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Articles of interest dealing with Science, Maths and Engineering.

  • Webmaster pictured with Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2, at the Science Museum, South Kensington (Tube Station with directions), London. Entry in Free. A primitive Victorian Mechanical Computer made to calculate logarithms for navigation. It never worked as Victorian Engineering wasn't precise and cheap enough, and Babbage's temperament wasn't good either, but the design was sound and has been proved to be correct.
    Pictures and Description of Babbages Difference Engine.

  • An Algebraic Proof for the Quadratic Equation, also a bit about Pythagoras, Fermat's Last Theorem, Archimede's Eureka, and Trigonometry: SOH CAH TOA.
                 
    -b ± Öb² - 4ac
    x =         2a       ->  ax² + bx + c = 0
    
    3² + 4² = 5² 5² + 12² = 13² 1² + [SQRT (24)]² = 5² a³ + b³ = c³
  • Astronomy: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Leibniz
    • 1543: 'The Revolution of Heavenly Orbs' by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)
    • 1609: 'Astronomia nova, Harmonice Mundi' by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Detailing the Three Laws of Planetary Motion.
    • 1610: 'The Starry Messenger' by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
    • 1667: 'Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica' by Sir Issac Newton (1643-1727); Lucasian Chair (1669-1702) of Mathematics at Cambridge University; President of the Royal [Scientific] Society, London (1703-1727); Member of the Parliament (1689-90, 1701) of England; Warden of the Royal Mint (1696-1699); Master of the Royal Mint (1699-1702) a post for which he was Knighted (1705) by Queen Anne.
      • The Royal Society was chartered by King Charles II in 1660 who was very much interested in Science.
      • Other professors to hold the Lucasian Chair include the early computing pioneer Charles Babbage (1828-39); and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkings (1980-date) who wrote 'A Brief History of Time' among other things, and can calculate complex Mathematical Equations in his head.
      • Parliament used to actually have one M.P. each from Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
      • Newton's Three Laws of Motion:
        1. First law: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon them.
        2. Second law: The net force on an object is equal to the product of its mass and its acceleration.
        3. Third law: To every action (force applied) there is an equal and opposite reaction (equal force applied in the opposite direction).

  • Space Elevator to the Solar System and beyond. Built from a incredibly thin and extremely long atomic chain, linking the Earth to an Orbiting Asteroid, and able to lift cargo at an extremely low cost as compared with rockets. Scientifically proven.
    The Fountains of Paradise book set in a fictionalised (10 degrees South so it is on the equator) version of Arthur C. Clarke's adopted home of Sri Lanka, one of his most personal.
    Try http://www.ebay.co.uk/ for a copy.
    The story is based around the fantastical yet scientifically supportable idea of a 'Space Elevator', a 'tower' from the earth to geo-stationary orbit, 23,000 miles "high". The purpose is to make access to space routine, safe and cheap, and the 22nd century-set novel essentially follows Vannevar Morgan in his quest to complete this monumental project.
    Space Elevator to the Solar System and beyond - page goes into a lot more detail.

  • Moonbase is a very unusual Computer Game, quite apart from the run of the mill.
    It is one of my favourites. The game is not by a software company as such, but by a Construction Company, predicting a near future Moonbase, and showing how it can be technically, and more importantly economically feasible, the Programmers consulted NASA experts. The concept gels well, and seems plausible, but one decimal point in the wrong place for commodity prices, and it could all fall to bits. The game rightly predicted that there was a high change of finding water deposits on the Moon, in the form and crashed meteorites. Since the real life discovery plans for a Moonbase have been revealed, showing just how critical it is. In the game you don't allows find water, it is winnable without it - just! But a walk over with it, as it is needed for drinking, growing food (it is highly costly to ship in), and for making oxygen and rocket fuel (H2O -> Liquid Oxygen and Hydrogen).
    Also mine Helium-3 for [as yet un-discovered] radiation free Fusion Reactors. The Russians plan a Moon mission in 2015 for this very purpose! Make high quality Semiconductors (better quality due to low gravity), Solar Panels, and Equipment for missions through out the Solar System. Low Gravity means material can be fired into orbit using a cheap Mag-Lev system, as opposed to the exorbitantly high cost of lifting out of Earth Orbit. Also build Hotels for Ultra-Rich tourist, and get NASA grants, that dry up over the years or if war occurs on Earth. Stock Market Prices for all commodities.

    Moonbase PC Game FREE Download and Manual - page goes into a lot more detail.