From cosmetic chemistry to Victorian love poems, plus a secret mathematical surprise, the Ri has something for everyone to geek-out to on Valentine's Day.
If flowers aren't exactly your thing, why not try saying 'it' with… maths?
Just send your Valentine the following equation and tell them to copy and paste it into Google search:
5 + (-sqrt(1 – x^2 – (y-abs(x))^2)) * cos(30*((1 – x^2 – (y-abs(x))^2))), x is from -1 to 1, y is from -1 to 1.5, z is from 1 to 6
Or simply try it for yourself.
Is that the smell of love in the air? No, it's the smell of bath bombs! Nothing says ‘we’ve got chemistry’ like home made bath bombs for your beloved. Their heart will fizz more vigorously than the reaction between citric acid, sodium bicarbonate and water.
We have one final option for those of you who are classic romantics – poetry, inspired by a collection of Valentine’s poems from our archives, sent in jest to John Tyndall by one of his friends.
Tyndall was a brilliant physicist, glaciologist and mountaineer who made major waves in atmospheric physics, and thrilled his Victorian audiences in the Ri lecture theatre with demonstrations of his experiments.
A brilliant poet he was not, but the sketches really bring it to life.
Our favourite verse is:
‘In pretty strife, to start to life, my waking atoms stir. Their motions fine, to thee incline, my heart’s thermometer!’
These poems weren’t actually serious love notes, but a running joke between John Tyndall and his friends. If after all of this you’re still a ‘despiser of St Valentine’, this last one is for you:
"Go mourn for Venus' broken laws,
In brazen-throated Siren's jaws:
This only serande be thine,
Despiser of St Valentine."
Happy Valentine's Day!
The human genome contains billions of letters of DNA, but some plants and animals have billions more. The surprising difference in genome length across different species is perfectly captured by the findings of 'the onion test'. In collaboration with the Genetics Society, we've produced an infographic to highlight the scale of junk DNA.
Posted to Talking science on20th February 2020
How Ri lecturers sought to investigate and avoid explosive disasters in the 19th century by Ri Heritage volunteer Laurence Scales.
Posted to In the archives on19th February 2020
Laurence Scales, Heritage and Collections volunteer at the Ri, was inspired by a lecture given on heating and ventilation in May 2018 by Dr Sean Fitzgerald to look into the history of this unexpectedly colourful subject, as told through Victorian lectures in the Ri archives.
Posted to In the archives on6th February 2020