Doodle Science - September 2012

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

Dune du Pilat
It's a sand dune, the biggest in Europe I think, just south of Bordeaux in France.
The Dune of Pyla is enormous (notice the people on the right) and as I found out, very popular, at least in the summer when large numbers of people from all over Europe, and further afield (I got interviewed by an Ecuadorian who was videoing everything) climb the 108m to the top. The sunset is a French must see experience. Funny how it makes the pines behind look like a rain forest.
Great Dates in Sci and Tech for September.
1st 1859 ~ A solar superstorm affects electrical telegraph service, if it happened today satellite TV and phones could fail.
4th 1956 ~ The IBM RAMAC 305 is introduced, the first commercial computer that used a magnetic storage disk
7th 1927 ~ Philo Farnsworth makes the first fully electronic TV system
8th 1930 ~ 3M begins marketing transparent tape, the Cellotape age begins
10th 2008 ~ The Large Hadron Collider at CERN is powered up, still no black holes
14th 1752 ~ The British Empire adopts the Gregorian Calendar, going from the 2nd of September to the 14th overnight.
18th 1984 ~ Joe Kittinger (who also holds the highest parachute jump record) completes the first solo balloon crossing of the Atlantic
20th 1633 ~ Galileo is tried before the Inquisition for teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun
23rd 1846 ~ Neptune is discovered by Le Verrier and Adams and verified by Galle
27th 1905 ~ Einstein published E= mc²
28th 1928 ~ Fleming notices the bacterial killing mould that becomes known as penicillin
30th 2004 ~ First pictures of a giant squid in its natural habitat are taken in the Pacific
Something to try.
Make your own little world.
Get a clean jam jar or clear flask of some sort, the 1 litre size is good and ones with narrow necks dry out the slowest. Then either fill it with rain water or put in a little plant compost and dampen and then leave it on the window sill.
Life will colonise it.
With rain water filled ones there will tiny creatures, mostly copepods swimming about and eating the algae in under a month.
With compost ones mosses will come in and turn the surface green. Then, apart from occasionally topping up the water, just leave it alone and look at occasionally.
Amazing, just like watching the life coming on to the land, all those years ago.
I have some I set up years ago and I have also just set up some new ones. I tend to keep mine in shady spots - north facing windowsills are ideal.
Health and safety:
Don't drink the water or eat the compost and glass can be sharp if you break it. A round flask filled with water can act as a magnifying glass and set light to things if left in the sun - honest this has happened.

If you have not seen Jerry the Dog go to Youtube Something interesting at and the The Open University For some free ideas