Tag archives: out and about
By Hamish Johnston at the 2013 CAP Congress in Montreal
Jean Barrette has one of the best jobs in the world as far as I am concerned. The retired nuclear physicist is curator of the McPherson Collection of physics instruments at McGill University here in Montreal.
This morning in the “History of Physics” session at the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Congress, Jean gave a talk that featured many of the beautiful experiments – lots of brass and polished hardwood – in the collection.
The collection was made possible by the Canadian physicist Anna McPherson, who left a sizeable sum to the university when she died in 1979.
One of the highlights of the talk was what is surely the first-ever medical X-ray, which was taken in 1896 just six months after X-rays were first discovered. Taken at McGill, it shows a bullet lodged in the leg of a shooting victim.
During his talk, Jean asked for help in identifying a mysterious piece of apparatus in the collection that so far he had not been able to identify. Jean is going to send me a picture and I’ll post it in an upcoming blog entry.
By Michael Banks
The first thing Kyung-Ho Shin, vice president of international affairs at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), passed me when we met in the lobby of my hotel today was an umbrella.
Today Seoul has had a very good watering, but after the recent warm weather the change could be seen as being welcome.
In the morning’s pouring rain, I visited KIST, which was created in 1966 to help commercialize basic research. The 2000 or so researchers based at KIST carry out work in areas from neuroscience and fuel cells to robotics and medicine.
By Michael Banks
Today I was traveling back from Pohang where I spent the weekend after an busy few days in Daejeon.
Daejeon is certainly an impressive place to do science, being home to no fewer than 60 research centres. Unfortunately, in the limited time I had I could only visit a couple, including the Korean Research Institute of Standards and Science and the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI).
By Matin Durrani
Day three for the Physics World editorial visit to South Korea saw news editor Michael Banks spend the day at the KSTAR fusion facility while I was at atomic-force microscope (AFM) manufacturer Park Systems in Suwon.
South Korea is, of course, a key player in fusion science, being a long-standing member of the ITER experiment being built in the south of France. But as Michael is now in the south of the country – in Pohang to be precise – I haven’t had full details of how his visit to KSTAR went. He did, however, e-mail me to say that he’d asked his contact at the lab whether they’d ever had any other visits from journalists. She said they hadn’t, but there was once this very famous scientist who had taken a tour of KSTAR – step forward none other than the physicist who’s on just about every UK TV science show at the moment: Brian Cox.
By Matin Durrani
Today was the first full day in South Korea for myself and Physics World news editor Michael Banks and it saw us head off by car from our hotel in downtown Daejeon to the massive science and technology zone in the north of the city. Home to more than 1000 research institutes, universities and start-ups, the zone is called Daedeok Innopolis; it’s a kind of putative Silicon Valley, if you like.
By Matin Durrani
Hello from South Korea, where I’m on a week-long tour with Physics World news editor Michael Banks. We’re here to visit a series of top physics institutes and research organizations in a trip that’s taken several months of careful planning to arrange.
There are three main reasons for coming here. The first is to gather material for a Physics World special report on physics in South Korea, which will be published in September. This report will follow on from our previous special reports on India, Japan and China.
By Louise Mayor
Yesterday I had an exciting trip out of the office.
Earlier this week, one of Physics World’s freelance writers, Jon Cartwright, told how me he’d been invited to the Bristol University theory department’s weekly seminar. Felix Flicker, a 2nd-year PhD student who organizes these events, had seen Jon’s article “The life of psi” in this month’s Physics World, which discusses a theorem published in Nature Physics. The theorem is interesting because if its assumptions hold, it rules out one of the four interpretations of quantum mechanics and leaves us with three.
I wanted in on the seminar action!
Last year when I was planning the Physics World special issue on quantum frontiers (which was out in March and is still available as a free PDF download), I had approached Jon to ask whether he’d like to tackle a quantum topic, and he let me know he was interested in covering the paper by Matthew Pusey, Jonathan Barrett and Terry Rudolph. Jon had seen the story reported elsewhere but had found these accounts were light on the details and didn’t get to the bottom of the science. I liked the idea and Jon went ahead. Once the story arrived in my inbox I was hooked! I found it to be one of those stories that covers some tricky concepts but if you let yourself become immersed in the story and think through what’s being explained, is very rewarding.