The early life of Robert Hooke (1635-1703) including his childhood on the Isle of Wight. His education at Westminster School and Oxford University; research work he carried out at Oxford; joining the Royal Society as ‘Curator of Experiments’; description of contents of his famous book ‘Micrographica’. How observations of microscopic world provided the groundwork for future scientific discoveries.
This article provides a brief overview of the evolutionary path which led to the appearance of human camera eyes which allow us to see so effectively. Features of human vision are explained including how electrical nerve impulses are transmitted from retina of the eye to the visual cortex of the human brain allowing us to ‘see’. How the brain composes images and an explanation of saccadic eye movements.
Adaptions allowing mangroves to populate intertidal areas including aerial stilt roots, pneumatophores, ways of disposing of excess salt and ways of conserving water. Features of red, black, white mangroves and buttonwoods and their zonation in mangrove forests. Seedlings of different mangrove species and their dispersal. How seedlings grow on parent trees before dropping off. Benefits to communities.
The evolution of prokaryotic bacteria in ancient seas 3.8 billion years ago; how cyanobacteria evolved to use visible light as a source of energy; the appearance of stromatolites in ancient seas; how the evolution of eukaroyotic cells led to the appearance of sea algae; how sea algae adapted to living on land to form the first land plants, the bryophytes. Some adaptions that prevent the dessication of bryophytes.
The ancient greek Galenist view of the movement of blood round the body; Versalius, Fabricuius and Fallopius and their studies of human anatomy. The emergence of William Harvey and how he drew on the work of his predecessors to discover how blood circulates in the human body. A description of some of Harvey’s practical experiments including tying a ligature around a forearm and interpreting the outcome.
The Beagle sails from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo; Darwin reads John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Volume II of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology; upheaval and anarchy in Montevideo; arrival of new ship’s artist Conrad Martens; fraternising with the gauchos and discovering the bones of an extinct megatherium; the story of the three Yaghans from Fitzroy’s first voyage on the Beagle; leaving Montevideo for Tierra del Fuego.
‘Warm blood’ and an explanation of what it means to be endothermic. How homeothermic endotherms are able to maintain a constant body temperature within a narrow temperature range; the strong relationship between ‘mass specific basal metabolic rate’ and body mass; surface area to volume ratios; mechanisms by which the body loses and gains heat; abandoning endothermy by hibernation and torpor.
Summary of the Ptolemaic Earth centered view of the Universe; how the Earth centered (geocentric) view held currency for more than 1000 years; Copernicus and the sun centered (heliocentric) view of the Universe; why Copernicus harbored doubts about the sun centered model; an explanation of the stellar parallax; using the geometry of the Earth to calculate distance. ‘De Revolutionibus’ is published.
What makes reptiles ‘cold blooded; why ‘ectothermic’ is a more accurate description of reptiles than ‘cold blooded.’ How ectotherms ‘thermoregulate’ their core temperatures by adopting different types of behavior. Physiological adaptions of ectotherms including changing skin color, freeze avoidance and freeze tolerance. Why ectotherms make excellent ambush predators. The hearts of ectotherms.
Difference between brown dwarfs and stars; how brown dwarfs’ early evolution is similar to that of protostars; gravitational contraction and how brown dwarfs burn deuterium and lithium; how matter inside brown dwarfs becomes degenerate; electron degeneracy explained and how this electron degeneracy impacts on size; difficulties in discovering brown dwarfs. Weather systems of brown dwarfs.