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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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Those familiar with the Lord of the Rings will remember the Huorns.  According to the Lord of the Rings Wiki:
 
Mostly the Huorns stood as dark trees in the deepest forests, gnarled and unmoving, yet watchful. When aroused in wrath they moved swiftly as if wrapped in shadows, falling on foes with deadly and merciless strength. . . . These were wild wood spirits who were bent on the destruction of all who threatened the forests. They were dangerous to all on two legs unless they were protected by Ents.
 

About ten years ago, what is now the Electron Microscopy Laboratory at the University of Reading, was set up, to take over from individual EM units in other departments by purchasing more modern equipment.

On of the pleasures of working there was interaction with people from other departments, and one particularly enjoyable excursion was doing pollen samples for people, so introducing me to the science of Palynology.

A couple of days ago, I read this on Real Clear Science:

Why Spelling Tests Don’t Help Kids Spell by Misty Adoniou

I highly recommend this short article, but I would like to pick out one sentence:

Nor is getting children to write their spelling words out 10 times, even if they have to do it in rainbow colours.

Germans: ‘We’ve found second solar system’

This sounds like something from a science fiction comic when I was young, back in the days when Dan Dare was with Spacefleet, which was effectively the RAF in Space before the Russians and Americans took over.

However, this bit of news is quite contemporary.  According to one of my favourite online newspapers*, a team of German scientists claim to have discovered a “second solar system” made up of seven planets orbiting a star similar to our own.

Bug Dracula

Bug Dracula

Oct 31 2013 | 0 comment(s)

Today is Reformation Day, which until recently (so I have heard) was a national holiday in Germany, but the government decided that the Germans were getting too many holidays, and took it out of the calendar.  It is still, though, a civic holiday in Slovenia, since the Reformation contributed profoundly to their cultural development, although the Slovenes are mainly Roman Catholics.