In the land where the stars twinkle

Triffid_nebula_salt

Picture of the Trifid Nebula, taken by SALT

Situated close to the small town of Sutherland in the middle of the Karoo is a plateau covered in telescopes. Looking from afar, it almost appears to be a mummy telescope and her babies, since one of the telescopes is significantly bigger than the rest. This telescope is SALT – the Southern African Large Telescope, and at 11m across, it is the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. Continue reading

Advertisements

Art, spring flowers, and the discovery of a blue halo

cropped-spring_flowers2-e1509695270205.jpg

I have a sketch book, or as it was marketed, a visual journal. I think I prefer the name visual journal – each picture was something I chose to draw, not something that was put in front of me as in art class, and each picture has an added dimension of having a memory attached to it. And, as it turns out, sometimes a picture will end up having some form of scientific relevance too, as happened with my picture of spring flowers. Continue reading

Through the looking glass

800px-Chirality_with_handsHave you ever stopped to think about parallel universes? Let’s suspend reality for a bit. You look into your mirror. “Who’s the fairest of them all?” (Oh wait, wrong fairy tale!) As you lift your right hand, your reflection lifts its left. But right-handed you goes about your life, whereas left-handed you only exists through the looking glass. It turns out that nature is the same – and scientists are starting to come up with ways to access the world through the looking glass. Continue reading

Time to get a second skin?

cropped-mit-second-skin-1-press.jpg

Photo: Melanie Gonick/MIT

So we’ve all heard about “having a thick skin” in the context of criticism, but what about a second skin? Scientists at MIT have recently engineered a silicon-based second skin with the aim of restoring biomechanical integrity in aging skin. In plain English – less wrinkles. Sorry beauty infomercials; this one really does work in just a couple of hours! It also offers some other exciting possibilities. Continue reading

Plastic-eating bacteria

cropped-plastic_beach_in_sharm_el-naga03.jpg

By Vberger (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So my first actual science post – pressure, pressure! Well, actually, I’m not all that big into Physics, so maybe we’ll skip the pressure topic for now, and talk about the environment instead… Global warming and all that. And more interestingly for me – bacteria that eat plastic! Continue reading