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The Ada Lovelace effect

The Ada Lovelace effect Ada Lovelace, the ‘Countess of Computing’, was born in London on 10 December 1815. The daughter of Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace was a gifted mathematician recognised for creating the first computer programme and forseeing a digital future. Every year scientists across the world mark Ada Lovelace Day – which is being …

Eclipse news from the School of Physics and Astronomy

Among the millions who watched the first total solar eclipse to be seen across America for nearly a century was Professor Mike Merrifield, Head of the University of Nottingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy. Here’s one of the pictures he took as he joined an excited crowd in Central Park, New York. He said: “Clouds around, …

Levitation and lightning -100s of school children ‘Spring into Science’

How do you make music with electrical sparks or float balls in the air using only sound? Children from schools across Nottingham found out the answers to these and many other scientific questions at the first ever ‘Spring into Science’ event being held at The University of Nottingham today. A team of experts from the University’s …

Colleagues in Physics and Astronomy remember Professor Lawrie Challis OBE

Professor Laurence Eaves and Professor Tony Kent, in the School of Physics and Astronomy, at the University of Nottingham remember Professor Lawrence Challis. This obituary has been published by the Institute of Physics on MyIOP. Lawrie Challis, who died on 24 March 2017, was an experimental physicist who did distinguished work at the University of Nottingham …

Applications for our 2017 BSA Media Fellowships are now open

Experience life as a science journalist Do you want to find out, first hand, how academic research is reported by the media and play an active part in the process? For the third year running the University of Nottingham is offering funded places on the British Science Association’s  2017 Media Fellowships Scheme. The BSA Media Fellowships …

British Embassy in Russia support for the Periodic Table of Videos

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially adopted the names of the four new chemical elements this year – big news for the award winning Periodic Table of Videos. And this week they decided to release all four new videos at once! Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson. The names of two of them are directly …

Consensus is not a dirty word

This blog by Michael Merrifield, Professor of Astronomy in the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Nottingham, has been given extra poignancy by recent comments from the Trump transition team. Science is, by its very nature, a collective activity “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science.”  This quote from a speech by Michael Crichton …

Black moon on the rise

Julian Onions a Post-Graduate research student in the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Nottingham discusses tonight’s Black Moon – the second new moon in the calendar month – or is it? On Friday 29th September, we have a black moon. I admit I had to look up this term as it …

In praise of ‘small astronomy’.

A blog by Michael Merrifield, Professor of Astronomy in the School of Physics and Astronomy. A number of years back, I had the great privilege of interviewing the Dutch astronomer Adriaan Blaauw for a TV programme.  He must have been well into his eighties at the time, but was still cycling into work every day …

What has the comet Swift-Tuttle got to do with the Perseid meteor shower?

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most stunning celestial events in the astronomical calendar and this year it will be better than usual. Perseids are so called because they appear to come from the constellation Perseus. But, as Christopher Conselice, Professor of Astrophysics explains – the Perseid cloud is actually debris in space which …