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Superconduction With Stinks — A New Temperature Record

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

Decline Of Language — Are Women To Blame?

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

Brain, Rhythm, and Music

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

Pluto, Stígandr, Omoo?

What do you say to Pluto’s demotion to “dwarf planet” status?  I did not approve of...

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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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Since I retired three years ago, I have been becoming almost as sessile as a sea squirt, sitting in front of my computer, reading not just news but comment and what people are thinking about things.  Among the ‘things’, women’s equality is very much to the front these days.
A few days ago, I was watching an episode of the Antiques Roadshow.  People were bringing their treasured objects for expert examination to the grounds of a stately house in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.  The items included an early pocket calculator by Sinclair (made locally), and a traction engine arrived in full steam.  But my ears really pricked up when a valuable jug bought for a fiver (in today’s money, perhaps $50) was identified as a Bellarmine Jug

In the 19th century, following the Enlightenment, the process of secularization seemed to be on a slow but unstoppable roll.  One consequence of this was the development of a view of history, whereby religion in general, Christianity in particular, and above all the Roman Catholic church, assumed the rôle of the enemy of all progress, and progress was by definition good.  Clerics were pictured as Asuras (in Hindu epic titanic beings perpetually at war with the Devas or gods) always opposing the scientists with their own Clerisy.

Sir Archibald Henry Bodkin, KCB (1862–1957) was our British Director of Public Prosecutions from 1920 to 1930.  He particularly took a stand against the publication of what he saw as ‘obscene’ literature.