee, Dr Martin Cooper, invents the cellular mobile phone. The handset, built in 90 days, is called the DynaTAC 8000x.
There are over 6.8 billion mobile users in the world.
Sir Tim BernersLee, invents the World Wide Web (WWW), and starts work on a global Hypertext Transfer Protocol system (HTTP) a year later.
The Google search engine unveils its presence, changing the rules of engagement with the Internet.
The world’s first website (info.cern. ch) is set up. And on 30 April 1993, CERN, makes the World Wide Web available as a free software for public use.
There are 634 million active websites on the Internet and 2.4 billion people are accessing the Internet on a regular basis.
ILLUSTRATION: PETER CROWTHER
From a ruler that can measure the width of an atom to the clock that’s accurate to one-642,121,496,772,646th of a second, Michael Banks investigates the world’s ultimate precision instruments
or ions. But physicists are currently looking at a number of different atoms that would allow the clock to ‘tick’ even more frequently.496. zapping them with lasers in ion traps.
This optical atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex ‘ticks’ 9. The higher the frequency of the ticks.” says Professor Patrick Gill at NPL. In today’s atomic clocks – the world’s official timekeepers – charged atoms.772. the more accurately time intervals can be measured. their tick rate would vary slightly in response to small changes in Earth’s gravity. For instance. called optical atomic clocks. The UK’s official time is currently measured at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Middlesex using caesium-133 atoms. Research published in 2012 by NPL showed that a ytterbium ion clock would tick 642.192. The signs are good. That is what the latest gold-standard timepieces.631. so more capable timepieces would make these systems even more accurate. a ‘leap second’ was added to the official time measured by atomic clocks to account for the fact that the Earth’s rotation had slowed a little.7 billion years ago it would only have lost one second by today. scientists are putting ytterbium ions – already used in
STRANGE BUT TRUE
On 30 June 2012. As they are moved around. This meant that solar time – determined by our planet’s rotation – was in danger of getting out of sync with the official time
portable X-ray machines – through their paces.192. They are then subjected to a beam of light that causes electrons in the ions to jump from a lower to a higher energy state. which could be caused by variations in rock porosity – a key way to find oil. whose electrons jump an incredible 9. portable optical clocks could be used to search for natural resources. float in a ‘trap’ and are held in place by electromagnetic fields.646 times per second – a tick rate nearly five orders of magnitude higher than caesium. Satellite navigation uses atomic clocks. At NPL. Their sensitivity to outside influences could also be put to good use. This jumping
takes place at a regular rate and acts as the atomic clock’s ‘tick’.SCIeNCe
Measurement of all things
THE ULTIMATE CLOCK
It’s time for the next generation of superaccurate atomic timepieces
magine a clock so accurate that if it had been switched on when the Universe was born 13.770 times a second
.121.631.770 times a second. will soon be able to achieve. “Optical clocks are set to become the ultimate in timekeeping.
000 times more accurate than your bathroom scales
n a vault at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres. and it’s always the same. Put the kilogram mass in one pan of a pair of scales. But the devil is in the details. Worse still. “Using the Planck constant will give us a clear realisation of mass without depending on a lump of metal that is constantly changing weight. known as the Planck constant. The trouble is. No-one is sure why. is the official kilogram – its weight defines 1kg and it’s used to calibrate scales around the world. One theory is the gradual release of gas from the cylinder. These effects have to be compensated for during the experiment
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. watt balance project leader at the NRC. So precise measurements of the strength of gravity have to be carried out to calculate the mass.00000002kg. for example. France. But an ingenious set of measurements that cancels out these problems has been devised. its weight is changing relative to identical cylinders of the alloy kept at other sites around the world – which is not what a fixed standard is supposed to do. weight is not the same as mass: it’s the product of mass and the local strength of gravity.” says Dr Dave Inglis. the kilogram can then be defined in terms of a force whose value is fixed for all time. By using high-precision electromagnetic coils to apply the balancing force.This watt balance. the electromagnetic force varies in complex ways
inside the watt balance. determines the weight of a kilogram by measuring it against the strength of an electric current
STRANGE BUT TRUE
The watt balance is so sensitive to magnetic fields it can sense when trains leave a station a few kilometres away and is even susceptible to the wind blowing trees and lifting the ground slightly. Watt balances like the one at the National Research Council (NRC) in Canada are expected to pin down the kilogram with mind-boggling precision – to the nearest 0. From a formula. which was forged in the 1880s.1kg. linking it to the fundamental constant governing the quantum effects used to measure it. The idea behind the watt balance is simple enough. In contrast. and has to be measured using delicate quantum effects. This lump of metal. and remain constant throughout space and time. your weighing scales are probably only accurate to the nearest 0.000. based at Canada’s National Research Council. and then measure the force needed in the other pan to restore balance. NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA
THE ULTIMATE WEIGHING SCALES
A balance that’s 5. is a cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy. known as Le Grand K.
That’s the aim of the watt balance: an incredibly sensitive weighing machine that will fix the amount of mass we call the kilogram in terms of fundamental constants that govern the Universe. it spits out the mass of the kilogram. For a start. So now the idea is to define the kilogram in terms of truly fundamental constants whose value was fixed at the birth of the Universe. Measure the speed of light in a vacuum.
or isotopes. allowing the exact volume of gas to be measured. temperature has been defined rather inelegantly in terms of the triple-point of water – a mixture of pressure and temperature where H2O exists as a liquid. you would be measuring its
temperature directly and accurately. They’re doing this by firing sound waves into a copper sphere containing the gas and performing calculations that reveal the molecular speed from the frequency of the sound that emerges. The perfection of the sphere is vital for these calculations. So the hot topic in temperature research is determining something called the Boltzmann constant.
. We currently have estimates of the constant. That’s a problem if you want to measure. But at extremes in temperature – millions of kelvin.16K on the Kelvin scale or 0. NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY
o the naked eye it looks perfect in shape – a sphere of copper so smooth that any irregularities on its surface can only be seen under a microscope. So Kelvin is a simple scale based on these two points. The lowest possible temperature is 0K. Having an official water mix ensures that 0oC is the same all over the planet
STRANGE BUT TRUE
THE ULTIMATE THERMOMETER
How the speed of jiggling atoms will define temperatures in the future
PAT IZZO/NASA. after all. the temperature of a nuclear explosion. It is just one part of a delicate experiment that is likely to lead to an overhaul in how temperature is measured. of oxygen and hydrogen are present in varying amounts in the world’s oceans. This is because different forms. just a crude scale. and close to absolute zero – this system breaks down because it is.The National Physical Laboratory is studying the speed of molecules of argon gas in this copper sphere. This triple point is actually 273. allowing readings to be accurate even at extremely high and extremely low temperatures. Knowing the Boltzmann constant would mean that by measuring atoms jiggling in something. gas and solid. Since 1954.01oC. in other words – with temperature. At the National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex they’ve been trying to do just that by measuring the molecular speed of argon gas at a given temperature. but physicists need to come up with a highly accurate figure they can rely on for it to form the central part of temperature measurement. say. or absolute
zero. This relates the amount that atoms or molecules jiggle around in a liquid or gas – the amount of kinetic energy they contain. to help pin down the Boltzmann constant
The triple point of water – the basis for temperature readings – is measured using a blend of distilled ocean water.
while the other shines through the object that needs to be measured before it reflects off a second mirror and into the detector. It is so sensitive it can detect a change in length the size of your thumb on something on the scale of the entire Milky Way
Dr Michael Banks is the news editor of the UK based. this can be detected. disrupt the fabric of space-time – making objects move by miniscule amounts. the interferometers would measure the miniscule movement of one craft in relation to another. Because the path one beam travels is fixed while the other beam travels an extra distance – through the object – the two light beams interfere when they meet in the detector.Measurement of all things
THE ULTIMATE RULER
A mind-bending phenomenon will allow measurements accurate to a trillionth of a metre
F YOU WANt to produce precise blades for jet engines or highly accurate medical equipment. The team believes that it will be capable of detecting gravitational waves produced when massive objects. you would use laser interferometry – a technique that enables eyewateringly accurate distance measurements. It’s the pattern of this interference that reveals the size of the object. Firing other lasers at these atoms also puts them in a superposition of states where they are in two different places at the same time. In laser interferometry. each equipped with an atom interferometer. If the route an atom takes along one of the paths varies from the other by as little as one picometre – or one trillionth of a metre – thanks to an object being in the way. Physics World magazine. such as stars.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory in the US is currently the world’s most accurate ruler. flying along different trajectories.
. The NASA/Stanford team envisions three spacecraft flying in a triangle formation. But a new method is likely to become ruler of the world: atom interferometry. If a gravitational wave rolled past. something made possible by quantum phenomena – the strange behaviour of matter at the level of subatomic particles. their interference revealing the size of an object. Atom interferometry uses the same principle – two beams travel different paths before meeting in a detector. Physicists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Stanford University in the US are currently developing an atom interferometer in which lasers are fired at rubidium atoms to create measuring beams. But here it’s the same atoms that make up the two beams that are detected. a beam of light is split into two halves. One beam reflects off a mirror into a detector.
Atoms can be made to act like waves if cooled to near absolute zero – something that can be achieved by firing a laser at them.
set up the first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur. they are Institutes of National Importance. Although under pressure from the IMF.
. West Bengal in May 1950. On 24 July 1991. The organisation has built over 1. responsible for enriching fields of science and engineering. Today. thinkers.
On 14 March 1931. and it led to the foundation of Project Tiger. Narsimha Rao put an end to the License Raj era by allowing 51% of Foreign Direct Investment in India. P. In 1974. risk-takers .V. privatisation and tax reforms ushered in the liberalisation of Indian economy.P. introduced Sulabh Shauchalaya. the ‘pay and use’ toilet and bathing facilities for the public. His dream was that this basic amenity should be available to all Indian citizens. the movie Alam Ara directed by Ardeshir Irani heralded the culture of elaborate song and dance sequences in Indian cinema. V. the world’s largest wildlife conservation effort in 1973. Microphones were hidden around the sets and songs were recorded on set with musicians playing their instruments.Moshita Prajapati lists Indians that shaped modern India
Kailash Sankhala was India’s first crusader who raised concerns about the near extinction of the Bengal Tiger in 1956. the All India Council of Technical Education committee chaired by Sir N R Sarkar. His research uncovered that the dwindling population was a result of extensive hunting and poaching. The film with its repertoire of seven songs set the precedent for films with songs. Narsimha R ao Ardeshir Irani
Leaders. Dr Bindeshwar Pathak. Rao came to be known as the Father of Indian Economic Reforms.2 million toilets across the country. Under Jawaharlal Nehru’s directive in 1946. this move along with deregulation.
Lalit Modi in 2008 unleashed the global phenomenon of the Indian Premier League (IPL). thus providing direct employment to about 2. By bringing Bollywood personalities. business honchos and MNCs onto the cricket field. Tata Airlines became Air India. the Right To Information Act was passed.
Raman Roy is considered as the pioneer of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country. Spinoffs of the IPL are found in Pakistan. H D Shourie’s Freedom of Information Act was passed. In 1991. the flag carrier of India. According to reports. the first Indian commercial carrier to transport mail and passengers within India. with Indian Airlines catering to domestic route and Air India to international routes. carrying 155 passengers and more than 10 tonnes of mail. Tata
R aman R oy
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata in 1932. South Africa.
. Delhi. Sri Lanka etc.
Aruna Roy. R .30. he set up the first lot of BPOs for American Express and later for General Electric in Gurgaon. was valued at $4 billion. the franchise during his three-year tenure as commissioner of the IPL. In 2005.000 jobs in 2012. set up Tata Airlines. D. In 2002. based around the Twenty20 cricket format.000 miles. through her National Campaign for People’s Right to Information in 1996.8 million.HIstoRY
J. founder and head of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana is one of the early proponents of the Right To Information Act. the IT-BPO sector alone was expected to add 2. it flew 1. In 1946. applicable to all States and Union Territories in India except the States of Jammu & Kashmir.60. but only in state levels.
and endeavors to promote fraternity among them.
Sanjay Gandhi Dr B. R . five nuclear bombs were successfully tested in the same area. Ambedkar
. India tested its first nuclear bomb. democratic republic. in collaboration with Japanese automobile company Suzuki. is considered as the father of India’s telecommunications revolution. R. In 1948. left his legacy in the form of the Constitution declaring India to be a sovereign. Ambedkar. He also set up Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). Rajasthan. He ushered in an era of accessible telecommunications that included not only ISD and STD services. socialist.
Sam Pitroda. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sanjay Gandhi as the Managing Director of Maruti Limited. he began revising the Hindu Code Bill.HIstoRY
Dr B. and liberty. to grant equal rights to women and to re-organise the framework of the Hindu society by granting women equal rights.500. secular. the first Maruti 800 rolled off the production line at a cost of `52. commissioned Pokhran II (Operation Shakti). Indira Gandhi pushed to develop India’s nuclear power and on 18 May 1974. set out to create India’s first people’s car. but also setting up the first PCOs in the country. equality. in Pokhran. In 1998. citing security issues with Pakistan.
In 1971. the company was revised as Maruti Udyog Limited and in 1983. Pokhran I (Smiling Buddha). On 11-13 May 1998. In 1980.
Following China’s successful nuclear test in 1967. assuring its citizens of justice.
Simon Breakspear.twitter. innovative educational videos on any topic from their syllabus. Principal.learnshiftindia. and work together to strengthen initiatives to address certain key school education challenges. Education Innovation Expert
Avnita Bir.N.com www.learnshiftindia. share insights and experiences. Winners will receive an award and their videos will be showcased at LearnShift India 2013 – Mumbai chapter. Podar School
lsi young change agent award
IN AssOCiATiON WiTH
Students across India from schools (grades 9-12) and colleges are participating in a contest organised in association with BBC Knowledge to create appealing.com/LearnShiftIndia www. R. To know more.facebook.com
LearnShift India 2013
Mumbai chapter will bring together a dynamic community of innovators and experts from diverse fields to demonstrate experiments. visit www.
Ravana’s desire to appear no less than a God to his own people.INSIDE THE PAGES
In this excerpt. No part of this excerpt maybe quoted or reproduced without prior consent from Campfire Graphic Novels (Kalyani Navyug Media Private Limited). Ravana-Roar of the Demon King by Abhimanyu Singh Sisodia (Campfire `195)
. marks his rise as the conquerer of heaven and hell
This excerpt is published with permission from Campfire Graphic Novels (Kalyani Navyug Media Private Limited).
An excerpt from A book you should read
An excerpt from A book you should read
This excerpt is published from Ravana-Roar of the Demon King by Abhimanyu Singh Sisodia (Campfire `195)
COM X 3
. Mary Anning from Lyme Regis in Dorset
123 RF. To appreciate where our knowledge has come from. In 1796 Cuvier published detailed descriptions of fossil elephant remains (those of mammoths and the American mastodon). At the end of the paper. Each layer contained its own recognisable fossils (its fauna). Over the ﬁrst three decades of the 19th Century.” Over the following years.THE BIG IDEA
eXpLorinG Life’s Great mysteries
By DaVid Norman investigates
What KiLLed the dinosaurs?
The amazing story of how we’ve come to learn the fate of our reptilian predecessors
hey came. seem to me to prove the existence of a world previous to ours. we need to delve into the fascinating history of palaeontology – the study of fossils. several English collectors and geologists made some spectacular discoveries. Cuvier developed his ‘catastrophist’ interpretation of the history of Earth. He also described a variety of newly discovered and strange fossil reptiles. He revealed that some fossils belonged to animals that were no longer alive: they were extinct. Cuvier’s insights inspired a new era of fossil hunting. which he compared with the bones and teeth of living elephants. rather than the mammals that do so today. and not opposed by any report. Considering that the end of the dinosaurs took place millions of years ago. such as being submerged by ﬂoodwater. but Cuvier noticed that each fauna was replaced abruptly following a catastrophe. They died. consistent among themselves. he wrote: “All of these facts. destroyed by some kind of catastrophe. a time when reptiles dominated Earth. it is remarkable how much we’ve learnt about their demise. They ruled. He studied the geology of the Paris Basin and saw that it comprised a succession of sedimentary layers. including pterosaurs ( p89 ) (winged reptiles) and mosasaurs ( p89 ) (gigantic marine lizards) and this led him to speculate about an ‘Age of Reptiles’.
Various explanations concerning these major punctuations in the history of life were bandied around. He linked this change to the Laramide orogeny – episodes of mountain building and continental uplift that straddled the K-Pg boundary.
. gradual heating. the pterosaurs (reptilian equivalents of birds and bats today) and the dinosaurs (huge land-living animals that corresponded to the elephants. In 1840 and 1842 he published detailed reports through the newly founded British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS). Extinction events With increasing data it became obvious that Cuvier’s catastrophes were real and not the by-product of missing data as Lyell and Darwin had suggested. ambitious. Given the controversy that surrounded Darwinism at this time. in more extreme examples.
Others. Dinosaurs. to the effects of environmental temperature on the sex of developing young within
discovered ichthyosaurs (dolphin-shaped giant swimming reptiles). turtle-ﬂippered and long-necked. rhinos and hippos). by Cuvier and his ‘catastrophist’ thinking. plesiosaurs (large. Racial senility was one such concept. but this did not greatly affect the gradual process of change. such as the idea that extinction events were pre-ordained. now held in the Natural History Museum
by whales and dolphins). In Britain at this time a young. This view was supported by the observation that the anatomy of dinosaurs became increasingly ‘bizarre’ through time. some adopted a range of non-Darwinian models to explain extinction events. swimming reptiles) and the partial skeleton of a pterosaur. manifested by the development of outlandish spines. medicallytrained scientist called Richard Owen became keenly interested in Cuvier’s work.THE BIG IDEA
eXpLorinG Life’s Great mysteries
A fossilised plesiosaur discovered by Mary Anning at Lyme Regis. put the replacement of dinosaurs by mammals down to gradual cooling. as well as the loss of teeth. This new fossil evidence proved Cuvier’s hunch correct. he drew on Cuvier’s intuitions and demonstrated that during the ‘Secondary Era’ there were some remarkable extinct animals that represented the zenith of reptilian organisation. These were the enaliosaurs (gigantic reptiles of the oceans that ﬁlled the ecological niches occupied today
He was struck by what he saw as a global change from wet swampy conditions (that appeared to favour dinosaurs) to drier and more arid conditions (that favoured mammals) across the CretaceousPalaeogene (K-Pg) boundary. in effect ‘senile’. the latter half was marked by the ‘uniformitarianism’ advocated by the geologist Charles Lyell and the strongly allied theory of evolution by Natural Selection proposed by Charles Darwin. The second of Owen’s reports is particularly famous because it was here that he coined the term ‘Dinosaur’. Palaeontologists began to speculate about mass extinctions more openly. coincident changes in the ﬂoras or. These remarkable new discoveries provoked very wide interest both scientiﬁcally and publicly. These included biblical views. intellectually. following Matthew’s line of thought. There was a time in Earth’s history (referred to then as the ‘Secondary Era’ – now it is the Mesozoic Era) when the world was largely populated by gigantic land and sea-going reptiles. American vertebrate palaeontologist William Diller Matthew brought a fresh approach to the debate by focusing it on environmental change. In what was at the time a masterpiece of rational argument and anatomical insight. This saw life as a ladder-like succession of types. for example. While the ﬁrst half of the 19th century was dominated. each new form better than the last. suggesting that the race had become old and. It was a non-catastrophic view that disasters did occur and extinctions were indisputable. In the 1920s. represented a Mesozoic form of reptilian life that was replaced in younger rocks by ‘superior’ types of animal such as mammals. This boundary marks the end of the Mesozoic era and the beginning of the Cenozoic era around 65 million years ago. horns and frills.
. This focuses on the three massive volcanic eruptions that led to the formation of the Deccan Traps in western India. Speculations about a link between the Deccan Traps and the dinosaur extinction began in the early 1970s. Walter and Luis Alvarez found abnormally high levels of the element iridium in a clay band that marked the K-Pg boundary in some rock near the town of Gubbio in Italy (see ‘Key observation’. They argued that mammals replaced dinosaurs gradually across the K-Pg interval over a period of about 7
NEED tO kNOw
Key terms to understand how the dinosaurs were wiped out
A small rocky or metallic body in orbit around the Sun. it was not until 1981 that Vincent Courtillot. In terms of the data available. One early suggestion was that a supernova had occurred near our Solar System at that time. occurred approximately 65.5 million years ago. this would have released vast quantities of climatically sensitive gases from the carbonate and sulphaterich layers bound up in the shelf sediments with disastrous effects: extended darkness. and developed rapidly in the 19th Century.
million years and that this change was brought about by climatic deterioration triggered by worldwide sea-level regression.THE BIG IDEA
eXpLorinG Life’s Great mysteries
E eggs. created an enormous dust cloud that led to the K-Pg mass extinction event and death of the dinosaurs. The massive outpouring of volcanic material occurred during a narrow interval of time across the K-Pg boundary. they knew that it must have been of extraterrestrial origin. Early modelling focused on the gases released by the huge volcanic eruptions and how this might have led to a sudden cooling of Earth and mass extinction. although other families exist. but the science became established in the 18th Century as a result of Georges Cuvier’s work on comparative anatomy. caused the anomaly. p92). Despite increasingly strong support for the asteroid theory. Since the asteroid had impacted the continental shelf. Palaeontological observations date back to the 5th Century. Because iridium is found in much higher quantities in meteorites than in Earth’s crust. the father and son concluded that a large asteroid impact. there is another extinction theory that must be considered. Courtillot and Keller now seem to accept that an asteroid impact (or indeed several) occurred. cover an area that is currently larger than the size
This gravity map shows the extent of the Chicxulub Crater on the Yucatán Peninsula on the coast of Mexico (white line). Temperature dependent sex determination is known today in some egg-laying reptiles and it was argued that if temperatures did change signiﬁcantly then all the hatchling dinosaurs would have been the same sex and their demise unavoidable! From the 1960s onwards Robert Sloan and Leigh Van Valen became the most persistent and high-proﬁle advocates of the environmental change model for dinosaur extinction. the asteroid theory appears to be the more robust. also known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction event. The energy released. equivalent to hundreds of millions of tonnes of TNT.
4 K-Pg extinction
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The study of prehistoric life through fossils. In summary.
of France (and may have been up to three times as large in the past). such as the near-Earth asteroids. The Traps.000km2 in west-central India. This entirely new hypothesis was met by skepticism from the palaeontological community. The ﬂood-volcanism theory does not adequately explain the impact signature. Eventually. Gerta Keller and other proponents of the volcanism model began to gather data.
The Cretaceous-Palaeogene extinction event. which would have vaporised the iridium-enriched asteroid material. which pose a collision danger with Earth. a discovery was made that took the dinosaur extinction debate onto a completely new footing. it’s revealed as the yellow and red concentric rings
One of the largest volcanic features on Earth formed 60-68 million years ago. but the chemical signature from such an event (plutonium-244) was absent from the samples. At 180km in diameter. They consist of multiple layers of solidified lava that are more than 2km thick and cover an area of 500.
2 Deccan Traps 3 Iridium
An element derived from micrometeorite dust that falls to Earth at a constant and predictable rate. It is found in much higher levels in asteroids than on the surface of Earth. but claim that these were merely a contributing factor to the extinction event. an incoming asteroid about 10km in diameter punched a hole in the atmosphere and the Earth’s crust. But. In 1991 the discovery of the 180 to 200km-wide ring-shaped Chicxulub Crater in Mexico crowned the Alvarez theory. in 1977. and matter ejected as the asteroid vaporised. It was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. global cooling and acid rain. multiple layers of solidiﬁed basalt. Most occur in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Deep impact By 1980 a fully ﬂedged theory was launched upon the world by Luis and Walter Alvarez and their colleagues.
Dr David Norman is a palaeontologist at Cambridge University and the author of Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction (OUP). However.
In our October 2013 issue. Studie
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123 RF. we carried the story ‘How To Buy Happiness’ and conducted a feedback activity on our facebook page.Abhishek Pandey
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meaningful and interesting activity so that our students are ready to face the challenges of the world. what changes have you brought about? I believe in creating schools that provide quality education that is strongly rooted in values. I think Gujarat is the most will be a day when the system will begin to progressive one.e. What would you call as your challenges? Education has been a victim of extreme negligence from time immemorial. Good education should foster creativity. physically. it is also about everyone else around. The day when teaching progressive and why? becomes the ﬁrst choice and not the last The group has established schools in 12 states resort for our young educated generation across the country. Even Rabindranath Tagore stressed the need to change the education system in India. We now have 38 valuebased socially responsible. However.
. which liberates children from the agony of ignorance while empowering and enlighting them. And this has been successful to a great extent. The future seems bleak and the quality quotient is declining fast. Things have sunken to inertia.In Education
Chief Education Officer of Aditya Birla Public Schools. proﬁcient and quality teachers. quality should be a priority. innovative schools with 40. technology is an integral part of our present as well as future.We are harvesting sub-standard professionals from today’s mushroom institutions. The mission of our schools is to make education a relevant. A very hollow teaching system at the primary level and an all-pass promotion policy is the root cause of a very poor academic foundation in the country.
What improvements are needed then? No education system in the world can be successful without having efﬁcient. commitment and passion. Since the time I have come on board.There are various systemic failures that do not allow our system to bloom. Shayamlal Ganguli talks about reforms in the education system that will lead to a more holistic structure
“A teacher affects eternity”
What is the motto of Aditya Birla Public Schools (ABPS)? It is Vishnu Puran . Hence.360 students out of which 17. I have
encouraged our schools to act as centres for positive social enhancement and work with the village schools in the neighborhood for their upliftment. It ensures that the child grows aesthetically. I remain deeply involved in all my schools and make it a point to meet everyone right from our stakeholders. Rote learning still plagues our system. It is a value-based asset that leads to growth of socially responsible. which is indeed a matter of concern and calls for immediate and serious changes. efforts to elevate teachers’ there. Six of our schools are located change.358 from disadvantaged section of the society. knowledge which liberates). compassion and care. Since your tenure as the CEO of ABPS. 22.
social characteristics and I think it is their diversity that makes building new schools in different states so interesting. Having said that. infrastructure or technology can equal the According to you.Sa vidya ya vimuktaye (i. Our resolve is to provide holistic education. Our education system is strongly rooted in values of integrity. environmentally conscious and innovative human beings. mentally. it is not just about oneself. A teacher affects eternity. Our teachers have customised technology to make it function as a supplementary aid.
It’s a fact that no amount of state-ofthe-art infrastructure or technology can equal the role of a teacher
What are your views on using technology to educate children? Well. I have tried to build a unique education system that helps to maxmise a child’s potential. What is good education? Good education is something that nurtures the innate abilities of a child.823 boys and 19. They are the life-line of the whole process but the present scenario shows a pathetic decline in the academic standards. we are not totally against smart teaching. which is contradictory to our objective. subject knowledge of the teachers. No technology can replace the human teacher. corruption and lack of initiative. which state is most role of a teacher. Our IT labs are well-equipped and all our educators are computer literate and have access to all modern devices. sensitivity. Education is not just a passport to good life. environmentally conscious. children to parents and teachers. We prefer smart teachers to smart classes. but a potent and prominent institution used to empower a process that enables children to develop holistically.537 are girls. It’s a fact that no amount of state-of-the-art You have schools in various states. And when we say liberation. our views about use of technology in classrooms is different. All states have their unique cultural. socially and emotionally.
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On this joyous occasion of Children’s Day. The Times of India Bldg. 4th floor. Dr Dadabhai Navroji Road. 2013 either by email: bbcknowledge@wwm. Worldwide Media. Children’s Day Contest. complete with your name. in 50 words or less.COM
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Magnavox Q7 Enigma Code: Comment. Torrent. Ingrain. Impose. Cement. Carpet. Piano. Erses. Esteem. Smiling. Reindeer. Bread.
Find your way out. Hit Q4 Mensa Puzzle: 22. Esters. Inoculation. Australia. Bison.SoLuTionS:
123RF. Renting. Captor. Ingest. Trumpet Q1 Go Figure: Easy: 8 + 7+ 2 + 6 = 23 Medium: 3 x 4 + 3 + 6 = 21 Hard: 3 x 4 . Teeming. the words represented by each of the 16 pictures are hidden either horizontally.COM X23
Picture Search: Aeroplane. Rainfall. Barbell.
Q5 Head & Tail: Trap-Door-Prize-Fight-Song-Book-Bag-Lady Q6 Pick and Choose: Democracy.6 + 2 = 8
Q2 Chain Words: Formal. Icecap. In each row. Outpost. Pineapple. Stage. add the left and right hand numbers and double the answer to give the central value. See how many of them you can find? Look out for descriptive names. vertically or diagonally forward or backwards but always in a straight line. Sixteen. Anger. Pound. Pearl. Zambia. Topaz. Nose. Melting. Kettle. Compose. Malice.
. Simpler Q8 Double Barrelled: Farm
In the jumble below. Postcard Q3 Deductions: Impeach. Papin. Fallout.
fourth and sixth boxes in the correct order to get the answer. Pigments dating back 40K years were first found here (2) 6. The number at the end of the clues specifies how many sets of letters are used in the solution. 1. Each of the letter set can be used only once and only in the order given. You can use each letter only once. and seventh boxes and whatever operators you care to use in the second. Start FOR MAL ICE RENT ING MING LE PER SON IGN ING CAP TEEM TOR ES EST ERS
Q8 Double Barrelled
What word can be placed in front of the five words shown to form in each case another word?
H A N D H O U S E Y A R D S T E A D
RAIN Fall SIDE CAR NET OUT POST CARD FINISH
L A N D
You are given a 9-letter word. The second part of the next answer is the first part of the next answer. The origins of cricket date back to this century (3) 3. Your job is to break up this word into 9 separate letters and place them on the dashes to spell a 7-letter word. Surprise opening Something you can win Important bout Inspirational anthem A collection of music A student might carry one A homeless person Lady Trap
Q2 Chain words
Form a continuous path of words from START to FINISH by connecting the word parts given in the boxes. based on the theme of How Do We Know. and a 3-letter word. There are two parts to each word and the second part of one word is the first part of the next.Questions and challenges guaranteed to give your brain a workout
Q1 Go Figure
Place the four numbers in the first. Form of government first practised in Greece (4) 2. a 5-letter word. fifth. When you have cracked the code you will be able to make up seven words. Medical practise first used in India around 1500 BC (4)
Q4 Mensa Puzzle
Which number replaces the blank?
5. French physicist who invented pressure cooker (2) 4. by choosing the right combination of letter sets given below. The Clue: Something said
M M M M M M Q5 Head and Tail M M
Look at the clue to solve the answer in the form of a compound word. The clue to the first word is given to help you get started.
The operators: ÷ Easy 2 Medium 3 Hard 2 3 4 6 3 4 6 =8 6 7 8 = 21 X + – = 23
Q7 Enigma Code
Each colour in our code represents a letter. You won’t necessarily need to visit every box to achieve your aim. third. Company which manufactured the first gaming console (3)
3 6 8
4 2 3
RA IN CY
PAP SIXT IN
LAT ZAM EEN
NA DEM ION
BIA TH VOX
OC OCU MAG
. PARCHMENT I A I G E H
Q6 Pick and Choose
Solve the six clues. Use the numbers only once.
Faridabad • Gia Marium Titus Mar Baselios Public Shool. Good luck! Terms and conditions: Only residents of India are eligible to participate. Crossword No. address and phone number. 2013. Sony. All spellings are UK. Ltd. Dr Dadabhai Navroji Road.3) 15 Antibiotic discovered by Alexander Fleming (10) 19 The invention of this semiconductor device played a huge role in the development of computers and communication (10) 22 Joesph ___ was the first person to capture images and print them as photographs (6) 23 Armoured fighting vehicle invented by Ernest Swinton which was first used in World War One (4) 24 Company which has recently begun tests on a self-driving car (6) 25 Along with Stanley Mazor he invented the Intel 4004 microprocessor (3. fireworks and fuel coke (4) 21 X-rays discoverer (7)
Our pioneers and inventions special!
NAME: AGE: ADDRESS:
AnnouncinG THE winnErS oF CroSSword No. although the British style may be unusual as crossword grids vary in appearance from
country to country. The decision of the judges will be final. The winners will be selected in a lucky draw. are not eligible to participate.18 Worldwide Media.18
1 First ever commercially available antibacterial drug (9) 5 American inventor who invented the phonograph and a long-lasting electric light bulb amongst other things (6) 8 Invented in 3000 BC it is often reinvented in a futile manner (5) 9 The first hand-held mobile phone was developed by this company (8) 11 Company which developed the first Personal Computer (3) 12 The public introduction of this computer network changed the we acquire information (5. 17
How to enter for the crossword: Post your entries to BBC Knowledge Editorial. 17 SoLuTion oF croSSword NO. Novices should note that the idea is to fill the white squares with letters to make words determined by the sometimes cryptic clues to the right.4.
Latika Sharma Modern Delhi Public School. Toshiba. The Times of India Bldg. Raigarh
. Employees of Bennett Coleman & Co. The numbers after each clue tell you how many letters are in the answer.Puzzle Pit
SOLVE & WIN BOOk HaMpERs wORTH `1000 fROM
Crossword NO. and Panasonic in 1995 (3) 12 Aviation pioneers ___ brothers (6) 13 Charles ____ : Inventor of the first mechanical computer (7) 14 Its invention and practical application in the 19th century was the driving force of the second industrial revolution (11) 16 This ancient counting device was first used by the Sumerians around 2500 BC (6) 17 The term smartphone was first associated by a phone made by this manufacturer (8) 18 World’s first network to implement TCP/IP protocols and progenitor of the Internet (7) 20 This Chinese dynasty’s reign saw many notable inventions including movable type. Kottayam • Sameer Patel O P Jindal School. 4th floor.in by December 10. How it’s done: The puzzle will be familiar to crossword enthusiasts already. Mumbai 400001 or email bbcknowledge@ wwm.4) 26 Alessandro ____ invented the battery (5) 2 The world’s first mass-produced gasoline powered car was manufactured by this company (10) 3 Philo Farnsworth’s invention which radically changed the entertainment world (10) 4 Pain relief drug invented by Friedrich Sertürner in 1804 (8) 6 Mesopotamians in 3000 BC were the first to smelt this alloy (6) 7 China’s gift to the publishing industry (5) 10 Optical disc storage format. which was invented and developed by Philips.co. Entrants must supply their name.
The objective is to impart knowledge through various domains while inculcating soft skills like leadership. espritde-corps and communication. we believe in imparting rich values to students that make them rooted with their culture and heritage and also enables them to face challenges with ease. I have also introduced latest teaching learning processes through pedagogical techniques while establishing symbiotic academia-industry connect and developing collaborations with international universities. What are your views on using technology to educate students? Does the university implement any technological learning tools? Technological interventions in teaching learning processes are indispensable. We use a learning management system in our pedagogical delivery.The university encourages this by conducting seminars. declamations. processes and procedures. processes and procedures. which sets it apart? Besides imparting excellent domain knowledge and skills of highest order. robust examination and evaluation system.Edu Talk
Dr N C Wadhwa.
What are the next big steps you would want MRIU to implement? The essence of MRIU is infused into students through academic and administrative policies. Since your tenure as the vice chancellor of MRIU. What improvements according to you if any. conferences. talks about how modern education and Indian values need to go hand-in-hand for an all round development of a student
“From being knowledge centric to becoming skill centric would be the biggest game changer”
What is Manav Rachna International University’s (MRIU) philosophy? Manav Rachna International University (MRIU) is dedicated and committed to train and equip its students with latest knowledge and skills in their chosen ﬁelds in the backdrop of Indian ethos and values to enable them to face global challenges. scholastic activities and other cultural and student-oriented activities. What according to you signifies complete education? How does the university encourage this? It’s the development of a harmonious personality with scientiﬁc and spiritually trained minds. The objective is to impart knowledge through various domains while inculcating soft skills like leadership. What is the one intangible educational/ learning element that the students are offered at MRIU. diminishing quality of student inputs and decline in value system are some of the challenges we face. How does the University prepare its students for their career? We have a career development centre and a corporate resource centre that helps in equipping students with relevant knowledge
and soft skills that are required to enhance employability and relevance to employers. espritde-corps and communication. How is this inculcated into everyday university life? The essence of MRIU is infused into students through academic and administrative policies. sports-related events. what changes have you brought about? I facilitated this campus in its transformation from a college of repute into a university framework through introduction of competence-based curriculum. What do you think would be the challenges for accomplishing MRIU’s goal? Availability of quality faculty. Vice Chancellor of Manav Rachna International University. in the existing education system would benefit the students? The approach from being knowledge centric to becoming skill centric would be the biggest game changer to bring about improvement in the educational paradigm prevailing in the country.
a touchpad and motion sensor. Price: `39. which
• Xbox one
The soon-to-be launched Microsoft Xbox One would come with improved Kinect. TV. Price: `2. locks.com
A definitive list of gadgets this year. Its HDMI in and out port would allow seamless navigation between gaming and viewing TV. Apt for photography in low light. It is compact and compatible with Macintosh and Microsoft printers.techradar. AC etc into smart objects that can be instructed to perform a function you desire by a push of a button. These sensors communicate with each other and let you turn lights. The camera allows editing of pictures with its in-built RAW data converter. the printer can create intricate designs. Price: `18.434 for the unit • www.025-0. the X20 also has manual 4X optical zoom lens and a 2.cnet. Price: `31. which would not only trace your body movements but also detect facial expressions. called SmartThings.000 • www.com
• playstation 4
One amongst the various mobile integration features in the new Sony PlayStation 4. PS4 is also about 9 times faster than PS3 thanks to the newly developed 8GB GDDR5 RAM. With integration of Skype’s audio codec.08.com
Ever wished if everyday objects around us would help us in making our lives secure. is that it will allow users to purchase a game online through their smartphone from anywhere in the world and while doing so it will install the game in the console at home.553 • www. The PS4 Dualshock 4 controller comes with 12 buttons. Get real time updates on when your children unlock the door to your house or have the lights in your house light up at a predetermined time when you are on a vacation. motion sensor camera.• Form 1 3d prinTEr
Always wanted to see your drawings take form in real life? The Form 1 3D printer lets you just do so.formlabs.999 • www. Well.fujifilm.1mm.com
• Fujifilm finepix
The 12 megapixel Fujifilm FinePix X20 is equipped with a large optical viewfinder. Xbox One would offer higher quality voice chat than its sibling Xbox 360. in varying resolutions and thickness measuring between 0.511 • www. Using the stereolithography technology where a laser beam drawing on a tray of liquid plastic resin solidifies a thin layer of it. Time for a Grand Theft Auto V marathon run then eh? Price: `25.8 inch LCD monitor.smartthings. the people at SmartThings have made that happen by creating a variety of small sensor devices and a central hub. delivers sharp images and comes with HD video recording. which you can place around your home or office or car.
are not too late to own
• Google nexus 5
The Google Nexus 5 is rumoured to be a HD 5” or 5. The gesture controlled interface device comes with call facilities. Price: `23. SmartTV interface with in-built W-Fi and LAN port. A white pixel addition to the traditional three colour pixels ‘red. Control buttons are on top for volume and an auxiliary button to connect with devices without Bluetooth for times when the network falters.com
• LG curVEd TV
LG’s 55” curved OLED TV has a concave screen of 4. A 64GB memory card. can control music. Don’t let your credit card tell you otherwise. a dual-core processor. Clip on the lens style cameras DSC-QX100 by Sony. pre-programmed 70 apps and a 1.lg. Reports have suggested that the phone will have a 13 megapixel rear camera with flash and a 2 megapixel front camera while being powered by quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. Whether it will be released with the new Android KitKat is doubted.complex.572 • www. remembers a total of six paired devices.cnet.uk
• boSE bLuETooTH SpEAKEr • samsung galaxy gear smart-watch
One word: Want! Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart-watch. Price: DSC-QX100 `31. The device doubles as a 3D TV with depth and viewpoint control.co. update Facebook status and also make calls via Bluetooth. but it acts like a camera. rechargeable battery.63“ OLED display screen.ndtv. green and blue’ allows for better colour display. The Gear is equipped with a buckle and flexible band. Price: Not Available • www.3mm depth. The speculated date of release is mid-October or late November. which can be adjusted depending on the shape and size of your wrist.500 • www. iPods. a speaker and two microphones near the 1.2” screen smartphone.sony.491 • www. receive messages. a battery life of 27 hours. Price: `6.com
. Price: `16. smart phones.31. without actually using your Samsung smartphone.9 megapixel camera located on the strap that takes pictures and comes with video recording and playback. allowing for an uninterrupted view of the screen from any angle.com The Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker is a compact lightweight speaker that can play music.gadgets. voice control. to your smartphones to click pictures.200 • www.com
• Sony DSc-qx100
It might look like a lens. tablets. a shutter release make it a better camera for your phone or tablet and should be on your ‘things to buy for Diwali’ list.
Here. as well as the other two more elusive components of the cosmos. and CERN is on a mission to recreate the web’s own history by putting the first website back online. and listen to an acoustic tribute to the Space Shuttle. Science Studio has tracked down some of the best for you.uk/planck/
This simulator lets you see what the Planck satellite’s map of the cosmic microwave background would look like if the proportions of normal matter. From giant sea creatures.
If you have a favourite website. There are hints. But if you’d like to find out how you’d fare as a code cracker. but you won’t make the leader board without going it alone.
The first website
thesciencestudio. Sit back and watch as a 2000-year-old analogue computer is recreated in Lego. royalty-free. Luckily.notesfromnature.org.org/#/archives/ calbug/
California scientists have thousands of bugs sitting in storage. and everything in it.youtube. look no further than these 10 challenges created by GCHQ. Follow the team’s progress on their blog and see the website itself.org. were different.
turinggame.cern. but you’ll hardly notice.
20 years ago.org
There are so many great science videos and podcasts online that it can be hard to find the real gems. But without you.sciencemuseum.Resource
Get your clicks
H Website H Website
Our pick of internet highlights to explore
www. please email bbcknowledge@wwm. making it available for anyone to use. The rest is history. the Universe. to dark matter and big data.co. Now there are an estimated 630 million websites. blog or podcast that you’d like to share with other readers. with labels detailing when and where they were found. each video is a short. CERN put the World Wide Web in the public domain.web.strudel. This citizen science project aims to create a database of over one million specimens that will help to pinpoint how these tiny creatures have been affected by climate change. dark matter and dark energy. some of the best educators and animators from around the world are brought together to make lessons you’ll actually want to watch. You’ll learn something.uk
Wartime codebreaker Alan Turing would have been 100 last year and the Science Museum in London has an exhibition to celebrate the great man’s work at Bletchley Park. Results for this year’s best multimedia science on web will be announced on October 2013. these creatures may never be digitally catalogued. snappy and visually appealing look at one aspect of life.
www. You can then see what fate – a big crunch or a big freeze – the Universe would meet with your chosen mix.in
Creative Assembly.indeed. A ﬁve-year wait has fuelled expectation to dangerously insane levels. And if all that wasn’t enough. then on the campaign map you’ll manipulate political factions.900
So. adrenaline junkie Franklin. who then attempts to regain his cranium with the help of a magic pair of scissors. even in the heat of a mission.You can switch between these miscreants at will. the action unfolds in two distinct arenas. but this one feels particularly signiﬁcant. expect to be playing this for months. it’d probably be in a dinosaur’s colon by now. Still. ` 1.You can leap out of a plane. but marionette-like characters grant Puppeteer an instantly memorable look. a project so huge that the Xbox 360 version has to come on two discs. ` 1. Its virtual world is ﬁve times bigger than the Western wilderness of Red Dead Redemption. Kutaro. convert rivals to your cause. Rockstar wants GTA Online to gain a serious online following. tactical conflicts. Luigi himself is fiddly to control.You can scuba dive. ` 2. featuring stages that are much shorter than those in the original game.but don’t let that put you off. There are new ideas. Xbox 360. but also a darn sight tougher too.You can steal a policeman’s car.
PS3. and crash it into the sea . The arrival of a new Grand Theft Auto is always a notable event.499 Developer Creative Assembly returns to the setting of its most lauded game: classical antiquityera Rome.999 Have you heard about the Moon Bear King? Neither had we. with a freakishly high jump that takes time to master.
GTA’s Michael was starting to feel the psychological strain of going on his seventeenth murderous crime spree in as many days
PS3.769 Take pity on Luigi: despite being significantly taller than Mario. In this snazzy platformer from Sony Japan.even in his own game. and assassinate your enemies. This is a disc release of what was originally a downloadable add-on for New Super Mario Bros U. too. drive it the wrong way down the motorway. if Marty McFly had parked his DeLorean in front of the GTA hype train. Just because you can. as the old saying goes . Sony Japan. here there’s a trio of them: retired mobster Michael. he’ll always be trapped in his brother’s shadow. so expect to spend a lot of time planning robberies and assembling a bespoke crew of professional undesirables. there’s also an extensive multiplayer mode. with your tailored avatar essentially standing as the game’s fourth character. where pristine togas and stabbed backs are the order of the day. he plays as a bit of a weirdo. Where previous GTAs offered one muddled antihero. here it is. whether it succeeds or not. this is still bound to be what most of us do the ﬁrst time we play.
. Nintendo. encompassing the city of Los Santos (Rockstar’s satirical take on LA) and miles upon miles of surrounding
countryside. It’s a bewildering plot. Customisable heists are a major focus of the action. ` 1.
New Super Luigi U
Wii U. This is the biggest game that Rockstar has ever made. offering three perspectives on whatever carnage happens to be at hand. the lunar-based ursine monarch rips the head off a small boy. Dulce bellum inexpertis. On the field of battle you’ll command up to 40 units at once in epic. but apparently he likes to rob children of their souls to provide his castle with a constant reserve of ghostly servants. it’s hard not to be excited by the raw facts. Poor guy . Rockstar. As before. and a psychotic ex-army pilot named Trevor.Games
Grand Theft Auto V
Total War: Rome II
As part of the Indian Badminton League. GOPICHAND ACADEMY
pressure disappears as soon as you enter the court. I put in extra into my training the next day. Arjuna Award. a mentor is of utmost importance. I think whatever I planned for has come true. my biggest motivation is my love for the game. when I was only 8-years-old. I tried to divide my time and energy equally for both.The
Olympic winner Saina Nehwal talks about the essential ingredient for succeeding. When I was in school. reminding myself that I shall not repeat the same mistakes. from a mere player to a player of repute
My biggest motivation is my love for the game. and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna by the Government of India for her achievements. when my parents directed me to badminton. he has given me my game. I won my ﬁrst under-10 tournament in July 1999. Everybody is nervous before the start of the game. It is difﬁcult every time and sometimes I do feel dejected. But. there is pressure and that is a difficult issue to handle”
started learning karate in 1998 in Hyderabad. As the former All England Open Badminton champion. she plays for Hyderabad Hotshots. A small mistake can bring you down quickly. the ﬁrst thought that enters my mind is to only win. courage. Yes. and that is what helps me move forward
and skill. a decision I have never regretted. My ﬁrst coach. I do understand the importance of education. It also helped me develop ﬂexibility and improve my reactions. then the
INDIAN BADMINTON LEAGUE. For me. die hard attitude. I focus only on the game and try to forget everything else. and pursued my studies at the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan’s Vidyashra in Hyderabad till culmination. I had very few friends. She has been conferred the Padma Shri. a never-say-die attitude
“Yes. Self-belief is the key to remain focused. I believe that if you have worked hard and are conﬁdent about your abilities. Also. I try not to let setbacks that I experience undermine my efforts. Pullela Gopichand has done this for me. While I was not born a sportsman. My parents had put me in the karate classes because I used to get bored at home as I was their only child.
Saina Nehwal is ranked number four on the Badminton World Federation list and is the first Indian to win a bronze medal for badminton at the 2012 Olympics. Aarif sir.
. and in India it is very difﬁcult to achieve this balance. I decided to focus my energies only on badminton. I learnt to love karate because action was the only language there and the game gave me the attitude to ﬁght back and never give up. I always try to put his words into action. I carried the same attitude and learnings to the court. I chose to participate in sports. there is pressure and that is a difﬁcult issue to handle. it was difﬁcult for me to balance sports and education. where the prize money was just `150! When I step onto the court. took me under his wing and it is because of him that today I have turned into a good badminton player. We had just moved from Haryana and as I didn’t know Telugu. It is he/she who transforms you. Later. and that is what helps me move forward.
SCIENCE • HISTORY • NATURE • FOR THE CURIOUS MIND