Archive for November, 2018

More Science Beards of Note

Posted in Beards, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2018 by telescoper

Following yesterdays post in response to the news that the Bank of England has released a list of names of the scientists who have been nominated to appear on the new £50 note, I have collected a few more great beards of British science.

If you recall, Beard Liberation Front spokesperson Keith Flett has argued on his blog for Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) who is indeed a worthy candidate, being both a very distinguished scientist and the possessor of a splendid beard:

However, it must be pointed out that Kelvin was just one of many distinguished British scientists to have been hirsute, especially in the Victorian Era. Two that spring immediately to mind are James Prescott Joule (after whom the SI unit of energy is named):

There is also of course James Clerk Maxwell, who formulated the classical theory of electromagnetism:

I posted those three yesterday, but here are some extras.

First, from an older era, there is John Napier (1550-1617) the mathematician and astronomer perhaps most famous for inventing logarithms:

Next is Joseph Swan, noted for the development of the incandescent light bulb who, incidentally, was born in Sunderland (which is in the Midlands).

Then there is engineer, mathematician and physicist Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Lodge is best known for his work on the development of radio communications:

Another well-known hirsute scientist inventor is Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell, whose strongest association is with the first working telephone system.

Here’s physicist, chemist and physical chemist William Crookes:

And finally in this batch there is astronomer and mathematician John Couch Adams who did not grow a beard until relatively late in life, but whose facial hair definitely deserves recognition:

Anyway, please keep them coming! You can submit other candidates through the comments box. If you include a link to a picture I will update and include in this post. Note, however, that to be eligible the person must: (a) be a scientist; (b) be British; (c) be dead; and (d) not have been on a banknote before. For example, Charles Darwin has previously been on the tenner so he is ruled out and many other famous beards in science are ruled out by virtue of not being British.

It’s World Aids Day Tomorrow…

Posted in LGBT with tags on November 30, 2018 by telescoper

Just a reminder that tomorrow is World Aids Day 2018, so make sure you get your ribbon!

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Science Beards of Note

Posted in Beards, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on November 29, 2018 by telescoper

So the Bank of England has released a list of names of the scientists who have been nominated to appear on the new £50 note. In response to this, Beard Liberation Front spokesperson Keith Flett has argued on his blog for Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) who is indeed a worthy candidate, being both a very distinguished scientist and the possessor of a splendid beard:

However, it must be pointed out that Kelvin was just one of many distinguished British scientists to have been hirsute, especially in the Victorian Era. Two that spring immediately to mind are James Prescott Joule (after whom the SI unit of energy is named):

There is also of course James Clerk Maxwell, who formulated the classical theory of electromagnetism:

Anyway, please submit other candidates through the comments box. If you include a link to a picture I will update and include in this post. Note, however, that to be eligible the person must: (a) be a scientist; (b) be British; (c) be dead; and (d) not have been on a banknote before. For example, Charles Darwin has previously been on the tenner so he is ruled out and many other famous beards in science are ruled out by virtue of not being British.

Are lectures dying out?

Posted in Education on November 29, 2018 by telescoper

Here’s a blog post from an academic (in Engineering) at Dublin City University.

I have thought similar things from time to time. I enjoy lecturing – mainly because I like talking about physics and astrophysics – but I am unsure of how much they add to the students’ education. In fact, when I was a student, I think I learned relatively little from attending lectures (although I still have most of my undergraduate notes). For me the real learning came from working through problems. For that reason I tend to keep the content of my lectures relatively light on detail, but use tutorials and worked examples a lot.

As it happens, I’m about to do this term’s teaching evaluations. I’m giving the two modules I’m teaching this semester for the first time. I’m looking forward to finding out what the students think so I can improve things next year. Even if the response is positive there are always things you can do better.

An Irish Blog about Education

There’s a small lecture theatre beside my office that holds about 40 students. I regularly pass it and peep in to see what’s going on. Originally I did it out of nosiness but these days I’m interested in attendance rates.

Most of the time when I look in there is a handful of students looking bored or knackered, with quite a few looking at their phones. In fairness, the lectures seem a bit dull and often involve a scientist or mathematician writing on the blackboard with his/her back to the students.

I’ve also noticed that it’s much easier this year to find a car parking space. I’m usually in before 8am but even on days when I’m not in until 10am or so, I rarely have trouble finding a place. This was not true just a few years ago.

And now, when I have a 9am lecture, I tell the…

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Where Government Ministers Come From..

Posted in Politics on November 28, 2018 by telescoper

A Book of Note

Posted in Literature with tags , on November 28, 2018 by telescoper

I’ve been too busy today to do a proper blog, but I did pop out at lunchtime to buy the above book (for the princely sum of €3). I can’t believe I haven’t read it before now, but I am definitely looking forward to it and will be making a start at the weekend!

 

 

Plan S for Open Access: Guidance and Feedback

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by telescoper

Those of you interested in the topic of Open Access Publishing, and Open Science generally, will no doubt already have heard of `Plan S’. For those that haven’t it is a proposal by 11 European Nations to give the public free access to publicly funded science. The 11 countries involved in this initiative are: France, Italy, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK. Together, these nations compise `cOAlition S’ – the `OA’ is for `Open Access’ – to carry out the plan, which can be found here.

Here is a summary:

I have blogged about this and some of the reactions to it before (e.g. here and here).

I’m writing today, however, to pass on an important piece of news, which is that comprehensive technical guidance on how to comply with Plan S has now been issued by Coalition S, where. you can also submit feedback on the guidance.

I’ve got quite a busy day teaching today and have so far only just skimmed the guidance. At first sight it looks a lot more flexible than some people feared. Comments are welcome belo.

My main preoccupation will, however, be to ensure that the Open Journal of Astrophysics can be made compliant (if it isn’t already)..