Monthly Archives: February 2011

What more do you want? A knighthood?

Michael Barton blogged recently about a document that annoyed me to distraction when I first saw it. It’s a Yahoo Answers conversation about why Charles Darwin didn’t get a knighthood. Notwithstanding that nobody cites a whit of evidence for anything, … Continue reading


The Empty Building

Is this the history of astronomy exhibition “From Babylon to Einstein”? Yes But it’s an empty building!

Posted in Humour? | Leave a comment

What are science museums for?

There has of late been a lot of attention focused on one small corner of the Science Museum of London. Not, sadly, the Science in the 18th Century Gallery I mentioned in a previous post but an exhibit within the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Museums | Tagged , , , | 79 Comments

On the seventh day…

The history of science masterpieces that you create will appear in just seven days on the next edition of the Giants’ Shoulders Blog Carnival, which will be hosted by the immaculate Dr SkySkull at Skulls in the Stars on 16th February. … Continue reading

Posted in Giants' Shoulders | 1 Comment

Rehabilitating Nevil Maskelyne

Today is the bicentenary of the death of the fifth Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne. He is best known as the villain of Dava Sobel’s Longitude. This depiction is unfair, as is this book’s suggestion that astronomical and chronometric solutions to the problem … Continue reading

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The Layers of Earth

Single philosophers and scholars already in antiquity noted and philosophized about layers found in some outcrops of rocks. Recognizing fossils as remains of once living sea creatures, some of the Greek philosophers hypothesised that the conformation of land and sea … Continue reading

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What is systematics and what is taxonomy?

Over the past few years there have been increasing numbers of calls for governments to properly fund systematics and taxonomy (and a number of largely molecular-focused biologists insisting they can do the requisite tasks with magic molecule detectors, so don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Biology, Epistemology, Evolution, General Science, History, Philosophy | 1 Comment

A Second Earth, Cosmonauts, and a Podcast

If you thought the proposals for a one-way trip to Mars were bizarre, what about proposals to terraform Mars – to turn it into a second Earth? More science fiction than fact? Perhaps. But the Canadian Terraforming Society has a … Continue reading

Posted in astronomy, Science, Space Exploration | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Hands-on science

Visitors to the Science Museum are often either delighted or slightly bemused by the contrasts provided by its exhibits. The oldest gallery, containing delightfully old-fashioned dioramas of agricultural machinery at work, faces one of the newer, on plastics. Both the topics … Continue reading

Posted in History, Science | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

The astrology wars and abandoned scientific research programmes

My two pence worth…

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