Monumental science

It’s not commonly known that the Monument in London was constructed not only to commemorate the great fire, but also as a scientific laboratory. Two of the great scientists of the day, Hooke and Newton performed experiments in basic physics and materials science.
Yesterday evening, some physicists, myself included from Queen Mary University visited with the intention of performing the first experiment at the monument in several hundred years.

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We were successful!
The real science will start once we’ve made the equipment modifications needed for easier operation in the basement lab of the monument.
More to follow as it happens.

Touching Mars

The Natural History Museum in London is one of my favourite places in the world, so it was wonderful to spend two days there last week at a conference on X-raying stuff.
On the last day there was a presentation by Dr Caroline Smith on Martian meteorites. She spoke on how X-ray imaging allowed the detection of voids and inclusions in the meteorites, possibly sampling ambient conditions on Mars at the time the meteor was ejected from the planet.
As part of her talk she handed around a small piece of a Martian meteorite.
I got to hold a piece of Mars!

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Back in the Netherlands

Long time no post again. Spent much of recent time getting on with work and neglecting websites and fun projects.
A long weekend away has me back in the Netherlands; Rotterdam and Leiden to be exact.
There are real contrasts between the two cities, Rotterdam is very new; hardly any building in the center is more than a couple of decades old.
Leiden it’s a fine old university town, fantastic museums, beer and ice cream. The treasures of the university archive exhibit at the museum had several books over one thousand years old. To see a book that old is a bit of a shock, you’re used to stone tablets and similar off great age, not books.

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Not 1000 years old, but beautiful