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The Curious Minds Science Blog

  • The Perfect Gift For Geeks and Science Lovers

    Christmas is coming and the stress is mounting, what are you going to gift to the mad crazy geeky science-enthusiast in your life? Well, read on, because we have the Perfect Gift For Geeks and Science Lovers. Continue reading

  • About Chemistry Sets

    chemistry set is a small collection of chemicals and associated scientific apparatus, typically glass or plastic ware, designed for the user to perform experiments or demonstrations in the science of chemistry.

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  • The Magic Of Witches, Broomsticks & Fly Agaric Mushroom

    It is almost Halloween and as if to remind me, the grass outside my home is littered with beautiful red 'toadstools' and while I've been interested in fungi for more than quarter of a century, I still find myself wowed by the stunning size and beauty of the Fly Agaric (Aminata muscaria) mushroom with it's deep scarlet red cap, studded with tiny raised pieces of white, the remains of the fleshy cover that protects the growing mushroom.

    Continue reading

  • How do I help my child enjoy chemistry?

    Chemistry is a great subject because it can be taught in a stimulating and exciting manner. We can get our hands dirty, enjoy weird and wonderful reactions and be amazed by awe inspiring experiments. The best thing about it is that you are having fun, your kids are having fun and you are both learning about the wonders of chemistry. Continue reading

  • Hero's Spectacular Steam Turbine

    Almost two thousand years before the world entered the industrial era, Hero, a Greek inventor, invented the Steam Engine! Continue reading

  • The Beautiful Science Of Radiometers

    A Radiometer is a device used for measuring the power of electromagnetic radiation. Usually a radiometer is an infrared radiation detector or ultraviolet detector. The first radiometer was developed by Sir William Crookes as a by-product of his chemical research in 1873 (so quite a while ago).
  • The Wonderful World Of Dice

    Dice are useful little devices used for generating random numbers, shake the dice and roll, there you have your randomised numbers, assuming of course the dice aren’t loaded. A typical dice today is a cube shape, usually with softened edges and dots etched and painted on each side. The opposing faces will always add up to seven, so for example; three will face four, one will face six, two will face five.
  • Interview with a Scientist: Andrew Hamilton

    We start off our new series of interviews with real scientists by catching up with Andrew Hamilton, a researcher at Glasgow University. Continue reading

  • Scientists to map Britain's 'Atlantis'

    AN amazing scientific collaboration which aims to map Britain's 'lost Atlantis'.
    The curious minds of the University of Bradford archaelogists, computer scientists and molecular biologists are joining forces to develop a three dimensional map of Doggerland, the land mass which once joined Britain to Europe and which now lies under the North Sea. And to do so they have received a €2.5 million Advanced Research Grant from the European Research Council.

    The work proposed will enable scientists to digitally reconstruct Doggerland which was about the size of Iceland and which disappeared after the last Ice Age around 7,500 years ago.
    Using modern genetics and computing technologies researchers will digitally bring Doggerland back to life, monitoring its development over 5,000 years to reveal much about how our ancestors made the critical move from hunter-gathering into farming.
    “The only populated lands on earth that have not yet been explored in any depth are those which have been lost underneath the sea,” says Professor Vince Gaffney, Anniversary Chair in Landscape Archaeology at the University of Bradford.
    He continued: “Although archaeologists have known for a long time that ancient climatic change and sea level rise must mean that Doggerland holds unique and important information about early human life in Europe, until now we have lacked the tools to investigate this area properly.”
    The team will be using the vast remote sensing data sets generated by energy companies to reconstruct the past landscape now covered by the sea.
    This will help to produce a detailed 3D map that will show rivers, lakes, hills and coastlines in a country which had previously been a heartland of human occupation in Europe but was lost to the sea as a consequence of past climate change, melting ice caps and rising sea levels.
    Alongside this work, specialist survey ships will recover core sediment samples from selected areas of the landscape.
    The project team will use the sediments to extract millions of fragments of ancient DNA from plants and animals that occupied Europe’s ancient coastal plains.

  • Curious Minds and Brickstuff - a match made in LEGO

    At Curious Minds we are hard wired to get excited by a bright idea, but when our Gareth took a trip to the Chigago Toy and Game Fair last year even we were surprised by the level of his excitedness over some very small bits and bobs.

    But since then we have all become very animated by those little pieces of fabby tech known as Brickstuff and we are sure that AfoLs (Adult Fans of Lego) around Europe will be equally excited.
    And we are delighted to announce that our award winning online science shop, Curious Minds, has become the sole European retailer for the amazing Brickstuff lighting and automation system that adds brilliance to hobby building projects.

    Brickstuff, “born in the USA” is already a firm favourite with ®LEGO fans in Asia and all over America and looks set to take Europe by storm with the European launch through Curious Minds.
    Curious Minds owner Dr Wendy Hamilton said: “We are so excited to be working with Brickstuff to bring their inventive range of LED lights and effects to European customers.
    “We first met Brickstuff at the Chicago toy fair last year where Gareth Davies, our man at the show, was as excited as I've ever seen him about anything. It's finally here and on our shelves, in store and online at Curious minds.co.uk

    “We are delighted and can't wait to hear what the brick community is going to build!"
    And Brickstuff's inventor and “Chief Enthusiast” Rob Klingberg said: “We are very excited to have teamed up with Curious Minds to reach or fans in Europe and look forward to sharing our 'Small Lights for Big Ideas' with them.”

    He continued: “Brickstuff started in 2011 when my kids began building LEGO® modular buildings, and I noticed there were parts of the buildings that were intended to be lights (hanging lanterns, etc.) in real life, but that were not lit.

    “I looked around the web for makers of LEGO® lighting but all of them had wires that were too thick. I visited several fan conventions in 2011 and learned that many builders, while they created amazing creations with bricks, didn’t want to learn to solder or learn electronics.
    “I set out to create a system that worked together, where people could add amazing, lifelike effects to their work without needing to do any soldering or needing to know anything about electronics.”

    He added: “Since then business has continued to grow to the point that we shipped product to 34 countries in 2014. Customers have used our products for LEGO® builds, dollhouses, model trains, and a variety of other uses (the most creative of which may have been when a couple purchased some lights to use inside their motorcycle gear bags for use at night while on cross-country trips).”

    Brickstuff offers a range of around 50 products to its growing army of enthusiasts and Rob is always working on developing new ideas and new concepts and he explained the success of Brickstuff saying: “Compared to other, similar products on the market, our lights have two primary differences/advantages:
    “The first is that we use the thinnest wires on the market, which allow bricks to be snapped directly on top and wires to be hidden in walls and fully concealed, creating the most realistic-looking effects.

    “And the second is that Brickstuff has the ability to scale to hundreds of lights and effects in a single system. All of the other products on the market can scale to around 50 lights, but we are working with a model builder in Atlanta, Georgia, on a 300 square foot city he has built, using over 1,000 LEDs to light every aspect of the city, including buildings that are over 10 feet tall.”
    And he added a promise for the future: “We are intensely passionate about helping our customers succeed in all of their lighting and automation plans. We constantly solicit customer feedback and use it to drive continuous improvement.

    “We work directly with many of the leading LEGO® builders worldwide, including several LEGO® Master Builders, and will be making an increased commitment to creating documentation, high-quality online content, and books focused on lighting for LEGO® builders in the coming year.”
    The full Brickstuff range can be found at www.curiousminds.co.uk or on the shelves at Grasshopper Toys Ltd, 112 West Princes Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, G84 8XD.
    Some Brickstuff kits contain LEGO® parts and/or elements. LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not manufacture, sponsor, authorize or endorse any Brickstuff product or service.

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