Author Archives: Matt

About Matt

PhD Student in Materials Chemistry at Imperial College London, Blogs occasionally at mattallinson.com

ln2

Liquid nitrogen bucket challenge

The inevitable Ice Bucket Challenge notification came along, courtesy of the Brothers Pag. Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t swim, so I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of attempting the challenge.

Also I didn’t have any ice in my lab, but I did have a Dewar of Liquid Nitrogen, so here is Balloon Matt nobly taking the challenge in aid of the DEC Syria crisis appeal.

**SAFETY NOTICE** Don’t do this at home. If you have liquid nitrogen at home, why on earth do you have liquid nitrogen at home? Whilst pouring and transporting liquid N2, heavy duty cold-proof gloves and a face visor must be worn. Do not touch parts of the balloon directly after they have been in liquid nitrogen. NEVER POUR LIQUID NITROGEN OVER YOUR OWN HEAD a million things can go wrong and you can lose eyes skin and hair: remember what happened to Boris. Do not cool an air filled balloon for prolonged periods due to risks of liquid oxygen condensation. **THANK YOU**

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Space Geckos

Sex geckos and the nuclear football: a history of getting lost in space

For a science headline to capture the wider public’s imagination, it generally helps if it involves at least one of the following six things:

  1. An out-of-control experiment
  2. Space,
  3. The End Of Life As We Know It
  4. A non-western nation
  5. A weird animal,
  6. Sex

So it came as no surprise to see how quickly Foton-5, the spacecraft of Russia’s troubled biomedical research institute, made headlines around the world. The Washington Post website literally managed to hit 5 out of 6 crowd pleasers with the headline:  “There is a lizard sex satellite floating in space and Russia no longer has it under control.”

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