Holy Grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order

The world’s next energy revolution is probably no more than five or ten years away. Cutting-edge research into cheap and clean forms of electricity storage is moving so fast that we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country, let alone a nuclear white elephant such as Hinkley Point.

The US Energy Department is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the ‘Holy Grail’ of energy policy.…Read More


Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner launch $100m star voyage

In an unprecedented boost for interstellar travel, the Silicon Valley philanthropist Yuri Milner and the world’s most famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking have announced $100m (£70m) for research into a 20-year voyage to the nearest stars, at one fifth of the speed of light.

Breakthrough Starshot – the third Breakthrough initiative in the past four years – will test the knowhow and technologies necessary to send a featherweight robot spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri star system, at a distance of 4.37 light years: that is, 40,000,000,000,000 kilometres or 25 trillion miles.
Read more

Francis Crick Institute will be a purpose-built space for scientists

From the Daily Telegraph
Scientists of tomorrow will work together in inspired environments when the Francis Crick Institute opens in London next year

On the corner of Midland Road and Brill Place, a stone’s throw from London’s St Pancras station and the British Library, a building is rising that will help transform the way biomedical scientists work.
Built on a huge scale, the Francis Crick Institute, named after the British scientist who helped decode the structure of DNA, will house 1,200 scientists working in biomedical research when it opens at the end of 2015.
Many will be PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. Collaboration and communal brainstorming will define the way researchers work, an aspiration reflected in the design of the building, which will feature acres of glass, walkways, open-plan labs, shared facilities and communal spaces. It’s all a world away from the days when scientists worked in cramped laboratories, often on their own. Read more.

Telegraph STEM Awards

STEM Awards: your chance to win £25,000
If you’re an undergraduate STEM student at a UK university or college of higher education and you have a brilliant, original idea that would be beneficial to society, then this competition is for you.

Enter your brilliant idea for The Telegraph UK STEM Awards.
Focusing on one of five STEM sectors, you can set yourself a challenge that complements your field of study, or answer a set question for the expert judges’ analysis. Points will be awarded for innovation, financial viability and the idea’s benefit to society and the environment.
The overall winner, whether it’s an individual or a team, will receive £25,000 and a bespoke mentoring programme from a senior engineer within Babcock International Group. The award will be presented at a dedicated ceremony in London during Universities Week in June 2014.
Pick one of these five challenges
Choose the one that relates to your field of study

Checkout these great mathematics and science apps from Wolfram

Here are some great Apps developed by Wolfram makers of Mathematica

Calculus Course Assistant
Taking calculus? Then you need the Wolfram Calculus Course Assistant. This definitive app for calculus–from the world leader in math software–will help you work through your homework problems, ace your tests, and learn calculus concepts. Forget canned examples! The Wolfram Calculus Course Assistant solves your specific Calculus problems on the fly including step-by-step guidance for derivatives, integrals, and much more.

Wolfram Alpha
Remember the Star Trek computer? It’s finally happening–with Wolfram|Alpha. Building on 25 years of development led by Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram|Alpha has rapidly become the world’s definitive source for instant expert knowledge and computation.
Across thousands of domains–with more continually added–Wolfram|Alpha uses its vast collection of algorithms and data to compute answers and generate reports for you.

Multivariable Calculus App
Taking multivariable calculus? Then you need the Wolfram Multivariable Calculus Course Assistant. This definitive app for multivariable calculus—from the world leader in math software—will help you work through your homework problems, ace your tests, and learn calculus concepts. Forget canned examples! The Wolfram Multivariable Calculus Course Assistant solves your specific multivariable problems on the fly, providing step-by-step guidance for limits, derivatives, integrals, and much more.

Precalculus Course Assistant
Taking precalculus? Then you need the Wolfram Precalculus Course Assistant. This definitive app for precalculus—from the world leader in math software—will help you work through your homework problems, ace your tests, and learn calculus concepts. Forget canned examples! The Wolfram Precalculus Course Assistant solves your specific precalculus problems on the fly, including solving equations, vector arithmetic, statistics, and much more.
This app covers many topics applicable to precalculus and trigonometry.

Classthink – Website for IT Professionals in Education

ClassThink is a place for IT professionals working in education to share best practice and learn about the latest technology available to schools, colleges, and universities.

How We Got Started

ClassThink was started in January 2013 by Karl Rivers as a place to share the results of an iPad research project. As the site grew and more articles were posted the number of views reached beyond all expectations.

We now have contributions from many IT professionals across the world on topics such as iPad, Raspberry Pi, Windows, Android, BYOD, and more.

Book Recommendation: The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

Amazon review by By Nigel Seel (Wells, UK)
Susskind describes the decades-long battle between the quantum mechanics community and the general relativists as to whether information is lost when objects pass through the event horizon of a black hole and the hole eventually evaporates. According to Prof. Hawking and the GR community, as nothing can ever reappear from inside an event horizon, the information is indeed totally lost.

Review from Amazon
Susskind and Gerard ‘t Hooft begged to differ. Loss of information would violate the basic time-reversibility of QM: Hawking’s ideas would lead to universe-destroying phenomena (p. 23). Somehow, the information locked the wrong side of the event horizon must leak out via Hawking radiation. But how?

The resolution of this dilemma took many years of conjectures and refutations. Susskind takes us on a tour of entropy, holographic principles and physics at the Planck scale. And the adversarial plot keeps the reader turning the pages.

I am normally very dubious about popularisations. They proceed by raking up endless analogies which never quite fit together, so that by the end of the book, your mind is like that jig-saw puzzle you bought and could never fit together.

This book was never going to be the exception – the mathematics of quantum field theory, general relativity and string theory are just too arcane for popular culture concepts to cohere around. However, there are wonderful insights all the way through this book and we do end up learning something about the large scale map of the territory. Apparently even the experts find it hard to get the whole thing into one focus.