Bedford School Website
From biochemistry to quantum mechanics and
www.bedfordschool.org.uk astrophysics, this edition of SPECTRUM offers it all.
We have been able to show such a range of expertise
Editorial Board through the enthusiasm of all contributors to this
Edward Johnson publication. In general the topics addressed here are
not on any examination syllabus, the aim however is to
Spectrum Members inspire students to continue their studies in science to
Jonathon Andrews A-level and beyond. To do this none of the terms and
Janak Bechar ideas are too complex. Instead the articles are
Phillip Cai designed to stimulate readers with snippets of
Dominic England information on each subject matter. SPECTRUM also
Edward Johnson seeks to promote further research and thought in all
Edmund Lam scientific matters. For that reason we have created an
Nikhil Vaghela email address of email@example.com. If
you have any comments on this publication, we would
be very grateful for your feedback.
The articles were created by eight Bedford School
No part of SPECTRUM may pupils who have researched an area of science which
be reproduced without the particularly appeals to them and produced an article
consent of the editors and the each for SPECTRUM. There is something here for
authors concerned. We
cannot accept liability for everyone, whether they favour biology, chemistry or
mistakes or misprints. physics. We hope that you find SPECTRUM an
enjoyable and thought-provoking read. With all the
hard work that has gone into producing this publication
March 2006 Edition all those involved deserve your appreciation.
Special thanks to Dr.
Mines and Mrs. Spina
for all their help in
publishing this edition
of SPECTRUM. 2
4 The Link Between Sport Survival And Phillip Cai
6 1000 Songs Impossibly Small Edward Johnson
8 The Future of Invisibility Dhaval Panchal
10 Avian Influenza Nikhil Vaghela
12 Stem Cells and Their Potential Future in Jonathan Andrews
14 Particle Wave Duality Justin Bell
16 The Solar System Edmund Lam
18 Quarks and Leptons – into the World of Janak Bechar
ornamental garden pixies
20 Make your own planet Dominic England
The Link between Sport,
Survival and Instinct
The slightly boring stuff:
Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by your
adrenal glands (you‟ve got two, one on top of
each kidney – GCSE Biology!) Its chemical
structure is C9H13NO3 (Yes, it‟s organic!) and
What do a stunt-plane pilot, surfer, and other than being a biochemist‟s nightmare, it
snowboarder all have in common? Are might actually save your life – or so we‟re told
those self-proclaimed „adrenaline junkies‟ really by our teachers anyway…
what they claim they are? And what link does
chronic severe depression have with a person The more interesting (and relevant) stuff:
who regularly does extreme sports? As you‟ve Adrenaline starts „pumping‟ through your
probably guessed reading this article will answer bloodstream (literally) in times of „stress‟, yes
all these questions, and hopefully a bit more you heard me, both physiological and
too. psychological stress. Ever wondered what
causes the „butterflies in your stomach‟ and
Adrenaline is a word heard all too much in other symptoms of nervousness before an
today‟s sports – especially those classified exam, being interviewed by the police, or being
„extreme‟, such as surfing, snowboarding, and attacked by a mountain bear? You guessed it.
bungee-jumping. It is often used in conjunction Adrenaline prepares you heavily for physical
with the words „junkie‟, „addict‟, and „rush‟, work or strain, as a result, it‟s often referred to
making it seem like some kind of drug. So what as the „fight or flight‟ hormone, because it
exactly is adrenaline anyway? helped animals and our ancestors (and still
does) get ready to combat threats or get as far
away as possible.
Evidently „stress‟ „sporting anticipation‟ and
Adrenaline will: „fear‟ are all caused by the same thing, a
Cause your heart to beat faster rather strong link, therefore doing sports is a
Raise your blood pressure levels very good way of stress relief, as your
Stimulate secretion of glucagons which adrenaline hormones aren‟t going to waste.
causes the liver to convert stored Also, the most capable sportsmen in the
glycogen into glucose via hydrolysis world can convert their „nerves‟ and
Cause you to breathe deeper and faster, „anticipation‟ into initiative and action
and open up breathing passageways effortlessly. What‟s wrong with exploiting
Dilate your pupils (drug-like or what?) your fear and reversing it into your most
Divert blood flow from most organs to basic natural advantage? Absolutely nothing.
the brain, muscles, heart, and lungs -
the only organs involved in physical Junkies, addicts, and rushes
strain You‟ve heard the terms before, so are these
Act as a neurotransmitter in your people liars? Strangely enough no, there is
nervous system an element of truth – a person who regularly
Lead Article The Link Between Sport, Survival and Instinct
As you can see it‟s a pretty good thing you‟ve practices sport, especially „extreme sports‟,
got it available to you, imagine how pathetically will eventually get used to adrenaline
unprepared top sportsmen would be in their pumping through his body and the resulting
games. Don‟t even start with what would „high‟ of such physical performance.
happen at the Olympics!
When these people cease sport, adrenaline
The not-so-good-side of adrenaline: stops pumping and the body reacts to the
As adrenaline secretion is caused by a mental sudden lack of adrenaline – this is an
„stress reaction‟ against something that could „adrenaline low‟ and the person suddenly feels
potentially harm your body, there are certain depressed and sad at not being active. Such
instances, especially in today‟s far more social people are known as „adrenaline junkies‟, now
existence when compared to our primitive do you see how this thing is so much like a
struggle for survival, where adrenaline is drug!
pumping through your body without an actual
From doing sport you suffer an „adrenaline
rush‟ where you subconsciously feel much
Ever wondered what more capable, daring, and physically active,
much like certain drugs like speed or
causes the butterflies in amphetamines, though an adrenaline rush
your stomach? keeps your judgement within sensible bounds
at least, and has no really dangerous side
You guessed it. effects. □ SPECTRUM
need to spur into physical action. This is more
commonly known as „stress‟ – yep, the bane of
the modern-day student, the IB boy‟s best
friend, and the tyrannical shadow of today‟s
Put simply, a „stress reaction‟ in the life of
someone like me might be a nasty teacher
setting you a difficult prep – the „natural stress
reaction‟ would be to lump him one, run away,
or both. You get this every lesson of every day,
and you‟ve got yourself one large stress build-
up. People today suffer greatly from „stress‟
because they have difficulties handling the
1000 songs, impossibly
To get a feel for how small the Ipod nano is, a flavour of how it works.
you really have to hold it yourself. It is
astonishingly small, thinner than a standard HB As with all digital storage of information, flash
pencil in fact, so small that when I heard about memory simply stores a series of voltages as 1s
it, I had to have one. But I asked myself two or 0s, these are called bits and the nano stores
questions about it; how do they make it so 3.2 x 1010 of them. Flash memory is a type of
small? And how does it work? In this article I EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable
plan to answer those questions as best I can read-only memory) microchip but there is a
and hopefully do the nano justice. difference between standard EEPROM chips and
flash memory. Flash memory can write and
Thanks to the huge advances in memory erase data in much bigger chunks than
storage over the past few years the Ipod nano is EEPROMs can. The basic process by which they
able to use two tiny Samsung flash memory work is very similar though. A curious and
modules to store all its music and photos. These complicated process called Folwer-Nordheim
modules are about 20mm long and 13mm wide, tunnelling is used. Two transistors are separated
yet each of them can hold 2 gigabytes of from each other by a thin oxide layer. One of
storage, this is how the nano is quite so small. the transistors is known as the floating gate,
Flash memory works in a very complex way and and the other one is the control gate. The
it would be very hard to explain in detail in a floating gate's only link to the row, or
science magazine. Therefore I will just give you wordline, is through the control gate. As long
as this link is in place, the cell has a value of 1,
to change the value to a 0 we need tunnelling to
alter the placement electrons in the floating
A charge comes from the column, or bitline,
enters the floating gate and drains to the
ground. This charge causes the floating-gate
transistor to act as an electron gun. Excited
electrons are pushed through and trapped on
the other side of the thin oxide layer. A cell
sensor measures the level of charge going
through the floating gate. If the charge passing
through the gate drops below 50-percent electrical conductors become near to one
threshold, the value changes to 0. another without touching, their electrical
When the memory is blank each cell will have a fields interact to form capacitance. The
value of 1. Therefore in order to store data a surface of the touchpad is a series of metal
series of 1s are changed to 0s and to erase all electrodes, covered by an insulating layer,
the data stored on a flash memory device we which protects the sensor from wear by
simply have to apply a higher voltage charge to preventing your finger from actually touching
create an electric field and return all cell values the electrodes. The human finger is also a
to 1. conductor so when you place your finger on a
touchpad a tiny capacitance forms.
That is the basic idea of flash memory and it is a
lot more effective for use in mp3 players than A microchip attached to the touchpad
regular hard drives which have been used monitors the amount of capacitance in every
before. Flash memory can be made smaller, it electrode. By sensing an increase in
consumes less power, and it is quicker to write capacitance the sensor can detect that your
data to and to erase data. The only finger is touching. By measuring which
disadvantage is that it is more expensive per GB electrodes have the most capacitance the
of storage. touchpad can also locate where your finger is
on the touchpad, to an accuracy of 1/1000th
Two other things that have been made of an inch. Using this information a computer
remarkably tiny in the nano are the LCD screen or in this case an Ipod can sense when your
and the battery. Rather than go into too much finger is moving around the click wheel and it
detail about these, I decided to investigate how knows when to scroll down the lists on the
the click wheel, used on most Ipods, works. screen.
The click wheels on all Ipods before the nano So there you have it, I have explained briefly
were manufactured by Synaptics, however for how two of the most interesting parts of an
1000 Songs Impossibly Small
the nano, Apple decided to manufacture the Ipod nano work and in doing so have shown
wheel themselves to save money. The principle how they make it quite so small. If I were you
by which they all work however is very similar. I would go out and buy one for yourself and
The click wheel is effectively a touchpad similar see with your own eyes what a feat of
to the ones technology the Ipod nano is. □ SPECTRUM
by sensing an
The Future of Invisibility
Ever wonder why modern fighter jets are The two main ways of obtaining radar stealth
looking stranger than ever? Curvy bodies, are
angular faces, hidden weapons systems? The 1. An aircraft shape that reflects the
answer to that is Radar stealth. Most modern radar signals away from the radar
fighter/attack aircraft are “stealthed”, in that equipment.
they are virtually invisible to the enemy radar, 2. Covering the airframe with materials
and so cannot be detected when attacking that absorb radar signals.
ground targets, or even other enemy jets. Most An example of this shape is shown by this
of the time, the enemy is destroyed before they diagram:
can even make visual contact with the attacker.
The angular surfaces reflect the radar signals
Radar, the technology used to detect vehicles away from the equipment.
such as aircraft, is often used as a single word, The main example of this early stealth
however, it is actually an acronym, standing for technology is the F-117 “Nighthawk”, which first
“RAdio Detection And Ranging”.. saw action during the first Gulf War, with its
“bunker buster” laser guided bombs. However,
How RADAR works:
Radio waves are
sent from the
bounce off the
round surfaces of
surfaces that are
the direction the radio wave is travelling, make
excellent reflectors. This is the basis for radar
stealth, i.e. the opposite of the above principles.
the nature of its “stealthy” shape, angular with Current generation stealth planes are painted
plenty of jagged, flat surfaces, leads to black, and operate only at night, for obvious
aerodynamic instability, making it immensely reasons. This has its limitations as the enemy
difficult to fly manually, hence it cannot be flown know, or can easily guess that bombing raids
without computer assistance. This earned it the would be during the cover of darkness. The
nickname “the wobbly goblin”. question now is who knows what the future
holds? My guess is optical camouflage.
Modern stealth jets have a combination of these After all the technology deployed in these
deflecting airframe shapes, along with materials fascinating aircraft, the only real chance you‟d
that help with absorbing/scattering radar see one of them is at an air show. If not, then
signals. These are built into the composite you‟d better take cover! □ SPECTRUM
materials, such as carbon fibre, which make up
the airframe of the aircraft. Composite materials
are much better at absorbing/ not reflecting
radar signals, as they are non-metallic. The
composites used often contain high amount of
ferrites as filling. Within these composite panels,
there are special structures, known as re-entrant
triangles. Radar waves penetrating the skin of
the aircraft get trapped in this structure,
bouncing off its internal faces and losing energy.
This approach to stealth was first seen on the
SR-71 “Blackbird”, also famous for being the
world‟s fastest air-breathing aircraft.
A stealth aircraft must use a different
arrangement. Often, a stealth design has the
vertical element of the tail tipped at an angle, as
in the image above. The most radical approach
is to eliminate the tail completely, as in the B-2
Stealth Aircraft - The Future of Invisibility
As well as altering the tail, stealth design must
bury the engines within the wing or fuselage, or
in some cases where stealth is applied to an
existing aircraft, install baffles in the air intakes,
so that the turbine blades are not visible to
radar. The shape of the aircraft must be devoid
of complex bumps or protrusions of any kind if it
is to be stealthy. This means that all weapons,
fuel tanks, and other stores may not be carried
on under wing pylons but must be stored
internally. Furthermore, a stealth aircraft loses
its stealth capabilities when it opens its bomb
Another method to add to the stealth character
of the aircraft is by using Radar Absorbent
Materials, (RAM). These are often applied
especially to the edges of metal surfaces. The
RAM coating is also known as “iron-ball paint”,
and contains tiny spheres coated with carbonyl
iron ferrite. The way this works is the radio
waves induce an alternating magnetic field in
the material, which leads to the conversion of
their energy into heat.
Avian Influenza, the Truth
A lot has been said in the media about avian What is Avian Influenza?
influenza or bird flu as we more commonly know
it and a lot of this information has been vastly Avian influenza is an infection caused by avian
exaggerated. This article will help to put aside influenza viruses. These flu viruses occur
the misconceptions that you may have about naturally among birds; wild birds worldwide
the virus and its effects on humans. carry them in their intestines although they do
not get ill from them. Bird flu is very contagious
among birds and can make some domesticated
birds very ill and kill them. The type currently
causing concern is the H5N1 virus.
The H5N1 Virus
There are many different subtypes of avian
influenza viruses. These subtypes differ because
of certain proteins on the surface of the virus.
Each different combination of proteins is a
different subtype. These viruses do not usually
infect humans although we know they can do.
There are only three known subtypes of human
flu viruses and it is likely some genetic parts of
these viruses came from the bird flu viruses
At present, H5N1 is not easily transmitted from
bird to human, so the risk of infection is
extremely low. However during an outbreak of
bird flu among poultry there is a risk to people explored, but the risk is that they could be
who are in contact with the infected birds. The partially effective or even useless because the
big worry though is that H5N1 could pick up virus‟ genetic shape will change and not be
genes from conventional human flu viruses and recognised by the antibodies. Concerns have
mutate, making it both highly lethal and highly already been prompted by news that a
infectious. This is because it would be a radically Vietnamese patient has become partially
new pathogen which could be transmitted from resistant to Tamiflu, a drug being used to
person to person which is not currently possible; combat bird flu.
no one would have natural immunity to it.
How does it spread to humans?
Avian influenza was first identified in Italy
around a century ago. It was not thought to be
transmissible to humans until 1997, when the
first human cases were seen in Hong Kong.
Humans catch the disease through close contact
with live infected birds. Birds excrete the virus in
their faeces, which dry and become pulverised,
and then are inhaled. Symptoms are similar to
human flu. Researchers are now concerned as it
Is it safe to eat chicken?
YES. Experts say avian influenza is not a food
borne virus, so eating chicken is safe.
However the World Health Organization
recommends, to be absolutely safe all meat
should be cooked to a temperature of 70oC.
has been found that the virus affects all parts of
the body and not just the lungs. This means
many illnesses may have been misdiagnosed
and were actually avian influenza.
Has a vaccine been found?
There is not yet a definitive vaccine, but
prototypes that offer protection against the
H5N1 strand are being produced. The problem
is that no one knows the precise shape that it
will take after mutating to the feared highly
contagious form. Several prototypes are being
Stem Cells and their Potential
Future in Medicine
Stem Cells and their Potential
Imagine being able to make a disabled
person walk, or help return the memory of
Once embryonic stem cells have been produced,
they can be made into any type of cell through
an Alzheimer’s patient, even something the process of differentiation (see diagram on
Future in Medicine
like replacing skin that has been damaged
in a dangerous accident. All of this would be
opposite page). They can then be made into
Neurons, Epithelial cells or Hepatocyes liver cells
possible through the use of stem cells. However, for example.
like in other areas of modern science, it is
shrouded in controversy for many ethical and
What are stem cells?
Unlike other cells in our bodies, stem cells are
unspecialized cells that have the remarkable
potential to develop into any different cell type
in the body. Also they have the power to
multiply indefinitely. When a stem cell divides, it
can either remain a stem cell or it has the
potential to develop into a more specialized cell
such as a brain cell or a red blood cell for
Stem cells are generally broken into 4 types:
embryonic stem cells, foetal stem cells, umbilical
stem cells and adult stem cells. However it has
been realised that stem cells can be obtained
from many other areas of the body. In April
2001 stem cells were found in fat sucked out
from liposuction patients at the University of
When were stem cells discovered?
More than 20 years ago, scientists discovered
ways to obtain stem cells from early mouse
embryos. After much study and research, on
the 5th November 1998, scientists announced
they could isolate stem cells from human
embryos and grow them in the laboratory. The
embryos had been donated as they had not
been used for „in-vitro fertilization‟.
What are the differences in the different
stem cell types?
Scientists primarily work on embryonic and
adult stem cells of humans and animals. There
are certain advantages and disadvantages of
each source and its potential uses. Embryonic
stem cells can become any type of cell because endless and we are only at the very beginning
they are pluripotent. Adult stem cells are of the road to the future of medicine.
generally limited to developing into different □ SPECTRUM
cells of the tissue they originated from.
Large numbers of embryonic stem cells can be
grown in culture, which is not so easy to do with
adult stem cells. This is where the difference
plays an important role especially when large
numbers of cells are required for cell
A potential advantage for using adult stem cells
is that a patient‟s own cells could be used. They
could be expanded in culture and then
reintroduced into their body. The advantage is
there will not be the difficult problem of the cells
being rejected by the patient‟s immune system,
as there might be with the use of embryonic
stem cells. This will also relieve the patient, the
hassle of having to take immunosuppressive
What is the potential of stem cells in
Stem Cells and Their Potential Future in Medicine
At the moment, to treat patients with damaged
organs and tissues; organ and tissue donation is
being used. However there is the problem of the
availability and suitability of these organs and
tissues. Stem cells offer the possibility of a
renewable source of replacement
cells to treat certain diseases
(regenerative medicine). Some of
the possible diseases and
conditions that could be treated
using this method are: Parkinson‟s,
Alzheimer‟s, heart disease, stroke,
diabetes, arthritis, spinal cord
injury and burns.
Another possible use for stem cells
could be for testing new drugs.
This is already happening with
other cell types but this is very
limited and the use of stem cells
would greatly enhance drug
screening. This could also be used
to test out how certain toxins
affect different cells and also in
understanding birth defects.
Stem cells have caused
controversy for many ethical
reasons, such as „killing‟ new life
and „playing God‟. But as it stands,
the possibilities of stem cells are
Wave Particle Duality
Historically light has often been viewed as a interference to occur there must be waves going
particle rather than a wave with Isaac Newton through each slit? The answer is, the photon
thinking of light in this way. However a famous acts as a wave so is affected by quantum
experiment carried out by Thomas Young behaviour whereby it has a probability of going
around the year 1805 brought this view into through either slit. The hard concept to come to
question. This was the „Double Slit Experiment‟, terms with however is that it is considered to go
which involved shining light on two parallel slits through both slits and a phenomenon known as
and observing the pattern created on a screen „probability interference‟ occurs. Due to the
behind. The pattern observed was a series of results of this experiment for almost 100 years
light and dark lines parallel to the slits as shown the wave theory of light was widely accepted.
However, if light is shone on a piece of
photographic paper in a short burst, we would
see something like that shown in the picture
below. We can see that the intensity of the
image increases the longer the paper is exposed
for. The intensity of the image is determined by
the number of silver grains deposited and we
can see that the pattern of the deposited grains
is random. This suggests that the light that
deposited them was made of particles rather
The concept of wave-particle duality was the
start of „modern‟ physics in the late 19th
century. Max Plank created a formula in 1900
for the energy of an electromagnetic wave but
he thought that he had fudged the mathematics
to make it work so was not convinced. His
formula (later proved by Einstein) stated that
These lines can only be explained as the
interference between light waves. In the
brighter spots there is „constructive
interference‟, where two peaks of the wave
coincide as they hit the screen thus „adding‟ to
each other. The dark spots occur where a peak
and a trough coincide at the screen, cancelling
each other out. This is known as „destructive
However, if you fire just one photon at a time
and have a screen that is sensitive enough to
detect the photon then the photon would still
show the affects of interference. Obviously if
light were a particle then firing a single „particle‟
would result in it going through one of the slits
and hitting the screen. If this were the case
then there would be no interference as
interference can only occur when the light
passes through both slits. So why is the single
photon affected by interference when it is
passed through alone, as we know that for
the energy of a wave E, was equal to its (photographic paper and photoelectric effect).
frequency f, multiplied by Plank‟s constant h The answer is that it is either: both a wave
(~6.6 x 10E-34). E=hf. and a particle; or it is something else that we
can‟t visualize, appearing to us as a particle or
The photoelectric effect is a phenomenon a wave depending on how we look at it. This
whereby if light is shone on a metal it can cause strange double reality still puzzles scientists
it to ionize (lose an electron). This occurs when today and as yet no one can justifiably claim
a photon of sufficient energy collides with an to fully understand what light is and why is
electron and knocks it out of its orbit. According behaves as it does. □ SPECTRUM
to Plank‟s equation, electromagnetic waves will
have a higher energy if their frequency is
higher. This is regardless of their amplitude as
would be the case with classic waves (e.g. a
tidal wave has high energy with high
So is light a wave or a
particle? The answer
depends on how we
look at it.
amplitude). If light were to be viewed as a wave
Wave Particle Duality
then if the amplitude were increased then the
energy of the wave would increase. It was
observed that very bright red light (lower
frequency) was unable to ionize some metals
that low intensity blue light (higher frequency)
could. This shows that the amplitude has no
effect on the maximum energy of the wave and
suggests particle-like behaviour of light.
So is light a wave or a particle? Well, it is
definitely true that photons can act as waves (as
in the double slit experiment) and as particles
The Solar System
The Solar System might not be an unfamiliar
term to most of you who study the sciences. But Venus is a very inhospitable
try and ask yourself: How much do you know planet for a human to stay on.
about the Solar System? Other than that there Although it is further away from
are 9 planets (which you may say is not true)? If the Sun, its surface temperature
you answer nothing – or nothing much, then can reach 482°C, due to the run-
read on. Here I will unveil secrets of the Solar away greenhouse effect, caused
System which are rarely known. by the atmosphere of mostly
carbon dioxide. It is hotter than
What is the Solar System anyway? Mercury, and it is hot enough to
The Solar System is the most famous planet
system within the Universe – or at least the Venus rotates from east to west, so if
Galaxy so far. It has a gigantic ball of extremely you were on Venus, the Sun would rise
hot gas, known as the Sun, as the star and the from the west.
centre of the system, and around it there are 9 In a clear night, Venus is the brightest
planets which rotate around the Sun in orbits. star in the sky.
Venus is covered by lava flows and it has
The Planets several large shield volcanoes.
The 9 planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Earth
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto Everyone is familiar with the
should be very familiar to you. But how much do planet we live on. So why bother
you know about them? saying much about it?
Mercury Earth is not a sphere, it is
an oblate spheroid.
Mercury is the closest planet Earth completes 1 orbital
from the Sun and it is the in 365.2422 days. That‟s why we have 1
second smallest after Pluto. It extra day every 4 years.
is so close to the Sun such
that light only takes 19.3 Mars
seconds to reach it, compared
to 8 minutes for the Earth. One may say that Mars is
probably the best planet to live on
75% of Mercury is made up of a large other than Earth. But is it really
iron core. so? Its surface temperature is
Even though it is the closest planet from below zero and CO2 makes up
the Sun, it can have a minimum surface much of its atmosphere.
temperature of -173 °C.
The highest mountain in the Solar Neptune
System is located on Mars, known as
Olympus Mons and it rises 24km in Neptune is the outermost gas
height. giant. It orbits the Sun every
Mars is so far the only planet that is 164.79 years.
suspected to have had life before.
Wind blowing on
Neptune is the fastest in the solar
Jupiter system – it can travel at up to 1,200
miles per hour (typical speed of a
Jupiter is the largest planet in the commercial jet is 550 mph)
Solar System, and is a gas planet, There is a “Great Black Spot” similar to
composed of 90% hydrogen, 10% the “Great Red Spot” on Jupiter, which
helium, with traces of ammonia, is the size of the Earth.
methane and water. It also has
the most moons in the system.
If Jupiter was hollow, more than 1,000
earths could fit in it– it‟s that big! Pluto is the smallest planet in
There is a “Great Red Spot”, which the Solar System. It is only the
represents a storm that has been size of our moon and it is
blowing for more than 400 years. the only planet which has
never been “visited” by any
Saturn is the second largest Pluto is not always the most distant
planet in the Solar System. It is planet – for 20 years out of its 249
famous for its beautiful ring, year orbit, it is closer to the Sun than
which is the only one in the Neptune.
system visible from Earth. Pluto is the only planet to be
discovered by an American – all the
others were discovered by Europeans.
If there was a large enough tank filled
with water, Saturn would float on it More than this – the 10th planet?
In places near its equator, wind can blow
at up to 1,100 miles per hour! On 29th July, 2005, the Solar System was
redefined. Dr. Mike Brown and his crew,
Uranus claimed that they had discovered the 10th
planet of our Solar System. It is temporarily
Uranus is the closest of the 3 named 2003 UB313 and it is said to be the
outermost planets, discovered size of 1.5 times that of Pluto. However,
between the 19th and 20th controversies soon arose about whether it is
century. It is so much further really a planet. So is it a planet anyway? You‟ll
from the Sun than Saturn, that have to decide yourself. □ SPECTRUM
Uranus orbits once every 84.01
year when Saturn only needs 29.45 years.
Uranus is tipped on its side – which
The Solar System
means its poles, instead of its equator
faces the Sun.
Methane at the top of Uranus‟s
atmosphere absorbs red light, thus giving
it a green-blue colour.
Quarks and Leptons – into the world
of ornamental garden pixies
The last decade of the nineteenth century by gluons, they literally stick the quarks
witnessed the birth of a new scientific era. Prior together. Quarks give protons their charge. An
to that time, matter and electricity were viewed Up Quark has a charge of +2/3 whilst a Down
as separate entities, with little or no relationship Quark has a charge of -1/3. And so, in order for
to one another and the atom was considered to a neutron to have no charge, it must contain 1
be an indivisible particle of matter. The Up Quark and 2 Down Quarks. Using the same
scientists of the last century so feared the principle, a proton (a 1+ particle remember)
consequences which might flow from any must contain 2 Up Quarks and one Down Quark.
theoretical subdivision of the ultimate particle, Please see table below:
the atom, that men like Büchner declared that
„divisibility of the atom would lead to a doubt of Quark-Up Quark-Down
the very existence of matter itself!‟ The aim of Charge: +2/3. Charge: -1/3.
this article is to attempt to make sub-atomic Protons contain two, Protons contain one,
science accessible, not only to the members of neutrons one. neutrons two.
the 6th form but to juniors of the Upper school.
So, what are leptons? They are defined as
For sure, we know that the atom is indeed not „Fundamental particles that are relatively non-
the smallest particle that composes matter. reactive and capable of an independent
More and more particles are being discovered existence: electrons, muons, tau particles and
every year that leads us to exclaim what a neutrinos.‟ So in other words, they are a
strange world we all inhabit. For example, with generalised word for describing sub-atomic
recent knowledge of how known particles particles (smaller that the atom) that can exist
behave, there is a certain probability (however independently. The following table illustrates
small) that an object would materialise randomly some of the particles that fall under the „lepton‟
from another part of the Universe and appear heading:
on Earth! We know for sure that all matter in
the Universe is composed of atoms. So, what is Electron Electron-neutrino
the atom? Well, here‟s a brief description: Charge: -1 Charge: none.
Thanks to Rutherford‟s model of the atom we Responsible for Also possibly no mass.
can say without too much trouble that the basic electricity and They move in their billions
particles that compose it are electrons, neutrons chemical reactions. through our bodies per
and protons, as learnt in GCSE chemistry and second!
physics. The electron, with a 1- charge can not
be split into anything simpler to our knowledge.
However, neutrons and protons can. Now we This table can be misleading in the sense that it
enter into a world of quantum mechanics! suggests that there are only 2 leptons. The
Neutrons appear in the nucleus of the atom and leptons above are the most simple in form and
have a neutral charge (hence the name behaviour. The other leptons are significantly
neutron). Within the neutron are located three more complex and need more scientific
types of subatomic particles: up quarks, down explanations. A chart of all the leptons and their
quarks and gluons. electric charges is shown on the opposite page.
we can see Mankind has only just entered the world of
three quarks, quantum mechanics in the last 70 years. Even
two of which are though we have a better understanding of the
Down Quarks atom, mankind still doesn‟t have enough
and one of knowledge to predict the behaviour of the atom.
which is an Up
Perhaps the most exciting development as a
result of the modelling of these particles
behaviour is that of nuclear fusion: the process built in France and will be ready within 10
of combining atoms to create heavier elements years!
and in the process, releasing huge amounts of
energy. This new technology has the potential
Scientists believe that deuterium, extracted
to solve the earth‟s energy problems and
from seawater, can be used to produce
essentially, harness the power of our own Sun!
enormous amounts of energy from a
Experiments with the advanced new Tokamak
deuterium-tritium fusion reaction under huge
device, a doughnut-shaped reactor, will start in
temperatures of 100 million oC. After nuclear
July or August. If the experiments prove
fusion, the deuterium extracted from one litre
successful, China will become the first country in
of seawater will produce energy equivalent to
the world to build a fully-functioning Tokamak
300 litres of petrol!
fusion device! The ITER programme, still in its
Quarks and Leptons – into the world of ornamental garden pixies
initial stages, involves Russia, Japan, the United
States, the European Union, China and the I trust that I have not only given you an incite
Republic of Korea. The aim of this programme is into the world of quantum particles but have
to create a viable working prototype of the also shown you a useful application of our
fusion reactor. A model of this is currently being knowledge of these particles. □ SPECTRUM
1. Start -> Photoshop
2. Open the file: X:\Academic\Upper\departments\science\Student Science Group\Make Your Own
Planet.psd. I have started the process of making a planet for you due to the slow system when using the
3. Now let‟s begin!
1. Click CTRL / CMD D, to unselect the planet then go around the edges with the Smudge tool (A
hand with a pointing finger). This creates small anomalies to the planet to make it more realistic.
2. Now whilst holding CTRL click on the layer “Planet” then go to Filter -> Distort -> Spherize, do
this at 100% on Normal mode.
3. Click Select -> Modify -> Contract at 3 pixels.
4. Then Select -> Feather at 2 pixels
5. Then click CTRL / CMD + SHIFT + I so that the black surrounding the planet (and a ring
around the planet) are selected.
6. To create a blurred effect around the planet click Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur at about 5
pixels. Now your planet is done, except for the fine tweaking...
7. Select all (CTRL / CMD + A). Now to make the image more defined go to Image ->
Adjustments -> Levels.
8. In this window play around with the 3 arrows beneath the graph until you‟re happy with your
9. Next if your not satisfied with the colours I chose go to Image -> Adjustments -> Hue /
Saturation. Click the colorize box and then play with the sliders until you get the planet you like.
4. Now you‟ve done the most important bit, but with a little exploration you can add other planets to your
image, stars, suns or anything you want!