When The Cats Are Away, The Theoretical Physicists Will Play

Fact: There’s a cat that is co-author of a theoretical physics paper. in 1975, American mathematician and physicist Professor Jack H. Hetherington wrote an entire paper (on low temperature physics, if you were wondering) on a typewriter, only to be told by his supervisor that it would be rejected by the journal he was intending to publish it…

Freeze!

Fact: ‘Brain freeze’ has a biological explanation, and even an unpronounceable name: sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. When something very cold touches the roof of your mouth (called the ‘palate’), it rapidly cools the blood in the small blood vessels around your sinuses. This causes them to constrict, and then to rapidly dilate again when the blood warms up…

Breakfast: Take Two

Fact: You can un-boil an egg. Boiling an egg causes a fundamental change in the proteins that make up the egg white, which you’ll know if you ever had eggs and soldiers as a kid because a raw egg and a cooked egg look pretty different. The high temperature causes the proteins to lose their shape and…

I Once Was Blind, But Now I See

Fact: Blind people don’t see darkness. They see nothing. I’ll admit this seems counter-intuitive; most of us would shout “I can’t see anything” when stumbling around in the pitch dark. But understanding blindness requires a bit more thought. It does depend on the type of blindness; acquired blindness seems to leave patients with light rather…

Sex: A Long Time Coming

Fact: Sperm take longer to make than you ever imagined: 43 million years. No, not quite 43 million years each – it takes a mere 60 days for a single sperm to fully develop. The true scale of the problem of sex comes down to the sheer number of sperm required to raise the odds of just one reaching…