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What is the Future of Nuclear Power?

Posted on 25 November 2015 at 1:56 pm

Despite countries such as Germany phasing out their nuclear power programme, the use of nuclear power worldwide is growing faster than ever.  China is currently building 27 new reactors and plans to build 200 more, to meet  the rapidly growing demand for electricity, which is expected to triple by 2050. In the UK, we face similar challenges, as well as a demanding carbon reduction target set by the European Union.  Minister of Energy and Climate... read more »

Nuclear Power to Become Crucial in Achieving the UK’s Carbon Target

Posted on 11 November 2015 at 1:48 pm

The use of nuclear power will always be controversial, but new developments in the industry and the 2008 Climate Change Act, which requires the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% of its 1990 level by 2050, means that politicians are seeing it as a way to help achieve climate change goals.  Although groups, such as Greenpeace, have objected to the increased use of nuclear power, a great deal of research using read more »

New Semiconductor to Help Power Spacecraft

Posted on 28 October 2015 at 1:44 pm

Researchers at the University of Arkansas in the USA are currently developing a new type of semiconductor that could be used to create more efficient photovoltaic solar cells to be used on space missions. Thanks to a $750,000 grant from NASA, the US space agency, they will be able to improve the existing solar energy technology being used on the International Space Station and Hubble telescope to help NASA achieve its 15-year goal of... read more »

New Semiconductor Technology Could Extend Moore's Law

Posted on 14 October 2015 at 1:35 pm

Fifty years ago, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of multinational technology company, Intel, predicted that the number of transistors on a single microchip would double every year. Ten years later he revised this estimate to every two years. This is known as Moore's Law. In 2015, this forecast has remained true but even Moore himself has hypothesised that this rate of expansion cannot continue indefinitely. Other commentators have stated that transistors are now so small... read more »

Hydrogen Economics: Boom or Bust?

Posted on 23 September 2015 at 9:44 am

In the ongoing search for sustainable, reliable, inexpensive and environmentally friendly energy sources, hydrogen has long been a contender. It is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. This abundance, and the fact that when burnt as fuel its only remnants are water and warm air, make it a very attractive option. However, the costs and complications surrounding the creation and storage of liquid hydrogen are still holding it back from becoming... read more »

The History of Cryogenics

Posted on 9 September 2015 at 9:00 am

Scientists in the 19th Century started experimenting with very cold temperatures. This type of study was called cryogenics. Major experimentation in this area began when scientists such as Michael Faraday began to liquefy gasses. Throughout the century, scientists went on to develop more sophisticated methods to create increasingly colder temperatures - this led to scientists liquefying all the known permanent gasses and finding new properties of solid materials. A brief history of cryogenics; the discoveries... read more »

Is The New LHC Run The End Of Particle Physics As We Know It?

Posted on 26 August 2015 at 9:32 am

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN facility (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) near Geneva, is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world.  It has been used in a large number of experiments, which have proved that the Standard Model of particle physics encompasses essentially every particle that makes up the universe and the forces that act upon them.  The most significant of these was the discovery of the... read more »

What is the Standard Model?

Posted on 12 August 2015 at 9:36 am

The Standard Model in particle physics definitely does not suggest that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.  However, it does give physicists a profound understanding of what life, the universe and everything is made up of.  It describes the fundamental particles that essentially make up all matter and the forces that act upon them. CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) states that, “how these particles and three... read more »

Taking Steps to Mars

Taking Steps to Mars

Posted on 29 July 2015 at 6:26 pm

2015 will go down as the year that US space agency NASA brought us the most detailed view of Pluto yet. And in just 15 years’ time, according to plans already in place, NASA will conduct a manned mission to Mars, which could answer the age-old question of whether there is life on other planets.  However, as Mars is approximately 225,300,000 km from the Earth, getting there is no mean feat and will need... read more »

Samantha Cristoforetti Breaks a World Record on her First Space Mission

Posted on 17 July 2015 at 1:01 pm

Between November 2014 and June 2015, Samantha Cristoforetti broke the world record for the longest space mission by a woman.  The previous record was held by Sunita Williams, who spent 195 days in space in 2012.  Cristoforetti's record was set by accident when a Russian space agency freighter burnt up on re-entry causing Cristoforetti's return to be delayed by a month while the accident was investigated meaning she spent 199 days in space.  This... read more »