Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Incidentally the draw for the raffle is due to take place before the start of our Christmas entertainment tomorrow night in the BSR...and last minute tickets will be on sale. For more information about the Adopt a Bear programme, click here. Why not give the gift of an adopted animal to someone this Christmas. Click here to see the wide range of animals up for adoption. If you adopt an animal, you get a cuddly toy, frequent updates about how your animal is doing and "loads more fun stuff".
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. The LHC lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres in circumference, as much as 175 metres beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. In the LHC experiment, two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC. There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what's for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
"What If" is curated by leading London based design duo Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby. It's definitely worth checking out but some exhibits may not be suitable for young children. For more information on the Science Gallery click here or for details on the What If exhibits click here. Admission is free too!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
The phenomenon of radioactivity was accidentally discovered in 1896 when Henri Becquerel put a rock in a drawer. The rock contained uranium, and the drawer contained a photographic plate, which was well-wrapped and shielded from the light. Some weeks later, when Becquerel unwrapped and developed the plate, he found rays of light on the photograph emanating exactly from the point of contact where the rock had been resting on it. Being a scientist, he was astounded. He could think of no possible way in which an inert rock could spontaneously be releasing energy -- especially such a penetrating form of energy. Moreover, the energy release had taken place in total darkness, in the absence of any external stimulation -- there was no chemical reaction, no exposure to sunlight, nor anything else. Becquerel had discovered radioactivity.
However, it took until 1938 to discover that uranium could be split to release energy, that is fission. This was accomplished by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman. In fact, one tonne of natural uranium can produce more than 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is equivalent to burning 16,000 tonnes of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil. There are currently 104 operating U.S. nuclear power plants that produce over 20 percent of U.S. electricity.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Young are born in maternity colonies in late June or early July. If the colony is disturbed, the mother may carry her baby to a new roost. The young bat grows quickly and is independent after about five weeks.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Congratulations to the winners of our Science Week Essay Competition. The winner in the senior section is Aoise Keogan Nooshabadi (Form IV) for her excellent essay on “Time”. The junior prize is won by Ben Richardson (Form II) for his essay on “Stars”. They both will receive a €50 voucher for HMV. Well done.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Our school librarian, Mr. Tom McConville has recently launched a new display in the library. This will showcase the books that have influenced selected teachers in St. Columba’s College, both professionally and personally. The first such display is from Mr. Peter Jackson, a chemistry and biology teacher in St. Columba's (who incidentally celebrates his birthday tomorrow). He has written a short piece on each book also. All of these books are great reads and definitely worth checking out.Peter Jackson Book Selection A
Monday, 23 November 2009
Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, flammable gas that is the simplest of all chemical elements. The hydrogen atom has a nucleus consisting of one proton and one electron. Although on Earth hydrogen ranks ninth among the elements in abundance, making 0.9% of the mass of the planet, it is by far the most abundant element in the universe, accounting for about 75% of the mass of all matter. Collected by gravitational forces of stars, hydrogen is converted into helium by nuclear fusion, a process that supplies the energy of the stars, including the sun.
Hydrogen is present in all animal and plant tissues in the form of compounds in which it is combined with carbon and other elements. In the form of hydrocarbons, it is a constituent of petroleum and coal. It also constitutes nearly 11 percent of the mass of seawater. The hydrogen content of the Earth's atmosphere remains low because of the continual escape of the gas into space.
Last night in the BSR, scientist Dr Neil Stronach, Old Columban, cheered us all up in this gloomy November weather with a fine illustrated talk about his time working in national parks in Tanzania, as the Annual Geography Lecture. He showed many slides of wildlife in places such as Serengeti. He also spoke about how he had been inspired while at SCC to pursue a science career by his biology teacher, Bud McMullen, who returned yesterday evening to hear the lecture. Neil Stronach now lives in Cork, and for twelve years was director of Fota Wildlife Park; he is now a consultant in Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation Management. (From St. Columba's News)
Darwin: Like confessing a murder.
Darwin: I have suffered from almost incessant vomiting for nine months, & that has so weakened my brain, that any excitement brings on whizzing & fainting feelings.
Darwin: It seemed to me probable that allied species were descended from a common parent. But for some years I could not conceive how each form became so excellently adapted to its habits of life. I then began systematically to study domestic productions, & after a time saw clearly that man's selective power was the most important agent. I was prepared from having studied the habits of animals to appreciate the struggle for existence, & my work in geology gave me some idea of the lapse of past time. Therefore when I happened to read "Malthus on population" the idea of Natural selection flashed on me.
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
In this month's Science Spin, Ireland's top science magazine, Tom Kennedy writes about plans to create a complete encyclopaedia of all earth's living things. Below is an extract from the article. Click here for the complete article or here to find our more about the Encyclopaedia of Life.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Yes. Fossils found in China in the 1980s showed a variety of dinosaurs with feathers and feathery plumage. Many of these feathered dinosaurs could not have flown, which means that feathers evolved for reasons other than flight (heat insulation, for example). Flight was an extra opportunity that was exploited by creatures already carrying feathers.
Until recently, scientists thought salamanders were the only amphibians that lack lungs. But in 1995 researchers found the first known lungless caecilian, and in 2008 another team reported a tiny, land-dwelling, lungless frog (click here to see a National Geographic story on the lungless frog). The new species is even more of a surprise because the animal, Caecilita iwokramae, is strikingly different from the other known lungless caecilian. Caecilita lives on land and is just 11 cm long, while its lungless relative is fully aquatic and reaches 70 cm in length.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
The Grey Seal, or Halichoerus grypus, is one of two types of seals in Irish waters, the other being the Common Seal. The Grey Seal occurs in greatest numbers on the western seaboard of Ireland although Grey Seals are found in Dublin Bay and at the Saltee Islands, Co Wexford. In fact half of the world’s population are found around the British Isles. It is a medium sized seal, with the bulls reaching 2.5–3.3 m in length and weighing up to 300 kg; the cows are much smaller, typically 1.6–2.0 m long and 100–150 kg weight. It differs from the Common Seal by its straight head profile with nostrils that are well apart, and fewer spots on its body. The body is streamlined to allow easy swimming and both the fore and hind limbs have been modified into flippers used to propel the seal through the water. These seals, whilst quite large, are very well adapted to swimming and the marine environment. They have a lifespan of between 26 and 38 years old.