Proxima Centauri’s got a planet! Yay, but don’t get too wild yet

I think it’s exciting that we’ve found an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star right next door. Proxima Centauri – the closest star to us besides the Sun. Last week’s announcement of Proxima b by the ‘Pale Red Dot’ project, operating mainly from the European Southern Observatory in Chile, was ‘leaked’ a month or so ago. … More Proxima Centauri’s got a planet! Yay, but don’t get too wild yet

Explaining the electromagnetic spectrum in less than 550 words

It’s intriguing how we always talk about stuff like radio, microwaves, light, x-rays and the rest – as if all these were different things. Well guess what – they’re not. They’re all exactly the same thing. Electromagnetic energy. That’s it, really. Well, there are differences – as we’ll see in this post. But in terms … More Explaining the electromagnetic spectrum in less than 550 words

Why I get annoyed with Facebook brain-teaser puzzles

Some of the ‘brain teaser’ puzzles doing the rounds at the moment annoy me. The problem is that if you don’t know the parameters on which the question is posed, you can’t get the ‘right’ answer. Take the one involving apples (10 points each), bananas and coconuts. Depending on how you read it, a banana … More Why I get annoyed with Facebook brain-teaser puzzles

Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens

It occurred to me the other day that one dandy way to clean a microwave oven is to chuck a cake of soap into it and blast it on ‘high’ for a few minutes. It was a better idea than my previous microwave-inspired trick which involved dismantling the rotating platter and using egg whites and … More Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens

Einstein was right…again. Gravitational waves rule!

About 1.3 billion years ago, two black holes collided – and the whole fabric of space-time rang like a bell. Last September, researchers in the US detected the gravitational ripples. They announced it this week – and THAT, my friends, is awesome news. It’s not just the fact that Albert Einstein predicted them 100 years … More Einstein was right…again. Gravitational waves rule!

What happens when you wake up naked in outer space…

One of the genius moments in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey comes when Dave Bowman, locked out of the Discovery in a ‘pod’, without his suit helmet, re-enters anyway, via the emergency airlock. He’s unprotected in vacuum – but he doesn’t die instantly, or freeze, or explode the way people usually do in movies when … More What happens when you wake up naked in outer space…