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Robert H OlleyRSS Feed of this column.

Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

I would describe myself as a Polymer Morphologist. I am not an astronaut,

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During the morning of last Monday (28th September) in Europe and Africa, or the evening of the 27th in the Americas, we were treated to the spectacle of a total eclipse of the Moon, a so-called ‘supermoon’ because the Moon appeared a little larger than usual near its perigee, the point closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit.  With the help of the British magazine Astronomy Now, helpful because along the with Daily Mail it was one of the few sources that gave the event timings in British time correctly, I set out to photograph it.

Back around 1960, at school I enjoyed a laboratory lecture on liquid nitrogen, watching a deep frozen squash ball being shattered at a temperature well below that at which it turns from a rubber into a glass, and then seeing a nail being driven into a block of wood with a hammer whose head was made of frozen mercury.  The repeated impacts left an impression of the nail head in the soft metal.

Recently we were treated to a repeat of a three part series,

My attention was recently drawn to a link to the Science Codex, which begins:

What do you say to Pluto’s demotion to “dwarf planet” status?  I did not approve of the demotion, but a few days ago our BBC Sky at Night team did give a reasonable reason why it does require a new category.  With Neptune, one can say “planets end here”, while Pluto is the first of many bodies such as the remarkable Eris that we now know inhabit the Kuiper Belt.