The Silver Swan is an automaton dating from the 18th Century and is housed in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England which was acquired by John Bowes, the museum's founder from a Parisian jeweler in 1872. The life size swan is a clockwork driven device that includes a music box and sits in a "stream" that is made of glass rods and is surrounded by silver leaves. Small silver fish can be seen "swimming" in the stream which adds a remarkable effect to the overall realness of time.
You’re probably familiar with the TV or movie plot device where a character is conked on the head, loses memory or identity and then gets conked again and memory is restored. Classic examples are in the 1951 Tom and Jerry Cartoon Nit-Witty Kitty and the movie “Clean Slate.”
While the Nobel Prizes are 115 years old, rewards for scientific achievement have been around much longer. As early as the 17th century, at the very origins of modern experimental science, promoters of science realized the need for some system of recognition and reward that would provide incentive for advances in the field.
Before the prize, it was the gift that reigned in science. Precursors to modern scientists – the early astronomers, philosophers, physicians, alchemists and engineers – offered wonderful achievements, discoveries, inventions and works of literature or art as gifts to powerful patrons, often royalty. Authors prefaced their publications with extravagant letters of dedication; they might, or they might not, be rewarded with a gift in return. Many of these practitioners worked outside of academe; even those who enjoyed a modest academic salary lacked today’s large institutional funders, beyond the Catholic Church. Gifts from patrons offered a crucial means of support, yet they came with many strings attached.
Like sending sensors up into a hurricane, NASA has flown four spacecraft through an invisible maelstrom in space, called magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is one of the prime drivers of space radiation and so it is a key factor in the quest to learn more about our space environment and protect our spacecraft and astronauts as we explore farther and farther from Earth.
From C60 to the Buckminster fullerene, our world is still being mined for its secrets which lie hidden behind one of nature's most plentiful elements. The "Buckyball" or C60 is a cage molecule with a similar pattern to a soccer ball and forms an entirely new form of carbon which stands separate from diamond and graphene. Discovered not long ago in 1996 by accident, the dynamic pattern was named after Buckminster Fuller who was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, and popularized the widely known geodesic dome.
Italian chemistry student Emanuele Fornasier also has a knack for photography and spent the last few months documenting the formation of crystals. The result is Crystal Birth, a timelapse of some 18 examples of electrocrystallization, where an electric current is run through a chemical solution, causing metal deposits to form over a period of several hours or days. You can see more of his chemistry and timelapse work on his website.
This stunning timelapse footage from the new Planet Earth II series on BBC One captures a wide variety of unusual fungi as it blooms at night. The clip is from the latest Jungles episode (UK only) and includes a few specimens that were shot for the very first time by Steve Axford. Unfortunately, watching Planet Earth II anywhere outside the UK legally is almost impossible until early next year, so you’ll have to hang tight for the whole episode.
"In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend. A legend held dearly by the Royal Family that tells of a boy... A boy who, after battling evil and saving Hyrule, crept away from the land that had made him a legend... Done with the battles he once waged across time, he embarked on a journey. A secret and personal journey... A journey in search of a beloved and invaluable friend... A friend with whom he parted ways when he finally fulfilled his heroic destiny and took his place among legends..."
The media coverage of the terrorist atrocities of Friday November 13 in Paris would seem to promote an almost mythical image of the Islamic State (ISIS). What humanity needs, however, is to demystify ISIS as a criminal organization. And that need is particularly important in my community – the Muslim community.