Tuesday 28 December 2010

Science Spotlight: Conclusion

Back in January I set myself a project entitled ‘Science Spotlight’ each month I depicted someone of scientific interest to me, from boffins to inventors some had achieved great success others less so. Presented in a simplistic style, reminiscent of traditional children’s education books and comics they also provided a brief biography, which I hoped would encourage readers to research further and learn more about their work and interesting lives. I have received positive feedback from the many visitors to this blog (in some cases from the subjects themselves!) and thank everyone dearly for taking the time to do so. As the project draws to a close I thought I would include all 12 on this thread for easy access. All comments are welcomed, please feel free to share your thoughts Happy New Year!

12/12 Lord William Penney
© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday 17 December 2010

'Science Spotlight’ 12/12 Lord William George Penney

The Rt Hon. Lord William George Penney, OM, KBE, MA, PHD, DSC, HONFCGI, FIC, FRS
A talent for mathematics gained Penney a scholarship to the Imperial College, London were He was awarded the Governor's Prize for Mathematics graduating with First Class Honours in 1929. After two years at the University of Wisconsin he returned to England and obtained a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 1935, returning to the Imperial College in 1936 as Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Being A specialist in the physics of hydrodynamic waves, he was enlisted by the Home Office and the Admiralty during World War II to assist in the design of the mulberry harbours used during the Normandy landings. As part of the British delegation he then worked at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project, observing the Trinity test detonation in 1945, the explosion on Nagasaki and assessing the damage after Japan’s surrender. He was appointed an OBE in 1946, When Britain required an atomic bomb to maintain its position in world politics, Penney was assigned the task. The first British nuclear device was successfully detonated off the West Coast of Australia in 1952 earning Penney a knighthood. In 1954 he served on the Board of the Atomic Energy Authority, becoming Chairman in 1964. He was appointed Lord Penney of East Hendred in 1967 and served as Rector of the Imperial College until 1973. The College built and named the William Penney Laboratory after him.

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Martian Christmas

December is here and so I have made a start on watching my favourite Christmas movies in the run up to the 25th starting with the 1964 classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Haven’t seen it? Your loss! At the risk of giving too much away the inhabitants of Mars grow concerned about their children’s future and decide to introduce fun into their lives by kidnapping Santa from Earth and introduce the concept of Christmas to Mars! And the plan must have worked because when I visited Mars back in December 2008 they had Christmas trees and decorations there… Ok you have me, I didn’t visit THAT Mars but Mars 2112 the themed restaurant and bar in the Times Square! Mars 2112 was brought to my attention when a Martian greeted me on the sidewalk, he made a zapping sound and presented me with a flyer that urged me to visit. Intrigued, I did just that but when my brother and I got there much like the red planet…it was uninhabited!
Ok, once again that wasn’t strictly true, there were a few people there, but they seemed to be attending a private function and there were no Martians on hand to show us to a table! First opened in 1998 Mars 2112 also had a "Space Arcade" and a "Mars Bar" but sadly no bartender! As we patiently waited for someone to show I had a look round, the place was impressive with a lovely attention to detail about it. I adore places like this (read about my visit to the Jekyll and Hyde pub here) but when it became obvious that nobody was going to take our order we decided to leave, a great shame as I had high expectations on going in. Here are the photographs taken during my exploration of Mars, you will note the Christmas d├ęcor previously mentioned, I was especially impressed with the Martian Christmas trees.

*Update* It seems that the restaurant closed in January 2012

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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