Molecular Matters

Future Learning Spaces

Michael Edmonds Mar 31, 2014

Last week I attended a two day conference on New Generation Learning Space Design. It was absolutely fascinating hearing from academics, managers, facilities staff and architects about what is currently being done with regards to learning spaces in tertiary institutions. I was also surprised to see that a number of institutions have staff whose job it is to create such … Read More

Sci Fi Friday – Spaceships Quiz

Michael Edmonds Mar 07, 2014

I love science fiction. It takes us into new worlds and can present interesting scientific and ethical dilemmas. And sometimes todays science fiction can become tomorrows scientific fact (e.g. Star Trek communicators) And the spaceships are so cool. While some don’t appear to obey the laws of physics they are awe inspiring as they speed across galaxies, through wormholes and stargates. Read More


Kiwibots – New Zealand Nationals

Michael Edmonds Mar 04, 2014

Over the weekend I attended the Kiwibot Nationals – where high school students from around New Zealand compete against each other to score points using robots they have constructed themselves. It was fantastic fun to attend – what better way for students to get engaged in science/engineering/computer programming. The video below shows the final rounds between two blue team robots … Read More

Key Technology Trends in Tertiary Education

Michael Edmonds Feb 07, 2014

A recent report has outlined significant upcoming trends, challenges and developments in the tertiary sector (none of which unfortunately offer 3D interactive holograms as shown in the picture above – damn!) The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition is the latest in a series of reports prepared by an international body of experts in education, technology and other … Read More


Evolution vs Creationism – Bill Nye vs Ken Ham

Michael Edmonds Feb 06, 2014

On the 4th of February a debate took place at the Creation “museum” in Petersburg, Kentucky pitting popular science writer and TV presenter Bill Nye against Ken Ham, the creationist currently attempting to raise funds for a creationist theme park, complete with ark, in Kentucky. This debate was controversial long before it took place, with many pro-science bloggers suggesting … Read More


Popularising Science based on Reality TV

Michael Edmonds Jan 30, 2014

In the search for new ways to popularise science perhaps it is time to embrace the trend of recent years towards “reality” TV? The last few years have provided a plethora of formats which could be easily adapted to science, for example, Master Researcher Contestants compete in a laboratory environment to complete various tasks with one person being eliminated every week. Read More


Element of the Week – Fluorine

Michael Edmonds Jan 26, 2014

Fluorine is a fascinating element. As a gas consisting of two fluorine atoms bonded to each other it is incredibly reactive, capable of eating into glass and igniting some substances. However, organic compounds (compounds containing carbon) containing fluorine can be incredibly stable, as the carbon fluorine bond is relatively strong. Fluorine is a very small atom compared to most of … Read More

Testing a Hypothesis

Michael Edmonds Jan 26, 2014

Human beings are extremely good at spotting patterns in our environment. This has served us well in terms of survival. For example, being able to identify which colours and shapes of berry are edible or toxic, or which fresh animal poo is that of a predator or of prey would have helped our ancestors make appropriate decisions regarding their survival. Read More


Cutting Edge or Over the Edge?

Michael Edmonds Jan 23, 2014

Those promoting pseudoscience often invoke the Galileo Gambit, claiming that like Galileo they are being persecuted and that in the future they will be vindicated and their radical ideas will be proven to be true. Of course this never happens. But how do we tell the difference between a radical new idea that could be a paradigm changer in science, … Read More