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Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge University

The Art of Drawing Science…

Horse Anatomy
From: Anatomia del cavallo, infermità e suoi rimedi by Carlo Ruini, Published in Venice, 1618.

Many more lovely lessons at Scientific Illustration.

As we sharpen our pencils, we might wish a feathery farewell to zoologist Alfred Newton; he died on this date in 1907.  One of the foremost ornithologists of his day, he was appointed (in 1866) the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at Cambridge University. Though he suffered from injured hip joints and walked with the aid of two sticks, he traveled throughout Lapland, Iceland, the West Indies, and North America 1854-63.  During these expeditions he became particularly interested in the great auk– and was instrumental in having the first Acts of Parliament passed for the protection of birds.  He wrote extensively, including a four-volume Dictionary of Birds, and the articles on Ornithology in several 19th century editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

source

 

Life begins at 65 (or so)…

Meet Ted Wilson.

I’m an artist, musician and good friend and widower. I started drawing at a young age because my dad did it and I got really good. All the other kids in school always liked my drawings of Dick Tracy and Krazy Kat, so I stuck with it. When I was 15 I got a job as a ghost artist for the syndicated strip “Kingsley Masterson and his Pirateens.” Then, after high school I started my own strip called “Jungle Hustle”. I plan to put some pictures of it up here some time soon.

I gave up being an artist when I met my now deceased wife Rosie because she thought it was childish. Instead, I got a job as an accountant and worked for over 40 years at Rockville Insura-best, Inc. I retired soon after Rosie died because i didn’t need as much money anymore.

Now I’m a musician in a fun band called the Ryan Montbleau Band.

Ted is also a journalist, a reviewer of…  well, everything.

In each week’s edition of The Rumpus (an online zine your correspondent heartily recommends), Ted tackles an aspect of existence…  This week, he gave 3 out of 5 stars to “Forest Fires.”

… There are benefits to forest fires even to those not responsible. For instance, a recently contained forest fire is a great source of freshly cooked meat. Free meat is important in today’s economic climate. Not only can one find all the regular woodland creatures, but there is also the possibility for less legal and culturally unacceptable meats. I like to keep a picnic set in the trunk of my car, ready at a moment’s notice.

On the downside, the loss of all those trees might mean hundreds of pieces of Ikea furniture the world will never be able to assemble and enjoy temporarily before discarding on a sidewalk or giving away through Craigslist to someone else who will eventually discard it on a sidewalk.

It’s also a sad time for people who live near the fire and are forced to evacuate their homes. But at least it causes them to really evaluate what’s important in their lives by reducing their belongings to the essentials. It’s a great way to purge.

While forest fires can be bad, they’re not nearly the dire experiences Smokey the Bear makes them out to be.

Next week he’ll be reviewing Garth Brooks.

And while at The Rumpus, Dear Readers, do check out the resident cartoonists, among them the delightful Lucas Adams

As we look again at the elderly gentleman in the seat next to ours, we might recall that it was on this date in 1829 that the first Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge was rowed. (Oxford won).

The tradition began with two friends: Charles Merivale, a student at Cambridge, and his Harrow schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth), who was at Oxford.  Merivale and Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford –and so the practice was born which has continued to the present day, by which the loser of the previous year’s race challenges the opposition to a re-match.

The first Boat Race took place at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire; contemporary newspapers report that a crowd of twenty thousand traveled to watch.  Shortly thereafter, the race was moved to Putney, where it has become an annual tradition.  But the first fixture was such a resounding success that the people of Henley later decided to organize a regatta of their own, the event now known as the Henley Royal Regatta.

The Boat Race

For now we see through a glass, darkly…

A computer simulation shows how invisible dark matter coalesces in halos (shown in yellow). Photograph: Science Photo Library, via The Guardian

For all the bright clutter of the night sky, the stars and planets that we see are only about 4% of what’s there.  The balance, scientists believe, is dark matter– an invisible substance that plays a critical role in existence via the gravitational force that it exerts.  The Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky postulated dark matter in 1933, when he noticed that a distant cluster of galaxies would fall apart were it not for the extra gravitational pull of some mysterious unseen mass in space.  Since then, astronomers and cosmologists have wrestled with the idea– and with the challenge of verifying dark matter’s existence.

Now, The Guardian reports, that challenge may have been met:

In a series of coordinated announcements at several US laboratories, researchers said they believed they had captured dark matter in a defunct iron ore mine half a mile underground. The claim, if confirmed next year, will rank as one the most spectacular discoveries in physics in the past century.

Tantalising glimpses of dark matter particles were picked up by highly sensitive detectors at the bottom of the Soudan mine in Minnesota, the scientists said.

Dan Bauer, head of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), said the group had spotted two particles with all the expected characteristics of dark matter…

“If they have a real signal, it’s a seriously big deal. The scale on which people are looking for dark matter is vast,” said Gerry Gilmore at Cambridge University’s institute of astronomy. “Dark matter is what created the structure of the universe and is essentially what holds it together. When ordinary matter falls into lumps of dark matter it turns into galaxies, stars, planets and people. Without it, we wouldn’t be here,” Gilmore said…

Read the whole extraordinary story here.

As we slip off our shades, we might it was on this date in 1879 that Thomas Edison first privately demonstrated incandescent lighting at his laboratory in Menlo Park (or “the other Menlo Park,” as it’s known out here in your correspondent’s neck of the woods…)

Illustration from Edison’s patent application

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