Doodle Science -April 2011



Circulated to schools, organisations and individuals - covering primary science and related bits and bobs.

Venus's Mirror

It is an orchid.

A rather unusual one at that, a Venus's Mirror or Ophrys speculum.

The blue part is amazingly reflective.

I took this while on a well deserved break in Mallorca a week ago.

It is a wild species that lives only around the Med but there are similar ones that live in Britain, known as bee orchids.

The flower not only looks like a bee but it gives off the smell of a female bee as well and when a male of the right type comes to investigate, he, sadly (for him) does not find her.

Instead he gets pollen sacks glued to his back and eventually goes off to find a real one and often instead just finds another flower and pollinates that.

It turns out that in Britain the bee orchid is such a good mimic that the correct bee species seems to have died out.

A great place for natural history is Mallorca, not just for getting sun and sangria.

Great Dates in Sci and Tech for May
1st 1753 ~ Lineaus first publishes his Species Plantarum and so gets systematic naming of the natural world going.

2nd 1933 ~ First sighting of the Loch Ness monster. Did they or didn't they? One thing is for certain, nobody has caught it.

5th 1925 ~ John Scopes is arrested in Tennessee for teaching evolution.

17th 1902 ~ Spiridion Stais finds the Antikethyra mechanism.

24th 1849 ~ Morse transmits the first telegraph message from Baltimore to Washington.

29th 1919 ~ Arthur Eddington takes measurements of stars during an eclipse to test Einsteins theory of relativity.



Something to try.
Making a big noise

Making a string telephone is easy. Just get two paper or plastic cups, make a small hole in the bottom of each and thread the string through. Tie the string round a used match stick and pull tight, this works much better than using sticky tape. When the string is held taut you can talk down it to a friend a distance away and they can hear, but there is something much better you can do with only one cup and string. Hold the cup in one hand and pull the string so your thumb nail rubs down the string. Makes a pretty good noise but if you now get a piece of paper and get it wet and then run that down the string the noise is amazing.

Health and safety
Loud noises can damage ears. String can cause friction burns or worse.