Integral Parody Song by George Sariklis

“I came across this article in my readings, and thought it sounded an awful lot like the title of the Bangles song, ‘Walk like an Egyptian’. Seeing the opportunity for a good parody, I wrote a verse to the tune of ,’Walk like an Egyptian'”
~ George Sarikilis
All statistical physicists, they have to use Stirling’s old technique,
If it doesn’t work (O-A-O), their future is definitely bleak
Differential systems will show how these particles accelerate,
If they can’t be solved (O-A-O), they’ll have to go and approximate,
Articles about integrals say (A-O-A-O-A-O-A-OOOOOOOOOO),

 

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A Real Jurassic Park? Amber in Myanmar

 

A real Jurassic Park? Amber in Myanmar.

by Christina Nelson

 

The trilogy, Jurassic Park, and now the fourth instalment, Jurassic World, is a stroke of cinematic genius. It is probably safe to say that many share this view given the films have grossed in excess of US$1 billion dollars. Simply, it is a type of movie that you can watch over and over again and never get bored. It is a type of movie that you can rug up to on a Friday night, whilst your friends are drinking their twenties away, and you remain at home with your Ben and Jerry’s cookie and cream ice-cream. The films make you challenge what seemingly is the impossible. Even when watching Jurassic Park today, I still catch myself thinking ‘yep this could totally happen’ (even though as a scientist you should always question). The films capture the balance between an absolute lack of foresight with occasional pearls of wisdom (i.e. Ian Malcolm) and theatrical (albeit theoretically incorrect) movie science. The question that I really want to ask: can Jurassic Park really happen?

 

Photography by E. Penalver via Nature Communications.

 

Well, several recent archaeological finds, have all originated from one remarkable site: the amber mines of northern Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley. The recent discoveries include a new species of insect, that looks more like E.T., an intact feathered tail of a small carnivorous dinosaur, and a nearly complete 99 million-year-old baby bird. Another remarkable amber discovery was a tick fossilized from the Dominican Republic that may have fed on dinosaurs. This discovery seems to have been written for a plot straight out of one of Spielberg’s movies. Like the movie, could the tick make for the cloning of dinosaurs possible?

Since amber specimens are fossils, this means that DNA will not be preserved well. In our case, we want dinosaur (‘dino’) DNA. In fact, scientists calculated that DNA has a half-life of 521 years. This means that after 521 years, half of the bonds which link DNA would have decayed, and then in another 521 years another half, and so on. This is also increased by other factors, like the actual conditions of fossilization, such as, excessive dehydration and the dynamic changes in temperature over time. Now, this (sadly) means that after approximately 1.5 million years the sequence of DNA would be virtually unreadable and after 6.8 million years, all bonds would no longer exist, meaning that our dino DNA would not be viable to use in a cloning experiment. Of course, even if there was some dino DNA left, we would then need to replace the ‘missing’ DNA with that of an acceptable donor cell of an animal that scientists select to clone.

This means (unfortunately?) I do not think that we should be expecting a real life Jurassic Park-type reanimation any time soon. Personally, I do not fancy a Tyrannosaurus rex roaming around New York city. We, whether that be scientists or lawyers ectara, do not have some sort of ‘God-complex’ and Ian Malcolm is correct ‘life finds a way’. We simply cannot resolve nature’s resistance to control. So, for now, these amber finds are just simply fascinating. Let’s leave it at that.

 

 

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Curie, Meitner, Lamarr – Indivisible

 

It’s hard to believe but women in the 20th century were once perceived as incapable of advanced abstract thought – yet they were responsible for some of the world’s greatest scientific discoveries.

Monash University’s Faculty of Science, in conjunction with the School of Physics and Astronomy, is proud to present the international play ‘Curie, Meitner, Lamarr – Indivisible’ as part of National Science Week in August. There are 2 sessions, on the 15th and 16th of August and tickets are FREE!

 

Dates and locations

Tues, 15 August

8pm-10pm

Lecture Theatre Central 1 (C1)

Monash University Clayton Campus, Wellington Road , Clayton, Victoria

Wed, 16 August

6.30pm-8.30pm

Monash Cinema

Monash University Clayton Campus, Wellington Road , Clayton, Victoria

Learn more about the lives of these three women pioneers at: https://www.monash.edu/science/news/current/international-play-to-highlight-the-plight-of-three-pioneer-women-scientists

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Science-y web comics

Ah it’s week 5 of semester: assignments, quizzes, mid-semester tests looming on the horizon. On one hand, we can strap down and get cracking. On the other hand, we can totally spend a few hours browsing our favourite sciencey, nerdy, geeky web-comics to lighten our spirits.

Yeah, I like that second option.

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The Power Couple: Juno and Jupiter

Space News

Juno, sister and also wife of chief god Jupiter, has reached her husband/brother. Well, not really the goddess but NASA’s spacecraft, Juno, has reached the gas giant after a five year journey through our solar system and is currently in orbit. NASA has a series of short clips with Bill Nye explaining the journey of Juno, why Jupiter is such a fascinating planet and the challenges Juno had to face.

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‘The Martian (2015)’ #MotivationMonday

Check out this awesome concept art from The Martian – originally shared via http://bit.ly/TheRaceToSpace.

Started off as just journal entries on Andy Weir’s personal blog (super old school), ‘The Martian’ turned into a mega-hit novel. Andy’s passion for science shines through the story with the realism of science and technologies in ‘The Martian’.  The movie adaption by Ridley Scott to be become one of the science fiction movies where the movie did the book justice.  

The story follows a witty, clever astronaut, Mark Watney, in his quest to survive the inhospitable Martian life and return to Earth. The movie is much more than just an adventure as his humour and charm keeps you feel invested in the story, even through the most serious and deadly of times. This is true for both the book and the movie.

The science and technologies in the movie and film may not be perfect but it’s as close to real technologies as movies get. Check out 9 real NASA Technologies in ‘The Martian’ here 

***Be warned! There may be some spoilers in this post, continue reading at your own discretion.***

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