Tenners

The Bank of England £10 note has a new design and security feature.

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Jane Austen replaces Charles Darwin. Charles Dickens was of an earlier generation.

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The notes are made of Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP), a non-fibrous and non-porous polymer that is processed through the following steps:

  • Opacifying – two layers of ink (usually opaque white) are applied to each side of the note, except for any areas deliberately left clear;
  • Sheeting – polymer substrate roll is cut into sheets to suit a flatsheet printing press;
  • Printing – traditional offset, intaglio and letterpress processes are used; and
  • Overcoating – notes are coated with a protective varnish.

Compared with paper banknotes, those made using BOPP are harder to tear, more resistant to folding, more resistant to soil and are waterproof.

‘Bloomsbury Scientists’

This is the 300th blog at scienceandartblog.com, a series of ideas that I began over three years ago. And I’m pleased that this one is to announce the publication today of the book that I’ve been writing through those same three years.

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Bloomsbury Scientists: science and art in the wake of Darwin is published by UCL Press and is available through their website as well as amazon.co.uk ,  blackwells.co.uk  , and bookshops. It is free as an e-book, £15.00 paperback and £30 hardback.

Here are portraits of some of the characters in my story. To confirm their identity you have to read the book.

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On September 7th Nature magazine said the book: ‘paints a group picture of biologist energised by Darwinism, including Ray Lankester and Marie Stopes, rubbing shoulders with cross-disciplinary intellects such as Roger Fry and H.G. Wells. Although marred by the intrusion of eugenics, this heady era saw the rise of fields from ecology to genetics.’

Mass or Weight?

Mass, by J. Baggott, was published in June 2017 by Oxford University Press.

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The Ancient Greeks visualised geometric atoms and now we have quantum physics.

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This book tells the history, from atomist Leucippus, through Newton to Einstein.

But the fundamental structure of physical reality remains difficult to follow. The book shows how this stuff of the universe is proving more elusive and uncertain than we ever imagined, whether we will ever reconcile the inner structures of the weight and mass of atoms.

 

Engels at Home

A statue of Frederick Engels has been transported from near Kharkiv, Ukraine, to Manchester –

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– where it is to be part of a new arts building called Home.

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In the 1880s, the Engels family moved to Primrose Hill in London where they shared a social life with their friend nearby, Karl Marx. Gavin McCrea’s recent novel speculates about their life-style.

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Some other statues of Engels and Marx survive the political changes in Russia, more than 25 years ago. Both men had been strongly influenced by Newton and Darwin, understanding that motion and change are basic to all life processes.

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Motion and change are clearly absent here, except with the red-coated admirer.

Danger! White Light

Between the River Crouch and the River Thames in Essex a footpath leaves the land at a place called Wakering Stairs and heads due east, straight out to sea.

p04p1fl9.jpgSeveral hundred metres offshore it curls northeast and runs in this direction for around 5kms, still offshore, before cutting back to make landfall at Fisherman’s Head, the uppermost tip of a large, low-lying and little-known marshy island called Foulness.

p04p1g0t.jpgThis is the Broomway, allegedly “the deadliest” path in Britain,

p04p1dr7.jpgand certainly the unearthliest path. It gets covered by the tide twice a day and usually these rise and fall more quickly than most human explorers. The Broomway is thought to have killed more than 100 people over the centuries; it seems likely that there were other victims whose fates went unrecorded. Sixty-six of its dead are buried in the little Foulness churchyard; the other bodies were not recovered.

p04p1cj8.jpgEdwardian newspapers, alert to the path’s reputation, rechristened it “The Doomway”.

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The Broomway is known as the most perilous path in Britain – and is a favourite walk of writer Robert Macfarlane, who describes it in his book The Old Ways.

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The path leads towards a white light.