August 29, 2014
11 cheap gifts guaranteed to impress science geeks
Amazon has some awesome Science related products that any Science Geek in you know will love to have. Here are some of the more affordable gifts that are guaranteed to tickle the fancy of the science geek.
Aerogel was first created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid in “jellies” with gas without causing shrinkage.
Aerogels are produced by extracting the liquid component of a gel through supercritical drying. This allows the liquid to be slowly dried off without causing the solid matrix in the gel to collapse from capillary action, as would happen with conventional evaporation. The first aerogels were produced from silica gels. Kistler’s later work involved aerogels based on alumina, chromia and tin dioxide. Carbon aerogels were first developed in the late 1980s.
The EcoSphere and “Original Ecosphere” are trademark names for sealed blown-glass miniature aquaria produced by Ecosphere Associates, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona, United States. Spherical or ovoid, the aquaria range from roughly baseball-size to soccer-ball-size. They are sold worldwide as scientific novelties and decorative objects.
The EcoSphere’s main visual appeal is provided by tiny red-pink shrimp, Halocaridina rubra, between 1/4 and 3/8 inch (or approximately a centimeter) in length. The shrimp swim energetically around the aquarium, eat the brown bacterial and algal scum on the glass, consume the filamentous green algae which sometimes forms a globular pillow in the water, and perch on a fragment of soft coral.
The main conceptual interest of these objects lies in the fact that they are materially closed ecological systems which are self-sustaining over a period of years. At room temperature, and with only low inputs of light, the algae produce oxygen which supports the shrimp and bacteria. Bacteria break down the shrimps’ wastes. The breakdown products provide nutrients to the algae and bacteria upon which the shrimp feed. The manufacturer states that shrimp live in the EcoSphere for an average of 2 to 3 years, and are known to live over 10 years.
Mars Rock (Martian meteorite)
A Martian meteorite is a rock that formed on the planet Mars, was ejected from Mars by the impact of an asteroid or comet, and landed on the Earth. Of over 61,000 meteorites that have been found on Earth, 120 were identified as Martian (as of May 21, 2013). These meteorites are thought to be from Mars because they have elemental and isotopic compositions that are similar to rocks and atmosphere gases analyzed by spacecraft on Mars.
The term does not refer to meteorites found on Mars, such as Heat Shield Rock.
On January 3, 2013, NASA reported that a meteorite, named NWA 7034 (nicknamed “Black Beauty”), found in 2011 in the Sahara desert, was determined to be from Mars and found to contain ten times the water of other Mars meteorites found on Earth. The meteorite was determined to have formed 2.1 billion years ago during the Amazonian geologic period on Mars.
We have some recommended reading for those Mars rock fans The Rock from Mars: A Detective on Two Planets
A gömböc or gomboc (/ˈɡɒmbɒk/; Hungarian: [ˈɡømbøts]) is a convex three-dimensionalhomogeneous body which, when resting on a flat surface, has just one stable and one unstable point of equilibrium. Its existence was conjectured by Russian mathematician Vladimir Arnold in 1995 and proven in 2006 by Hungarian scientists Gábor Domokos and Péter Várkonyi. The gömböc shape is not unique; it has countless varieties, most of which are very close to a sphere and all have very strict shape tolerance (about 0.1 mm per 10 cm). The most famous solution has a sharpened top and is shown on the right. Its shape helped to explain the body structure of some turtles in relation to their ability to return to equilibrium position after being placed upside down. Copies of gömböc have been donated to institutions and museums, and the biggest one was presented at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.
Book Recommendation: What’s Happening in the Mathematical Sciences by Dana MacKenzie (Feb 2011)
Violet Laser Pointer
This is a new colour to recently be made available on the Laser Pointer market, retailing at about $10 for a little toy handheld but you can buy the bigger more powerful 500mw 200mw 100mw 50mw UV Violet Laser pointer of Razor Series
The Razor series is warnlaser.com’s new series of violet lasers. The power is supplied by two AAA batteries /500mW with CR123A and uses the newest micro-electronics technology. It has the most unique color out of all our other products. warnlaser.com engineers these laser’s power up to 500mW. The Razor series uses a genuine Sony Blue-Ray diode. The beam has a rather unearthly glow, which makes it a very unique color. Compared to similar laser pointers from other companies, the special price of $299.99 cannot be beaten.
Gallium is a chemical element with symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Elemental gallium does not occur in nature, but as the gallium(III) compounds that are in trace amounts in zinc ores and in bauxite. Gallium is a soft silvery metal, and elemental gallium is a brittle solid at low temperatures. If it is held in the human hand long enough, gallium will melt, since it melts at the temperature of about 29.76 °C (85.57 °F) (slightly aboveroom temperature). The melting point of gallium is used as a temperature reference point. The alloy galinstan(68.5% gallium, 21.5% indium, and 10% tin) has the even lower melting point of −19 °C (−2 °F), well below the freezing point of water. Beginning with its discovery in 1875 through the era of semiconductors, gallium was used primarily as an agent to make alloys that melt at low temperatures. Then, gallium became useful in semiconductors, including as a dopant.
Today, nearly all gallium is used in electronics. Gallium arsenide, the primary chemical compound of gallium in electronics, is used in microwave circuits, high-speed switching circuits, and infrared circuits. Gallium nitride and indium gallium nitride, minority semiconductor uses, produce blue and violet light-emitting diodes(LEDs) and diode lasers.
Synsepalum dulcificum, also known as the miracle fruit, is a plant with a berry that, when eaten, causes sourfoods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet. This effect is due to miraculin, which is used commercially as a sugar substitute. Common names for this species and its berry include miracle fruit, miracle berry, miraculous berry, sweet berry, and in West Africa, where the species originates, agbayun, taami, asaa, and ledidi.
The berry itself has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang. It contains a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).
In mathematics, the Klein bottle /ˈklaɪn/ is an example of a non-orientable surface; informally, it is a surface (a two-dimensional manifold) in which notions of left and right cannot be consistently defined. Other related non-orientable objects include the Möbius strip and the real projective plane. Whereas a Möbius strip is asurface with boundary, a Klein bottle has no boundary (for comparison, a sphere is an orientable surface with no boundary).
The Klein bottle was first described in 1882 by the German mathematician Felix Klein. It may have been originally named the Kleinsche Fläche (“Klein surface”) and that this was incorrectly interpreted as Kleinsche Flasche (“Klein bottle”), which ultimately led to the adoption of this term in the German language as well.
Most folks never realize how cute microbes can be when expanded 1,000,000 times and then fashioned into cuddly plush. Until now, that is. Keep one on your desktop to remind yourself that there is an “invisible” universe out there filled with very small things that can do incredible damage to much bigger things. Then go and wash your hands. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Go and Buy $9.99 – $19.99
A ferrofluid (portmanteau of ferromagnetic, and fluid) is a liquid which becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.
Ferrofluids are colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, or ferrimagnetic, particles suspended in a carrier fluid (usually an organic solvent or water). Each tiny particle is thoroughly coated with a surfactant to inhibit clumping. Large ferromagnetic particles can be ripped out of the homogeneous colloidal mixture, forming a separate clump of magnetic dust when exposed to strong magnetic fields. The magnetic attraction of nanoparticles is weak enough that the surfactant’s Van der Waals force is sufficient to prevent magnetic clumping or agglomeration. Ferrofluids usually do not retainmagnetization in the absence of an externally applied field and thus are often classified as “superparamagnets” rather than ferromagnets.
The difference between ferrofluids and magnetorheological fluids (MR fluids) is the size of the particles. The particles in a ferrofluid primarily consist of nanoparticles which aresuspended by Brownian motion and generally will not settle under normal conditions. MR fluid particles primarily consist of micrometre-scale particles which are too heavy for Brownian motion to keep them suspended, and thus will settle over time because of the inherent density difference between the particle and its carrier fluid. These two fluids have very different applications as a result.
Ferrofluids are found in everything from speakers to hard drives, but it’s much more fun to play with when when you’ve got a puddle of it naked and out in the open.