Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nigel Henbest on why science is important

"Trying to understand the world around is, I believe, hard-wired into human nature. And “science” is just that process of understanding. Yes, you can interpret nature in terms of gods and demons. But, sooner or later, you are likely to move on. The mind is finely tuned to pick out patterns in the world around us; and once you have the leisure - as the Greek middle classes did in the first few centuries BC - you begin to see how the world is set out on rational principles"

Read it here.

Humm. Hopefully those of us who don't have quite as much leisure as the Greek middle classes can begin to see the rational principles as well?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From Photosynthesis to Fuel: The Next Generation of Ethanol

..article on our supercomputing efforts...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Art of Science

Mad Micelle

Robert Renthal '67 (faculty), Derek Mendez (undergraduate), Liao Chen (faculty)Department of Biology, University of Texas at San Antonio

"To understand the forces involved in the assembly of cell membranes, we pull membrane proteins apart. We embedded a red blood cell protein, glycophorin, in a cluster of detergent molecules called a micelle. Using the computer technique of molecular dynamics simulation, we grabbed glycophorin and pulled it apart. When we displayed the molecular surface of the micelle with the protein shown in outline form, the micelle seemed to be glaring back at us, perhaps giving us a view, at an emotional level, of the forces that hold membranes together."

See more here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Top Ph.D. Programs Shrinking

...due to plummeting endowments?

Quote from the article: "Generally, the recession has made colleges and universities want to keep undergraduate or professional school enrollments level, or even to increase them. But doctoral education at elite universities operates on a very different economic model. Students are almost always fully supported, so they don't bring tuition dollars with them. And while states provide some support to public universities for graduate education, private universities are more likely to be footing the full bill."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Liquid Mercury

Anish Kapoor's110-ton outdoor sculpture called "Cloud Gate". Set in Millennium Park, Chicago, it is made of sheets of highly polished stainless steel, and is inspired by a droplet of liquid mercury. The sculpture reflects the Chicago skyline, the clouds and sky above with the "gate" being the arch underneath. Read more about mercury in the environment in our Science Focus Area.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Inspired to Quickly Write a Short Poem: Norwich City's relegation today.

Also posted it on the football poets' site: 'Swapping shirts with Shakespeare".


Out with the rust, the has-beens! Torrid reckoning now is due,
Green and Yellow still their colours, but both indicate anew,
A lack of chops and lack of bones as they did lose and lose again,
To Reading, Forest, arch-foes Ipswich, and all else ‘till season’s end.
Long receding Bayern awe, and wins before the Spion Kop,
Kept us a throng for far too long as Norwich slithered to the drop.
‘League One’ nomenclatura: take no heed of false bravura,
As Sunday May the Third sends City Reeling to the Third!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Shift in Simulation Superiority

New report highlights strengths and weaknesses in U.S. high-end computer simulations relative to international counterparts.

Crunch match at The Valley

..against Charlton on Sunday that could send my home town soccer club, Norwich City, down to the British Third Division for the first time in 40 years. A few thousand supporters like those above will travel to London for the final push.....