Notions and nerdgasms

Who’s who?
Image drawn by Lucy Wyatt

A week ago, I’d never been to a science festival. I’d never been A Journalist. I didn’t know anything at all about physics and I certainly couldn’t tell you what dark matter is supposed to be, or how spacetime works. I’d never seriously considered artificial intelligence as viable. I knew that mathematics is used to solve crime because I’ve seen it on Numb3rs, but it hadn’t occurred to me how useful the same algorithms are for analysing the social network of the world. I knew a fair bit about evolutionary biology, and the concept of island biogeography, but I didn’t know how a physicist would approach them. Continue reading

Science is the new Rock & Roll

Brian Cox

Lucy will be hunting down Professor Brian Cox at the Festival this year

It’s summer time. Birds are singing, trees are swaying, swathes of students everywhere are working, panicking, sitting resit examinations or enjoying their brief moments of respite before hitting the books again in September. Most of us are procrastinating.

I am trying desperately to think of a cool way to introduce myself to Professor Brian Cox. Perhaps a witty physics-related joke, or a novel way of inserting my field of study – biology – into something he’s talking about. Unlikely. I have to be prepared, though, just in case I run into him. Continue reading

How the zebra got its stripes

Have you ever noticed how regular nature can be; that there are patterns hidden everywhere? Sea shells have a nice spiral pattern, trees show subtle fractal patterns, and some plants have their petals arranged in a very specific way. But some patterns are a lot more obvious. Take the zebra for example, the black-and-white striped cousin of the horse. Continue reading