Category Archives: News

Starmus Festival Tenerife June 20-24 2001

Not many entries lately as I have just attended the Starmus Festival in Tenerife.  Apart from luminaries such as Neil Armstrong and Alexei Leonov being present  – there was also a 2 and a half hour Tangerine Dream concert with Brian May as guest artist.  A truly amazing experience all round and I will be posting some images from the Starmus week that capture the “Scientific Artist” spirit over the next few days or so.

Egypt’s Lost Cities

Did you happen to watch Egypt’s Lost Cities on BBC1 last Monday night?  Infrared imaging via satellite was used to locate buried buildings/tombs in Egypt.  There was also a brief appearance by John Romer.  Spooky synchronicity at work here 🙂

Over 10 years ago I entered into correspondence with John Romer (sending letters to Tuscany in Italy) telling him about my idea of using infrared imaging via satellite to locate lost tombs in the Valley of the Kings.  Why didn’t I just get on and do it myself?  Because you need local  “on the ground” knowledge to weed out the imaging artifacts (errors) as was shown in the programme.

The programme also showed that my idea from way back then works (of course) and it works pretty well too.  I’m surprised they didn’t do a lot more analysis of the Valley of the Kings area though as there are known to be several unfound tombs in that region.


Structural colour

The irridescent blue seen in this macrophoto of a Morpho Rhetenor butterfly is due to structural colour – not  pigment.  The butterfly’s wing scales have microstructure which act like a specialised diffraction grating, so it is an interference/diffraction grating effect that gives the striking blue colour – visible over a wide range of angles.  It is in fact an example of a natural photonic crystal structure – something that I researched for a few years at the University of Southampton.  Possibly one of the most impressive Icons of Science meeting Art 🙂

See my 20-page Review Article titled “Biomimetically Inspired Photonic Nanomaterials” for more information.