March 21, 2013 - And also in the awards category, congratulations to Alexander Polyakov for winning the $3,000,000 Fundamental Physics Prize for his lifetime of work in quantum field theory and string theory. (More major prizes for theoretical physics is always a good thing!)

March 18, 2013 - It has just been announced that the 1-million pound Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been awarded to five people, including Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web while he was working at CERN. Here is the story.

March 17, 2013 - Happy St Patrick's Day!!

March 15, 2013 - It was eighty years ago today that the Physical Review published the experimental discovery of the positron by Carl Anderson and his team, confirming the existence of anti-matter as predicted by Paul Dirac. For those wishing more details, CERN has an excellent article on this here.

March 14, 2013 - Happy PI-Einstein Day! The only holiday that honours mathematicians and tech nerds. (And I am writing this at 1:59AM for added mystical power )

March 12, 2013 - An interesting news item from the NASA Curiosity probe today - they drilled into the rocks on Mars and discovered evidence that the surface of Mars once had liquid water and oxygen, indicating that at one time the red planet was suitable for life. It doesn't necessarily mean that there was life there, but it does prove that the conditions would have allowed it. The official news release is here.

March 10, 2013 - For those who enjoy stargazing and amateur astronomy, there is a possible comet sighting this week. Comet Pan-STARRS (named for the telescope system that discovered it) will be passing by after looping our Sun, and although difficult it may be possible to observe it in the western sky just at twilight on March 12th and March 13th. More details here.

March 3, 2013 - For those who live in Victoria, BC, the University of Victoria is hosting a week long series of events to celebrate its 50th anniversary. There will be public lectures on a variety of topics, including some interesting physics and astronomy sessions by my former colleagues. More information can be found here.

March 1, 2013 - Happy Birthday to the Raspberry Pi! It was one year ago today (or more accurately, February 29) that this fascinating device was launched, and in some shops there is still a wait list to get them...

February 28, 2013 - My humorous moment for the day - a semi-satirical article I wrote for a friend's blog about seven years ago has just been quoted in a serious physics research paper! It was a ridiculous commentary on how the magic number 42 (made famous by Douglas Adams) appears repeatedly in particle physics, and to my utter amazement someone has now updated the calculations using the most recent data from collider experiments and is forwarding a serious claim that the number should actually be 42.5! 

February 21, 2013 - I have finally succeeded in writing a new interface for my web camera! As some of you may recall, due to a rise in vandalism near my mother's summer cabin, I had to install a remote webcamera but always wanted to improve its features.  Tonight phase one of the upgrade has been completed, with a better resolution camera now interfacing fully with a more powerful Arduino controller. Next step is to add back the GPRS interface. (On a side note, I have had a few readers contact me with requests to purchase these remote cameras once they are fully working. When I have completed the prototype, I will post a follow up with instructions and code. I haven't yet decided if I will market complete systems or not)

February 13, 2013 - Astronomers working with the Hubble space telescope have discovered two new moons of the planet Pluto (Yes, I said planet!). Now they are looking for names for them -the best astronomers can do is to call them P4 and P5 - and are seeking public input. So if you have a great idea for a name, based on the Greek or Roman mythology, why not try naming a moon? More information can be found at

February 5, 2013 - With mid-term season fast approaching, some students have been asking about tutoring sessions. I will be offering a few after hours sessions and weekend sessions, but spaces are limited. In the past I have found that it is more cost effective for students to arrange group sessions, but I am fine teaching either way. I also can give the names and contact details for a few other tutors at lower levels who are a little cheaper and offer more sessions. More details can be found here.


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