Andre Geim

I’ve just found out that Andre Geim, winner of this year’s Nobel prize in physics, is a LEGEND. Not just for the obvious reason of winning a Nobel based on a very simple experiment, but he also co-authored a paper – entitled “Detection of earth rotation with a diamagnetically levitating gyroscope” – with his hamster, insisting that...


Thermoelectrics

Did you know that two-thirds of the energy that goes into an average family car is wasted, primarily through heat loss? Thermoelectric materials have been hailed as one solution to this energy problem. But what exactly are they? Well, as the name might suggest, thermoelectric materials have some interesting thermal and electrical properties. Generators based on...


Paddington

Written 15 Aug 10 Paddington station, Sunday morning. Buzzing with movement. After two quiet tubes, the din of the main concourse amazes me. Most people are here for pleasure, and yet the weekday commuters stick out like a sore thumb. The relaxation on their faces – such a contrast to what awaits them tomorrow. At the weekends, roles reverse – Londoners, so...


Flight

Written on 1 Dec09 Sitting on a packed plane, on the tarmac at Heathrow. The rain driving outside. The air-conditioning turned up so high the air is visible, turbulent clouds billowing from the air ducts, trying oh-so-desperately to clear the stale in-flight smell left behind by thousands of passengers. There’s another odour present, like hard cheese. I think...


Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology. Its one of those words you hear bandied about, but often in a slightly sinister, futuristic, matrix-style context. But what exactly is it? Well, “nano” comes from the Greek word for “small”. And “technology” is pretty much self-explanatory! So nanotechnology is just the application, science and engineering of the very small. How small?...