Physical Sciences

A Laser Game Controller for the Cambridge Science Festival

James Macdonald describes designing a system to control video games with lasers. Each year over 1000 visitors pass through the main doors of the Institute for Manufacturing for the Cambridge Science Festival; around 300 laser-engineers-of‑the-future make it into the laboratories of the Centre for Industrial Photonics.  Among the many exhibits was the laser video game controller developed by the MRes Ultra Precision CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) students. In this

Ambling in the Arctic: a geological expedition in remote Greenland

Victoria Honour discusses Arctic camping, bear alarms, and the solidification of magma on her recent expedition to the Skaergaard intrusion True wilderness is hard to find in today’s globalised world. But with a population of only 70,000 people, and a landmass nine times the size of the UK, Greenland remains relatively untouched by human activity. Fieldwork there is a blissful escapism from the 24/7 connectivity of everyday life. Location, location,

Marie Curie, 150 years on

First woman to be a professor at a French University; first to receive a Nobel Prize; only recipient of two Science Nobel Prizes. Her name used for prestigious research grants, her portrait on medals and currencies. Someone who, because she was a woman, was denied a higher education in her home country; forbidden to give lectures in prestigious institutions; considered an “assistant” in the very research she initiated and led;

A Look Behind the Ice Sheet: The Polar Museum's Greenland Exhibit

Uummannaq: A Century of Exploration BlueSci takes an inside look at The Polar Museum’s recent exhibition The Polar Museum, on Cambridge’s Lensfield Road, is currently showing an exhibition on the town of Uumannaq, Greenland and the research being carried out by the attached Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) on the surrounding glaciers. BlueSci correspondent Seán Herron was lucky enough to receive a tour of the exhibition from Tom Chudley, one

Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Detection of Gravitational Waves

Theo Steele explores the science behind this year’s Nobel Prize In general relativity, spacetime is treated as a geometric surface.  This surface is capable of warping and bending, and gravity can be thought of as the result of curvature which alters trajectories.  Gravitational waves are distortions in this surface that propagate as a wave and transport energy as gravitational radiation. The possibility that waves of gravitational radiation might exist has

Cambridge’s Latest Nobel Prize

Max Wilkinson explores the science behind this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry At the core of all life on earth is chemistry: from the way DNA is built and read to the way the proteins it encodes make a cell tick. The best way to truly understand this chemistry is to directly visualise the atoms of life. This is commonly achieved by X-ray crystallography, where biomolecules are purified and forced

What if We Touched Mars?

Patrick Lundgren reflects on the scientific and moral implications of humanity’s dream of space exploration coming true. Humans have always been captivated by the beautiful bright speckles of light scattered across the night sky and the prospect of exploring these unknown worlds beyond ours. erefore, it is not surprising that the sciences pertaining to outer space (astronomy and its derivatives astrophysics, astrochemistry, astrogeology, and astrobiology) have successfully appealed to a wide

Lord Martin Rees: the Future and Catastrophe

Lord Martin Rees is a former Master of Trinity College and an accomplished cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995, and was President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. Lord Rees spoke to Gabija Maršalkaite and Deyan Mihaylov. Cambridge is a good place to convene experts who can try to decide which threats can be dismissed as science fiction and which are worth thinking about. There is

Shakes and the City

Seán Thór Herron talks to Dr Emily So about preparing for earthquakes in urban areas At a quarter to three on Friday, 11th March 2011, as the citizens of the Honshu island of Japan were looking forward to the weekend, tectonic stresses caused a massive slip on the ocean floor off the East coast. The sea floor jerked as much as ten metres upward and fiftymetres horizontally. The rupture length

The Last Lunar Explorer: An interview with Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon

Jackson Howarth (from LUUSci at the University of Leeds) chats with Gene Cernan This article is cross-published from LUUSci, the Leeds University Union student science magazine (originally published March 6, 2017). It is appearing on BlueSci’s website as part of a new initiative to form a UK-wide network of university science magazines. Membership is growing, and currently includes BlueSci (University of Cambridge), LUUSci (University of Leeds), {react} (Newcastle University), Kinesis (UCL), and