Category Archives: STEM

Professor Jocelyn Bell

It was a please to see Professor Bell interview on the BBC News. Made famous by her discover of Pulsars which she discovered while doing her PhD at Cambridge. Controversially though, it was her supervisor Professor Anthony Hewish who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for the work.

Professor Bell as defended the Nobel prizes institution by offering there were various reasons for this ranging from the risk Professor Hewish was making in announcing the discovery. Had it been wrong it would have reflected more badly on him than the then Ms Bell.

Also as Professor Bell puts it, the Nobel Prize committee would have seen students as unwanted dross (her words!). So the credit went to Prof Hewish not herself.

However as she has often said, she is not embittered by it. As she said if she were awarded the prize she would have got nothing else. Since she has received every other awarded and honour going. in fact i think its in line with what Prof Richard Feyman said when he was told he had been awarded the Nobel prize. He initially was going to decline it, until he told to do so would result in more publicity than if he accepted it.

Perhaps more controversially the fall out of Prof Bells award, Fred Hoyle argued with the committee saying he did not think he was right. It cost him his prize as well!

Mosaic of the Moon

In the media a lot of the time, they show a single picture that someone has taken of the Moon. Digital Cameras are pretty good at shooting the whole Moon in one picture. That is you take your shot and there it is in its entirety.

However, when you use a camera which will only show one part of the Moon at a time, it can be interesting as often we’re seeing parts of the Moon enlarged. However a nice excercise is to try to take multiple frames of the Moon.

What do i mean?

When you plug a webcamera into a laptop, it can take individual shots, but what its better at is taking short movies. in fact amateur astronomers use these to take images of the planets.

With the Moon, what we done in the past is, taken 1000 frames (you set the software to do this) capture a section of the Moon, then move to the next, getting reasonable overlap.

NOW, granted as a teacher or educator, this can be challenging without the right kit. So in light of this we have provided the images and the software to do it! How cool is that?

Files can be accessed here

You will also need the free Microsoft Image Composite Editor (Microsoft ICE) download here

If interested in actually doing this, you will need a webcam and free software called SharpCap download here

A nice little tutorial i did on it here