Romagnosi, Oersted & the discovery of electromagnetism….

Just Who exactly did make, probably, the most important discovery of the XIX Century ? Was it Gian Domenico Romagnosi in 1802 or Hans Christian Oested in 1820…..? An apochryphal story says “The victors write History”  To find the answer Jim Kelly is penning a long awaited: “The electromagnetic spectrum – or how we see the universe”…. 


Romagnosi G.D. 13 agosto 1802 “Articolo sul Galvanisimo”, Foglietti Universali, Rovertro

Oersted H.C. 21 July 1820 “Experimenta Circa Effectum Conflictus Electrici in Acum Magniticum” Hafinae


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Cambridge, Fermi Paradox, Grenoble…

A biography of Thomas Young “The Last man who knew everything” by Andrew Robinson (A birthday book read); talk at Cambridge University 19 Feb – Emmanuel College Duck Pond, Whipple Museum of the History of Science.

Gresham College Astronomy lecture “Where is Everybody ?” on the Fermi Paradox – 20 Feb. The Drake equation & ET phone home…

 Telepherique  ESRF  Steak Frites

Fondue in Grenoble 23/2 – 27/2, Cafe de la table Ronde, Bastille & Alpe d’Huez… 5 years since HERCULES…

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Astronomy, Gastronomy & Celebration Bells…

“Terahertz Astronomy: opening the far infrared & submillimetre windows” [10 THz = 30microns, 1THz = 0.3mm] – the Royal Astronomical Society lecture on Fri 9 Feb. The reception afterwards was attended by Brian May (former guitarist with Queen). I became aware of the Society for Popular Astronomy. Supper later that evening @ the 130 Restaurant.

 The Boyle lecture on 13 Feb is at St Mary le Bow, John Barrow on Cosmology reply by Martin Rees, in attendance John Polkinghorne, Allan Chapman. Supper dining by the River @ Jamie’s ….

Raymond Blanc @ the Royal Institution on 16 Feb….

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Brave New Web

Physics World Jan 2007, an issue devoted to the brave new world of interconnectivity that is Web 2.0 (Publishing, web logs, open access research and citation analysis) ….

The lost art of the letter – The Heisenberg – Bohr controversey. Rewriting History…..

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Is there a finite limit to the number of polytypes in silicon carbide ?

As Mitchell 1 said in 1954 “With the discovery of each new polymorph of silicon carbide, it becomes more evident that there is no limit to the possible modifications of this substance…” An intriquing question however still remains “When does a long period polytype (LPP) become a one-dimensionally disordered (1DD) layer ?”

In attempting to answer this question, nearly 50 years later Kelly et al. believe they have found the answer in an equation. Is it possible that such a simple expression as t = k N  – n  can not only herald the onset of the transition from an ordered, albeit long period structure to disorder  but also a limit to the number of possible polytypes in nature ? 

To find out more:  doi:10.1016/j.materresbull.2004.10.008


1. Mitchell R.S. (1954) J. Chem. Phys. 22, 1977-1983.

2. Kelly J.F., Fisher G.R. and Barnes P (2005) Mat. Res. Bull. 40, 249-255.

  « Ladder of Uncertainty

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Physics Blogs!

Blogs add a new dimension to Physics….

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