From Prohibition to Ferguson?

G.K.Chesterton (1874 – 1936) visited the United States twice, in 1921 and 1930.  I...

2015 — a Space Oddment

During the morning of last Monday (28th September) in Europe and Africa, or the evening of the...

Plumes and Volcanoes

This morning, in that !terrible! right-wing rag, the Daily Mail, I was intrigued to read this:How...

Superconduction With Stinks — A New Temperature Record

Back around 1960, at school I enjoyed a laboratory lecture on liquid nitrogen, watching a deep...

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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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In 1986, an expedition off the South-East coast of Australia near Tasmania, from depths of between 400 and 1,000 metres, brought up some jelly-like creatures, which were seen to be unusual and immediately preserved in ethanol. Now they have been examined, and assigned to a new genus Dendrogramma (from their resemblance to a tree diagram), with two species D. enigmatica and D. discoides.

I’ve often wondered about the Scopes trial, and wanted to read a good account of it.  I was recommended the account by Edward J. Larson in When Science and Christianity Meet, edited by DC Lindberg and RL Numbers (ISBN 0226482162).  .  It’s a very informative book, and wide-ranging too: out of 12 chapters, only one on Galileo and one on Darwin.

A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke, received rather a lot of comments.  Among these were a few about the place of women in the world: however these tended to be lost among the welter of other comments.  Indeed, the article seemed to attract a large number of orcs.  Now in some ways I am a highly discriminatory sort of person, and here I am discriminating between trolls

Recently this headline on Real Clear Science caught my eye: Carbon-12 Nucleus Shaped Like Equilateral Triangle.  It led to an article in Physics World, entitled

For some time now in Britain, our “great and good” have been belabouring the more conservative part of our population [1] with accusations of Islamophobia and Homophobia.  The implication of those two epithets is that they are some kind of medical or — by extension — moral pathology.  I will attempt in this short blog to raise the subject of what I consider to be some errors of our “great and good.”

I have seen creeping into recent discussions of the TV show ‘Cosmos’ the idea that we scientists, because of our greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works, will somehow be intrinsically better when it comes to dealing with matters of ethics, politics or religion.  I beg to differ.