Betelgeuse, Gamow, and a Big Red Horse

There has been a lot of talk recently of Betelgeuse possibly going supernova this century or not...

Climate Change, the Walrus and the Carpenter

I have recently watched two videos on climate change by Sabine Hossenfelder.  The first one...

A Very Large Hadron Collider?

Frontpage image: Illustration of spherical explosion (kilonova) of two neutron stars (AT2017gfo/GW170817)...

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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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Here are some interesting YouTube videos, from which I have learned quite a bit:

Mushballs on Jupiter.

Terrestrial meteorology is an intricate subject, so how about a planet which could be said to be largely made up of weather?  Here is an interesting video from an astrophysicist, in which I see details that are perhaps clearer to a (physical) chemist!

Ammonia and water mix in Jupiter’s atmosphere to give some pretty epic lightning and giant hail that have been dubbed “mushballs”.

In 1996 (or thereabouts) the new Meteorology building was opened at the University of Reading. The inaugural lecture was given by Ed Lorenz, widely regarded as the father of modern Chaos Theory. In this biography from the National Academy of Sciences, Edward Norton Lorenz, one reads
At one point, in 1961, Ed had wanted to examine one of the solutions in greater detail, so he stopped the computer and typed in the 12 numbers from a row that the computer had printed earlier in the integration. He started the machine again and stepped out for a cup of coffee.
Here are a few of the things I have been watching , while living a somewhat less active life due to current conditions.

In the south of England, this summer has been quite hot, and fig trees (mostly of the Brown Turkey variety) have been giving large crop. In our area there is a large fig tree hanging over the garden wall, and passers-by have been helping themselves to the fruit. I also try to grow figs, but without getting many. I looked at several videos from the USA, but none of them seemed to correspond to the way figs behave in the British Isles.

Travelling by YouTube during the Lockdown

During the lockdown, and not even able to take a bus to the centre of town, I have perforce been getting about more by YouTube.  Here are three of my “discoveries” which I hope will be interesting and pleasing to readers.

Buzz Aldrin

I am always eager to hear about space programmes, and here from the Science Musuem channel is yet another video showing what a nail-biting event was the first Apollo Moon landing.


Not long ago, I was watching a documentary The Pharaoh in the Suburb on Channel 5 (UK terrestrial television) which told us that

The discovery of a gigantic statue in a suburb of Cairo shed light on an almost forgotten period of Egyptian history, and the accomplishments of one of the greatest pharaohs of all, Psamtik I, who reigned 664–610 BC.

The statue was discovered in March 2017,
and here he is after being excavated: