Doodle Science - June 2013

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

Something for the Summer Solstice on the 21st of June. The Heelstone from Stone Henge, on that morning if you can manage to find a place to stand in the center of the stone circle and the sky is clear the Sun will rise over this stone. There is a lot of debate about the name, Ift could be from Helios from the greek for Sun, or lots of other explanations but my daughter said the stomne looks like an Eels head poking up out of the ground.
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.
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 This 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.
The 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 ave to wait 2117. There is loads on the web so have a look.
Something to try. Catch Some Wild Yeast

I've been experimenting with wild yeasts, or to call it by a much less savoury name sour doughs.
All the yeasts we use for baking bread and other things were once wild and have been tamed but there are still plenty of these handy little fungi floating about. Leave a couple of grapes on a window sill for a couple of days and the yeasts will colonise the skins. Then add together equal weights of flour and water, I use 300g of each, and add the grapes in a suitable jar, it should not be air tight as when the yeasts get going they will make carbon dioxide. After a couple of days you should find that something is going on and there is a fruity smell. To keep the culture going you should remove half the mixture every few days and replace it, other wise the yeast will die having eaten all they can.
I have been making breads with my new little friends,
simply by adding half the mix to more flour and water and a pinch of salt,
you can add sugar if you like and then kneading it, leaving it to rise until it has doubled in size and kneading again,
rising again and bunging in the oven. This is how we made bread for millennia. You could try too,
it is up to you once you have done the risk assessment but I can tell you it makes interesting and normally very good bread.

Omni Magazine on line

Lots of lovely geology stuff