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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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Fish and flowers inspire diving goggle material


says an article in Chemistry World

First, the fish.  Fish repel oil by trapping water within their scales to create a self-cleaning, oil-repellent coat.

And in the other corner, this little flower, Diphylleia grayi, – also known as the skeleton flower – which has the property that when rained on, its petals turn transparent, becoming white again on drying out.

Recently on Real Clear Science, Ross Pomeroy published an article Why Nothing Can Be Truly ‘Unnatural’, in which he denounces attempts to oppose homosexuality on scientific grounds.  However, after reading it, I am left with the feeling that he is not simply reporting science, but perhaps being a little bit like an old-fashioned nanny telling her charges what is or is not proper.  If so, he will be firing a shot in

Are ancient remedies any good?  In scholarly circles the middle of the 20th Century, they didn’t seem to think so.  For example:

‘Survey the mass of folly and credulity that makes up Anglo-Saxon leechdoms, it may be asked: “Is there any rational element here? Is the material based on anything that we may reasonably describe as experience?” The answer to both questions must be “Very little”.’ [1]

But in the last few days we have been reading

Two things that have caught my attention recently.

The first concerns trapping solar energy.  One way to do this is to convert it directly into electricity with a solar panel, but one with much wider application would be to split water into oxygen and hydrogen, which can then be stored and transported.

News that will disappoint loads of children:

I have recently been enjoying a bit of cross-Atlantic mud-slinging with some of our most prolific writers, most recently on the subject of which is the true and authentic version of Football.

However, there are occasions where the urge to do this must be resisted.  Recently, through the agency of Real Clear Science or one of its sister sites, I came across an article