The Scream, Jimmy Neutron, Star Wars and Dune

Most Popular Redoubt

Reporting at the news desk this week seems to have taken a cinematographic theme. Going back (to the future?) a bit, let me start at the very beginning … Volcanic Screams seemed to go down well. Amazingly, seismic noise observed just before the onset of volcanic eruptions in Alaska was more interesting to the general public that weight loss, J K Rowling, or Edward Snowden.

Dye sensitised solar cells, dinosaur teeth, neutron star collisions, iron fertilisation into the oceans and the influence of barchan dunes on Star Wars sets made up the rest of my week.

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 22.11.31Of these, Star Wars vs. Dune captured attention, which is, I guess, understandable. But there is a bit of science in there too, with links to dune migration not only on Earth but also on Mars and Titan. It went out on Friday evening, and before long had been picked up by other news outlets, so that was encouraging. It managed to sit at number one for quite some while too, beating JAY Z and even the weather.

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 21.28.35

I’m giving this a bit of a rest now, and taking off to a synchrotron to do some experiments and maybe make the science that makes the news … who knows?! The next post will likely be written from in ecstasy or despair, depending how that experiment progresses! See you soon …


Taking stock

Things roll on at the Science Hub since my last post. Officially, I have reached the end of my time with BBC Science Radio and have now joined the website folk at Science Online. In fact I am just a few desks further down the same office and can still pester the radio guys and gals on my way to and from the tea/coffee area.

News online seems a little more urgent and pressing, delivery of content daily rather than centred around one weekly show. Keeping up with news embargoes and abreast of what others are doing.

My first official story is one that I really think is a piece of brilliant science … observations of seismicity associated with volcanic eruptions at Redoubt, a magnificent volcano in Alaska. But I spent the first part of the morning reading the latest news from Mars’ Curiosity Rover to help assess how newsworthy it really is. Next I need to learn the mechanics of how to put a web page together for news online. Then I should be rather more independent come tomorrow. We’ll see what news that brings.

Anyway, I thought it was about time I recorded my output so far, since I am likely to lose track soon.


Volcanic ‘scream’ precedes eruption

Worm poo’s window into past climate

New idea tackles Earth core puzzle

Rust promises hydrogen power boost

Russian meteor shockwave circled globe twice


Science in Action (World Service) 12/07/2103 – Knitting perovskite molecules

The Science Hour (World Service) 07/07/2013 – Dark Matter

Science in Action (World Service) 05/07/2103 – Plank: Looking back to the dawn of time

The Science Hour (World Service) 30/06/2013 – Russian meteors make waves

Researcher for Material World (Radio 4) 27/06/2103 – Uncertainty in scientific research

Also, separately, on:


Mont Blanc’s glacier protects, rather than erodes -15/07/2013

Ageing rover finds evidence for an early ocean on Mars – 11/06/2013

Mystery solved: meteorite caused Tunguska devastation – 27/06/2013


and to my “famous five” I can add a few more BBC celebs spotted around the place .. Alan Yentob, Will Gompertz, and Jonathan Dimbelby.