Friday, 28 May 2010

A Feast of Quarks

Well here's a gourmet buffet of video and pictures about quarks - all posted today.

First our main video for Sixty Symbols, in which Professor Roger Bowley actually eats a quark!!!

Next, I've posted some extra material to Test Tube which I often do for those people who want more science.

It's stuff not used the main film, including Professor Ed Copeland's story of the day he met Murray Gell-Mann (the man who named quarks).

And last but not least, regular Sixty Symbols viewers may know that I like posting physics scribbles from the project at our Sixty Symbols Flickr site.

Professor Copeland was kind enough to "donate" his revision notes which he made before filming the quarks video.

I wouldn't call them scribbles though. They're incredibly neat.

You can click on the image to see more of his notes.

The Professor didn't use the notes during filming, he says he just made them because it helps him remember stuff.

Oak-related hate mail?

Tomorrow is May 29 - or Oak Apple Day!

In a video I posted a few days ago one of the Test Tube scientists suggests (tongue in cheek, I don't know?) that it should replace St George's Day as England's national day.

He makes a compelling case.

The University of Nottingham even issued a short press release about the suggestion, thinking some media may find it quirky and intersting.

However my favourite response so far has been a bit of "hate mail" sent directly to Markus (the scientist in the video).

It begins: "Thank you so much for attempting to interfere with our national customs and traditions. I am sure that the aboriginal people of England are as grateful as nay other aboriginals for such concern to change their culture."

And so it continued...

Markus is a good sport and I think he found it almost fun to receive such an impassioned message.

I don't know if he has replied? Maybe he was just glad it was an email so no trees were harmed!

More form Markus on trees at

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Secrets of Trees

I've started a new short series within Test Tube all about trees.

Links to all the videos will be posted at

The videos feature ecologist Dr Markus Eichhorn and I've found he's quite good and discussing a mixture of things - the science, history and trivia of each species.

The first video we've posted is this one about elms.

Next week is a really good one about oak trees, so watch out for that.

We went out earlier this week and filmed about 10 types of tree and I found them all quite fascinating.

Good ways to follow the series is subscribe to the nottinghamscience YouTube channel or follow me on Twitter.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Rigel's Top Five

A short while back we featured a top five periodic videos list from a young fan named Eddie.

Today we're following up with a top five from his mum, Rigel. She can be found on Twitter at RigelK or YouTube as pepsibookcat


Rigel says: "Molecular Christmas Tree!!! Absolutely worthy of squeeeeeeeally, excited sounds!!! This video is sweet, fun, geeky, and charming. I smile every time I watch it. Warm, fuzzy science. Geek bliss."


Rigel says: "Well, the sodium video really has it all, doesn't it? Pete and Neil getting up to explosive mischief, the Professor being utterly adorable and clever, splatter on the camera, and lots of mad scientist giggles!"


Rigel says: "I enjoyed the field trip and learned a lot from the Professor's explanation of cyclotrons. Physics usually gives me a headache, but this video educates in a very soothing and practical way. I also enjoyed the Professor's historical commentary (especially the part about profound discovery with simple equipment) and personal insights. The Professor is so very precious. This video has really stuck with me for some unknown reason."


Rigel says: "This one is so chocked full of information! It is one of the meatier Periodic Videos - full of excellent demonstrations and explanations. The oxygen video, along with the silver video, are good examples of the way y'all can take a seemingly common topic and lure people into chemistry by handling the topic in an uncommonly intriguing way."


Rigel says: "I knew nothing about bismuth prior to your videos beyond what I could deduce based on its position on the Periodic Table, and it has now become one of my favorite elements to learn more about. The Professor, Debbie, and Pete brought me pleasure and curiosity with this video."

And to remind yourself which five videos were picked by Rigel's son Eddie, you can click here.

Monday, 10 May 2010

It is Finished

Tonight I 'finished' a big project which I've been working on for the past six months... It's called Bibledex.

The mission was to make a video about all 66 book of the Bible and the last one, Revelation, was finished just a few hours ago.

The Revelation film is one of my favourites and includes filming done in Israel, dealing Armageddon and the famed number 666!

The idea of Bibledex was to be "not religious" and just give people a pretty straight but fascinating insight into each book.

The videos are all nicely laid out at the Bibledex homepage.

But to mark the end of the project, I've also created this epic playlist which shows all 66 videos back-to-back! (The little arrows at the sides of the player let you skip between films)

I don't what is next for the project?

In some ways I feel like having finished all 66 book is just the beginning... But for now I'm happy to have a rest (oh, and continue work on my chemistry, physics, science and arts projects).

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Sixty Symbols Solar System

This week I finished the Sixty Symbols film about the planet Earth.

This means I've now done a film about all eight planets, plus the Sun and Pluto.

I marked the occasion with a new page on the Sixty Symbols website which I'm really pleased with, so do check it out!

I've also created this YouTube playlist, which shows all ten videos in order!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Top Five from Brazil

It's time for another Periodic Table of Videos top five.

This selection comes from Professor Luis Brudna, in Brazil.

Luis is a great friend of our project because he has translated more than 100 of our videos in Portuguese.

Here are the five films he likes best, with short comments on each.


Luis says: "In Brazil, Cesium has a bad reputation in order of a terrible radiological accident involving Cesium-137, this video is a chance to remember that Cesium can be ‘just’ an alkaline metal, still dangerous, but appreciable."


Luis says: "Aluminum - I dedicated a lot of time working with aluminum and it is still in my memory as a lovely metal."


Luis says: "Because I love the internet, laser, trips and safety glasses!"


Luis says: "Hydrogen - a classic of the periodic table."


Luis says: "It is impressive the amount of chemistry and history that may be told from a simple candle. And we still have the chance to remember Michael Faraday."

Many thanks to Luis for his top five!