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The long hunt for new objects in our expanding solar system

Posted February 4, 2016 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Alice Gorman, Flinders University Recognise these planet names: Vulcan, Neptune, Pluto, Nemesis, Tyche and Planet X? They all have one thing in common: their existence was predicted to account for unexplained phenomena in our solar system. While the predictions of Neptune and Pluto proved correct, Nemesis and Tyche probably […]

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Introduction Here I will be arguing that comets were not instrumental in the emergence of modern astronomy in the 17th century. This view, most notably propounded by Kuhn and Hellman , where observations of comets were of paramount importance in ushering in a post-Newtonian modern astronomy by the end of the 17th century. Heidarzadeh posits […]

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Teleology in nature and culture

Posted March 6, 2015 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Introduction In 1859 Charles Darwin published his now famous On the Origin of Species , which provided, a well researched and reasoned naturalistic explanation of species evolution through ‘natural selection’. In introducing natural selection did Darwin enable us to dispense totally with teleological explanations for purpose and design in biology? In this essay I will […]

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In 1864 James Clerk Maxwell published his essay, A dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field[1], which contained what are now known as Maxwell’s equations: the four basic equations of the electromagnetic field[2]. In doing so he bought to a satisfactory pause an intense period of experiment and theorizing on the nature of electricity and magnetism. […]

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How curiosity became transformed

Posted March 2, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Curiosity; seen as a hazard to society in the classical world, early Christianity condemned it as a sin, and now, in the modern world, it is seen as an essential part of human nature. Somewhere between the late 1500s and 1700s attitudes in Europe changed. The change, according to Phillip Ball in Curiosity, was gradual […]

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Just on 30 years ago I came across an intriguing book, the then relatively unknown Gaia: A new look at life on Earth (OUP 1979) by an ‘independent scientist’, J.E. Lovelock. My earliest impression of it may seem surprising to many people now. I was infuriated. I was infuriated not by Lovelock’s hypothesis per se, […]

            

Ahead of his time: the genius of Nikola Tesla

Posted February 2, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

There is a dominant theme in the life of Nikola Tesla. His undoubted genius. Tesla pioneered, if not invented; AC motors, AC power generation and transmission, high voltage generation (Tesla coil), wireless transmission of power and information, radio controlled boats, cold discharge fluorescent lighting, and the ‘death-ray’. It also meant that he was ahead of […]

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NASA’s Curiosity shows there’s more to life than life

Posted December 13, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne and Helen Maynard-Casely, Australian Synchrotron The Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, driven around, started its scientific mission and, as of 4am today (AEDT), started reporting integrated science results. In a news conference at the American Geophysical Union NASA’s Curiosity mission team presented a measured, low-key and hype-free discussion […]

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The (nuclear) alchemists of Darmstadt and the doubly magic tin-100 nucleus

Posted September 19, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

An international group of researchers announced in the journal Nature that they had succeeded in creating tin-100.   This experiment helps us understand how heavy elements have formed.  A few minutes after the Big Bang the universe contained no other elements than the lightest; hydrogen and helium. We, the objects around us, the Earth and the […]

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There is no doubt in the mind of Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, the future will be shaped by science technology, engineering and mathematics.  Unfortunately, he finds that at present the standing of science, as an expert authority, is being challenged.  Furthermore, Ian Chubb finds that the science message is getting lost in the […]

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How much does antimatter weigh?

Posted March 19, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

A pulse of particles speeds into the vacuum chamber.  Positrons, 20,000,000 antimatter particles, clumped in a pulse one nanosecond deep.  Like a silent, angry swarm they are targeted into a porous silica target.  The positrons are confined by a magnetic field, increasing their interaction with the silica.  Some attract electrons and synthesize into positronium, a […]

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