About Me

Rob Pincombe is a prolific television writer, recovering comedian and sometime comic artist/storyboard artist who just wasn't satisfied with a single blog. He writes about sci-fi and fandom at rebelalert.com, Canadian comics at comicanuck.com, and shares thoughts and insights on writing at starkravingadventure.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Eureka!: Times' new science magazine is a must-read, monthly glimpse into our future.

Welcome to the rebellion.

The London Times has launched Eureka, a new magazine focusing on science and the environment. The Times Online announcement cites the paper’s extensive history of science coverage since 1785 and provides a celebratory list of notable moments where great leaps and great reporting converged between their pages.

Landmarks in the history of Times scientific coverage include:

1831: Coverage of the first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 

Letter from Alfred Nobel on the properties of nitro-glycerine

First review of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species

Letter from Darwin on vivisection

Times exclusive: collaboration with Marconi over first transatlantic telegraph message

Founding of the Cancer Research Fund announced (now part of Cancer Research UK)

Albert Einstein writes for The Times on his theory of relativity

The Astronomer Royal writes to The Times to verify Einstein's Law of Gravitation

Special supplement for the centenary of Faraday's discovery of electricity generation

Letter from H. G. Wells, which resulted in foundation of the Diabetes Society

1953: First newspaper to report the discovery of the structure of DNA

Eureka’s early stories include an overview of fifteen scientists confronting fifteen of the “world’s most pressing problems.” It is a fascinating cross-section of today’s cutting edge science and the questions it strives to answer, from the mind-blowing to the mundane. From finding a safer fuel for nuclear reactors than uranium, using quantum theory to create computer’s capable of colossal processing speeds to growing batteries, marketing based on brain scans of what customers like and finding a way to prevent chewing gum from sticking to floors and furniture. Particle physicists and theatre ushers the world over await the results with bated breath.

This Tom Bonaventure/Getty Images picture of Pudong with its Oriental Pearl Tower (which accompanied the phosphorous city article) sends me into a tizzy of wonder that at least some of the things promised to me in the sci-fi of my childhood, are coming true.

Also up is a look at the possible future of our cities. In this case, focusing on efforts to use the examples of nature, like phosphorescent fish, to create bacteria-infused building materials that will allow our urban centers to provide their own light at a fraction of the current cost, perhaps using carbon dioxide from the air itself as its fuel.

Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy

And a wonderful article on Robert Fitzroy, captain of the Beagle, companion of Charles Darwin during the hydrograpic survey of the coast of South Africa that gave rise to his theory of evolution, and father of the modern weatherman/woman. Fitzroy's detailed observations of the weather conditions on that trip eventually led him to the discovery that collating data over a wide area allowed him to predict, or forecast, weather patterns. There’s no mention of whether or not Fitzroy also pioneered plaid sports coats and odd hands gestures over meteorological maps.

All in all, a magazine to keep an idea for a monthly glimpse into our futures.


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