Doodle Science - June 2012

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

Cactuses, or is it cacti, I'm never sure and my dictionary says either is ok. Strangely enough I have quite a few of these plants and generally they often have massive flowers for the size of the thing that makes it. Why? Well there are two reasons, one is the natural, in any area a whole species will come into flower at the same time and since the pollinators are in limited supply the plants battle it out, pretty vicious competition, especially as they are fighting with flowers. This has produced a selection pressure that ends up making huge flowers to get the bugs attention. Secondly, gardeners and succulent fanciers come along and go "That one has bigger blooms I'll grow that".

Great Dates in Sci and Tech for June

1st 1846 ~ Le Verrier predicts the existence and location of Neptune from looking a irregularities of the orbit of Uranus.
3rd 1769 ~ On Tahiti James Cook observes the transit of Venus. This was one of the "Big Science " events of its time and was able to provide information that allowed the calculation of the size of the solar system.
5th 1683 ~ The first university museum opens as the Ashmolean opens its doors.
5th of June 2012 ~ The Transit of Venus, it will pass in front of the Sun, if you don't catch it this time you will have to wait 2117. There is loads on the web so take a look
15th 763 BC ~ Solar eclipse in Mesopotamia is recorded and provides and anchor for chronology and calendars
18th 1858 ~ Darwin gets a letter from Wallace detailing natural selection, he finally gets on with publishing "On the Origin of Species"
21st every year. ~ Mid summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night in the northern hemisphere.
23rd 2006 ~ A tortoise possibly collected by Darwin dies. Harriet was about 175 years old.
26th 1948 ~ Shockley filed the patent for the transistor, almost all electronics we use today dates back to this.
30th 1905 ~ Einstein published the first work on Special Relativity
Something to try
Rock Cakes.
Cakes, biscuits and such are fantastic for modelling rocks, from how the layers are formed, to how baking changes the characteristics for the material. You can even see how structure affects the properties. Which is harder to squash, a sponge cake or one with fruit in it? Honestly the more I think about it the more fun I think could be had and the more learnt. And of course there is the potential to eat them too. I'm making myself hungry
Health and safety
Cooking can involve hot things and eating too many cakes will cause weight gain
Web site well worth a visit
is the Scale of the Universe and have a look at the 60 Second Science Ideas for inspiration.