Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Video: How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries

by Salman Hameed

Enjoy this TED talk!

And as a bonus you also get a clip from Cosmos about Eratosthenes and his calculation of the circumference of the Earth:


Gary said...

Loved both videos. It was the ability to do science with such simple tools shown in my childhood science books that stirred my interest in science and keeps it going today. There is still much good solid science that can be done with the most basic of equipment.

Ali said...

Salam, Gary.

"There is still much good solid science that can be done with the most basic of equipment."

Loved the graphic animation on the TED Talk.

As an aside,
Did anyone notice that Adam Savage and Sagan mentioned two different cities.
Savage said it is Swete. Sagan said it is Syene.
Which one is correct?

Gary said...

Salaams Ali

Carl Sagan was right the city was Syene.

When I was a child I built my own weather station using basic household items and instructons in children's science books.

I also started my own mineral collection and did basic physical and chemical tests to identify different minerals.

At about the age of 10 I was turned on to dinosaurs. That was 50 years ago before they were fashionable. I also started my own fossil collection which I still have to this day.

Later I took on formal study in Palaeontology including a masters degree. Admittedly I used a scanning electron microscope for some of the research but the rest of it was done with little more than a geological hammer, some acid and some modified diamond saws and grinders.

I did use a basic dissecting style microscope for a lot of the owrk and most of my photos were taken with a film camera equipped with a macro lens and extension bellows. I did virtually all my own processing using a uni darkroom and occasionally a primitive home built set-up and it was useful original research.

Gary said...

Oh and I also built a Tesla coil and assembled some basic hobby electronics kits including building a power supply for the coil using a car ignition coil. The capacitor was made for sheets of picture frame glass and alfoil. Just recently I did a clean-up in my garage and discovered my old slide rule still in good condition in its original case complete with the instruction book and a page of formulae used to calculate the size of the plates I would need for the capacitor. I impressed my stepson by doing some reasonably complex trig calculations using the slide rule. Something he had never seen in his years at school

Ali said...

Sounds interesting, Gary.
I thought few will be interested in doing science using 'basic' stuff.

Puzzled said...

Gary, since you say you are a palaeontologist ....
Do we have enough evidence to prove that evolution occured as an unguided process?
Do we have enough evidence to prove human beings evolved from ape-like ancestors?