How far away is a rainbow?

As a biologist, I am not an expert on rainbows, but I thought I knew how they work. A rainbow occurs when the sun is shining into rain, and each water droplet acts as a little spherical prism, splitting the sun’s white light into the colours of the rainbow in a process called refraction. The…

How not to get eaten by a shark

In our current Planet Shark exhibition there is an entire section on how not to get attacked by a shark. Apart from physical protection such as steel cages and chainmail suits it features a number of chemical repellants, none of which are very effective, apparently. (In one case that’s primarily because the repellant is enclosed…

Reflective Learning

Guest Post by Dr Tan Kok Siang, Lecturer at the National Institute of Education (NIE) In life, problems and crises do not present themselves at expected times (as in school examinations). There is also no fixed curriculum and no model answers to problems. However, we can prepare ourselves for such uncertain situations. One good way…

Experiments in 3D

The other day, after years of working with 3D images, I was surprised by a very basic phenomenon related to anaglyph images. I was walking through the ‘New Perspective on Mars’ exhibition with my red-and-blue glasses on, in search of a picture where adding the 3rd dimension to a flat image really makes a difference….

Time flies when you’re having fun – or does it?

“Time stretches if you keep busy.” That is the title of a recent article on the New Scientist website that caught my attention, because it seems to contradict the common notion that time appears to pass faster when you’re having fun (which I tend to equate with keeping busy, for some reason).  We would probably…