2018-09-29 (When I’m 64)

Today, I learned that:

Once more, I woke up this morning with a tune in my head. And this time it was presented by the Beatles, and they dedicated it to me! Watch and listen to reference # 1 below.

Another extremely skilful Englishwoman is the amateur golf player Ali Gibbs. On 2018-08-17, she defended her club champion title at Croham Hurst Golf Club, South of London, with brilliance. In one of the 18-hole rounds, she hit two hole-in-ones, and in the other round yet another hole-in-one. (She had already scored three hole-in-one shots before in her career, on three earlier, distinct occasions).

Ali Gibbs

Ali Gibbs showing the three lucky balls. Photo by Simon Jacobs/Magnus News

The probability of an average golfer scoring a hole-in-one once in their life is calculated to be 1 : 12 500, for a professional to 1 : 2 500, but to hit three in only 36 holes is more than 1 : 1,9 trillion! Read more in reference # 2 below.

London, UK, River Thames

And while we are still in the London area, why not visit the capital. The photo above shows a beautiful bird’s eye view of River Thames and the Tower Bridge. London has already hosted the Olympic Summer Games on three occasions, in 1908, 1948, and 2012. More about those events can be found in references #3, #4, and #5 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: When I’m 64

2: 1.9 Trillion to one – Golfer Ali defies the odds to sink three holes-in-one in a day

3: 1908 Summer Olympics

4: 1948 Summer Olympics

5: 2012 Summer Olympics

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-22 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

I woke up early this morning and when I was just about to make a move in Wordfeud, I noticed that there was a chat message waiting for me, “… a lot of mischief in Brussels”. So I tuned in to Radio Sweden P1 and heard all about the monstrosities that were happening there.

Twin Towers

I took this picture from the Empire State Building of the Manhattan skyline on 1994-09-18, when the Twin Towers were still the landmarks. 7 years later they did not exist any more!

It reminded me of other similar events which had happened during the last decade (London, Madrid, Paris,…), but most of all the “9/11” airplane crashes in New York. So I looked up the photo you can see above, which I took on 1994-09-18. You may remember that on 2016-02-07, I published a photo from an NFL-game in Atlanta, which I had taken one week earlier. I was there for product training at the Philips office, and after having concluded training Claudeir, Michael and I flew to New York, from where we would make other visits on the East Coast of USA the following week. So when I took that photo from the top of the Empire State Building, of course I remembered how the Twin Towers stood out in the horizon. Seven years later they did not exist!

And of course I also remember very well what happened on 2001-09-11. I was in a meeting in my office, when our secretary told us the news about the nightmare in New York. And on that very same morning, a Philips sales man landed in São Paulo for an important meeting later in the week. He took a taxi directly from the airport to the hotel, where he rested for some hours without knowing about what had happened earlier in the US. So I broke the news to him over the phone, he called his parents in Chicago, who gave him first-hand information about the calamity in their country. Due to the shutdown of the airports all over USA, his flight back on Friday evening was cancelled, but he was lucky enough to fly out on the following Monday evening.

But, in the midst of all these dark memories, today I also heard an illuminative piece of news. It was delivered by Scientific American about researchers at Harvard who have developed a material that can go from clear to opaque in a second, when an electric field is applied. Imagine that when you want to sleep without being bothered, you do not have draw any curtain or Venetian blind, no you just press a button and the windows in your bed room stops any voyeurs from peeking in. And then in the morning, in order to see the Sun in all its beauty, you just press the button again, while saying “Let there be light!”

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Smart Glass Goes from Clear to Cloudy in a Jolt

2: Electrically tunable window device

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-12 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

This year has only just started, but what a fantastic year for science it seems to be! My first blog post was on January 9, and since then I have already had the pleasure of presenting four new materials, the first flower grown in space, a possible ninth planet, etc.

And yesterday was the announcement of the discovery of the gravitational waves that Albert Einstein already predicted 100 years ago. I suggest that you listen to today’s podcast from Scientific American, see reference 2 below, where the co-founder of one of the teams that made the discovery, Kip Thorne, is interviewed. It was the confirmation of the crash of two black holes into each other that happened 1,3 billion years ago.

gwaves

NASA researchers simulated the gravitational waves that would be produced when two black holes merged. Photo by NASA/C. Henze

Updated 2016-02-13: Today’s edition of Radio National’s Sciene Show is a testamonial by David Blair about what really happened on September 14, 2015, when the first gravitional waves were detected in Livingston, Louisiana. See and listen to reference 3 below.

LIGO

The Advanced LIGO detector in Livingston Louisiana. Photo by LIGO

Today is also the day that we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first penicillin treatment. Although Alexander Fleming had made the discovery in his London laboratory already in 1928, it was a team of scientists in Oxford that made the first drug out of the penicillin fungus. The first time it was tested on a real patient was exactly on February 12, 1941, to save the life of a heavily infected local policeman. They found that the drug had miraculous effects on him and so the scientists were really desperate when the small doses of penicillin they had were out after 10 days of use. They even tried to recover the drug from the poor patient’s urine, but the quantities were too small to have real effect and he eventually died after one month. But it led to that Alexander Fleming, who had not given his discovery too much thought before, started to reassess his feat. He was then awarded with the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1945, sharing the prize with two members of the Oxford team, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain.

I suggest you listen to the podcast in reference 3 below. It is a program from the Science Editors at Radio Sweden, and although the whole program is in Swedish, there are some interviews in English included, the last one from BBC in 1945, when Alexander Fleming was afraid that people would start to use the penicillin for automedication, but in too low doses to have the desired effect. He also forecasted that one day the bacteriae would be resistant to penicillin, which we now can see as a fact.

Finally, this leads me into asking you if you know from where and why the word ‘vaccin’ is derived? It is from the Latin word ‘vacca’ which means cow. In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner used antibodies from cowpox to vaccinate against smallpox. Then in 1881, Louis Pasteur suggested the use of the term ‘vaccine’ in honour of Jenner’s findings. In 1980, the World Health Organization announced the first eradication of a disease, namely the smallpox.

… That’s what I learned in school!

Refs.:

1: The Detection of Gravitational Waves Is a Triumph for Physics

2: Gravitational Waves Found: Kip Thorne Explains

3: Gravitational waves to allow new observations of the universe

4: 75 år sedan första behandlingen med penicillin

5: Penicillin

6: Vaccine

+: What did you learn in school today ?