213034main kes 75 226For the last post I looked up Adam Riess’s website - he shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for co-discovering the remarkable fact that the rate of expansion of the universe is actually increasing. From that I followed a link to a page with a scan of the page in his logbook where he did the first simple calculation on the data his team had gathered. This was the calculation that first showed that the universe is expanding faster and faster.

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SupernovaThis is a quote from an email I got this morning. These are big claims, and sadly the email and website did not follow up on them. The webpage is rich in claims that others, e.g., Einstein, are wrong but poor in graphs, only one,  and very poor in equations, none at all.

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Every year our final-year MPhys students give short talks on what they did during their Research Years. The Research Year is around 11 months doing real leading edge research. All our MPhys students do this after 2½ taught years. After the Research Year they come back for a final ½ taught year, then graduate. This year we filmed some of the students, and Paddy Regan, the academic who runs it. The video is now on YouTube.

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OpalDoubletOver the years I have worked a fair amount on colloids. Colloids are just suspensions of small solid particles or liquid droplets in a liquid, often water. The particles or droplest are too small to be seen by the naked eye, typically around a thousandth of a millimetre across. Colloids are common. For example, milk is a colloid, it is tiny droplets of fat in water. Paints are another. Opals are produced by drying colloidal silica, and the beautiful colours are produced by light diffracted by the particles which form a crystal when the opal dries.  So I have read a fair number of scientific papers on opals, but that did not prepare me for the website of Purest Colloids.

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Hi, I’m Sarah, a fresher here at the University of Surrey and I must admit I’ve been rewriting this post quite a bit… I was asked to write about life as a first year undergraduate and as always, I’ve been suffering from writer’s block. Truth is; I don’t know how to say how much I love being here without being cheesy. I’m sure if you’re applying to us, and I strongly suggest you do, you’ve already seen the prospectus with all the smiling faces and statistics, but I remember how hard it is to really get a feel for what it’s like to live and study here.

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Wiki-idiotI don’t read many psychology research papers – maybe it is some sort of bias of natural scientists like me have against social scientists. But the classic paper by Dunning and Kruger, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessment, is just great.

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