e” – where Finance meets Science

Many of you would know I am  a trained accountant.  Most would not know that my original training was in science and engineering.  It’s that aspect of my life the I would like to write about now.

All of you would however be familiar with the concept of interest rates.  A nightly topic on the news, interest rates determine how much spare cash we have after the mortgage payment.  And the total mortgage paid is a simple calculation.  To save time, I’m going to skip the math…  but the formula is:

FV = PV(1+r)^t

Where:

FV = Future value

PV = Present Value

r  =  Interest Rate

t  = time

its the formula for calculating the total amount you pay – and, (just like me), its not very sexy!

The Cool Thing though, is if you have a greedy banker!!

Continue reading

Whatever your problem, its likely graphene can fix it.

(Or how to win a Nobel Prize using only sticky-tape).

Graphene is a form of Carbon and is derived from graphite.  Scientist have long suspected that Graphene possessed amazing qualities.  And although they knew that graphite consisted of stacks of “graphene sheets”,  most thought it impossible to retrieve a single sheet.

That was until two physicists at Manchester University began playing with sticky-tape and graphite.  In 2004 Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov simply adhered sticky-tape to a block of graphite and removed it.  What they discovered was amazing.  And they won a Nobel prize for their efforts.

Graphene, carbon and sticky tape

Micro-flakes of graphene.  Incredibly thin with the Carbon atoms arranged in a perfect honeycomb pattern.

Fun Facts about Graphene

  1. One sheet of Graphene is just one atom thick.  A sheet the size of a football field would weigh less than a gram.
  2. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and harder than diamond.
  3. It would take three million sheets to make a stack 1mm high.
  4. A sheet one atom thick is sturdy enough to be picked up
  5. It conducts electricity better than copper or silicon.

It can be bent, folded or rolled.  It is so strong that Colombia University estimates it would take a pressure equivalent to an elephant balanced on a pencil to break through a layer of graphene as thick as plastic food rap.

Graphene

The possible applications are mind boggling.  Aircraft parts, flexible mobile phones, smaller and faster computer chips, desalination filters, biofuels and powerful long-life batteries that can be charged very quickly.

It is even suggested that graphene could be used to regenerate nerves in damaged limbs.

It seems whatever the problem, the solution is Graphene Baby!

What problems might it solve for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is sooo cool.   A total solar eclipse is due on the 8th of march.  The moon will pass in front of the Sun at 6pm AEST and a total eclipse will move north east through Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Borneo.

At its widest the shadow will be 156Km wide and total darkness will last between 90 seconds and 4 minutes.  (Plenty of time to cast your sacrificial virgin into the volcano!!)

Parts of Northern Australia will experience a partial eclipse.  However you can experience the event Live via the following link.  View Eclipse Live.

Also Solar Dynamics will post live images as the event takes place.   Solar Dynamics  is a really cool NASA site and I suggest you check it out anyway.

 

04_Solar-Eclipse

 

 

The Moon and modern satellite technology

The Moon – the Earth’s first satellite

The subject of countless poems and love songs the moon is the Earths first ever satellite.  And our first satellite is still our most beautiful and powerful.  Rolling tides, and shaping weather across the globe the moon sustains life. However it is man-made satellites that are of interest here……

Showing phases of the moon
The Moon – Earth’s first satellite – Phases

 

The Great Sir Isaac Newton was the first to suggest the possibility of a man-made object launched into orbit around the Earth.  I.E.  A satellite.  (Click Link for Live Newton 3 Hot Fire – Wow! )

Isaac Newton orbits and optics
Sir Isaac Newton

It stands as testimony to his genius.  

I mean, how many of us are hit on the head by an apple and invent the satellite??

This blog category will encapsulate both the history and the modern applications of satellite technology.  Right from Newton through to the latest launches and the “Commercial” Space Race.

Check out “Spot the station“, for your location!  (dates and times for the International Space Station to fly over your part part of the world! ) – Let us know how you go!