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The Curious Minds Science Blog

  • Some Genes Remain Active After Death

    genes active after death The discovery that some genes continue to express themselves after death is fascinating

    Scientists have discovered that some genes remain active after death of the human body. The story is a fascinating one and well worth a read here. From the perspective of forensic science the discovery of actively functioning genes, post death, is a significant development in aiding the accurate timing of a death. Currently the time of death is estimated based on various rigors and analysis of liver temperature and eye fluids. The margin for error in all cases is broad, meaning current methods can only be used to give a broad time of death. If the activity of genes post death can be classified accurately, it means that an accurate time of death can be established.

    Apart from the obvious implications for forensic analysis, I find it fascinating to realise that some genes continue to function for a significant period of time after we die; a little bit of us insists on living on. It makes me smile.

  • 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.

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