The early life of Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury, England; the death of his mother and his early interests; attending Edinburgh University to study medicine; a lack of interest in a medical career gives the young Charles plenty of time to explore the natural world; Darwin’s first scientific discoveries and his friendship with Robert Grant; membership of the Plinian Society; frienship with a freed black slave and learning taxidermy skills.
The composition of Jupiter including its core, three layers of hydrogen and lower armosphere; an explanation of metallic hydrogen and helium rain; how the lower atmosphere is made up of three different cloud layers; an explanation of the planet’s high pressure zones and low pressure belts; primordial heat inside Jupiter and the extensive jovian magnetic field; auroras, rings and weather on Jupiter.
In this science article we examine Venus; how its atmosphere was similar to Earth’s 4 billion years ago; features of its atmosphere including its huge atmospheric pressure and sweltering heat; features of the planetary surface including continents, shield volcanoes, impact craters, mountains, lava flows and ‘pancake domes'; the planet’s magnetic field and how it differs from Earth’s magnetic field
An explanation of the pollination, seed dispersal by water and gravity, germination and growth of the common coconut or Cocos nucifera; how people use the common coconut and reasons for its amazingly wide dispersal; how the coconut fruit is actually a ‘dry drupe’ and has some things in common with peaches and other fleshy fruits; how the male and female flowers develop inside a sheathe.
A description of planet Mercury including its slow rotation around its axis and short orbit around the Sun. An explanation of the planet’s atmosphere, elliptical orbit, magnetic field and the apparent motion of the Sun across the mercurian sky; a description of long mercurian nights and days. The main features of the planetary surface are explained which include some impact craters and impact basins.
Reasons why our hunter gatherer ancestors originally evolved a sense of taste; the five senses of taste explained; how our taste receptors are housed in our taste buds; a description of what taste buds are and how our taste receptors work; the four different types of papillae and where they are located on our tongues; the taste buds of some other organisms including catfish, cows, ducks and cats.
Reasons for the evolution of eyesight during the period known as the Cambrian explosion; how the evolution of eyesight resulted in organisms becoming either prey or predators. An explanation of how eyesight evolved through eight simple steps; recessed light sensitive cells, the pin hole eye including a description of the eye of the nautilus mollusc; the spherical lens with greater refractive powers.
The conditions required for nuclear fusion to occur in the core of the Sun; the requirements for extreme pressure, extreme heat and the presence of hydrogen. How the process of nuclear fusion takes place; the state of plasma that exists in the core of the Sun and how protons fuse together to produce helium atoms; the state of hydrostatic equilibrium; the Sun as it will be in 4.5 billion years time.
The evolution, growth, pollination and seed dispersal of the Coco de Mer palm tree; how the Coco de Mer evolved over millions of years in the tropical rainforests of the Seychelles; discovery of the palm tree; the unusual way in which the Coco de Mer nut germinates; how nuts become infertile and how they reach the Maldives on ocean currents; the evolutionary pressures to grow bigger and bigger seeds.
This science blog examines the differences between constrictor snakes and venomous snakes; how the two different types of snake kill their prey in different ways. Using Homer as an example, we explore negative reactions to snakes and try to counter these negative reactions. We looks at some reasons why snakes have a place in any eco system and what would happen if there were fewer snakes.