Thursday, 9 June 2016

Oak House Family Day 2016

Welcome to family day 

(Saturday 11th of June)

If it isn't the 11th yet then keep reading.....

On family day the labs (Drosophila, Gaudí and Marie Curie) will be a hive of activity.

There will be demonstration experiments (all the messy, loud and explosive ones).

There will be hands on experiments that you can try (you know you want to touch the Van der Graaf and see if your hair stands up on end!)

There will be Lego robots for you to try and control.

A lots of examples of the work that our Science students do during the course of the academic year.

Come and see us from 10:00 until 13:30. Try out a few experiments. Come and have a chat! There will be something there for everyone!

See you there!

(Look for the tree.....!)

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

New technique produces real randomness

Ask a computer to pick a random number and you’ll probably get a response that isn’t completely unpredictable. Because they are deterministic automatons, computers struggle to generate numbers that are truly random. But a new advance on a method known as a randomness extractor makes it easier for machines to roll the dice, generating truly random numbers by harvesting randomness from the environment.

Supplied by Alex A. 3º B

Control a computer with your tongue?

This article talks about how Emma, a 12th grader at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville,
Canada. She has made a tongue-controlled computer mouse that could fit in a paralyzed patient's
mouth. She used the mouth guards that football players use and modified it by making 5 holes, this
acts as a mouse four of the switches are for going up, down, left and right. The fifth switch acts as
a button as if you were cliking. This could help paralyzed people in the future to be able to use a

Supplied by Guillem D. 3ºY

After a long a long day of photosynthesizing, do trees fall asleep?

It depends on how you define "sleep," it has been proven that trees do relax their branches at night, which might be a sign of snoozing, scientists said. To discover this researchers set up lasers that measured the movements of two silver birch trees (Betula pendula) at night. One tree was in Finland and the other in Austria, and both were monitored from dusk until morning on dry, windless nights in September for movements created by the environments to be the minimum possible. This was close to the solar equinox, when daylight and night time are about equal.The laser scanners used infrared light to illuminate different parts of the tree, each for fractions of a second. This provided enough detail to map each tree within minutes, the researchers said.

The silver birches' branches and leaves sagged at night; they reached their lowest position a few hours before sunrise, and then perked up again during the wee hours of the morning, the researchers found.
So if this is considered a form of sleep, trees after all might sleep after dark, according to precise laser measurements that detected the plants' branches drooping at night.
Eetu Puttonen said: "Our results show that the whole tree droops during night, which can be seen as position change in leaves and branches,", "The changes are not too large, only up to 10 centimeters [4 inches] for trees with a height of about 5 meters [16 feet]."

It's unclear if the sun "woke up" the trees or if they relied on their own internal circadian rhythm, the researchers said. But "the fact that some branches started returning to their daytime position already before sunrise would suggest this.The finding isn't too surprising, but oddly enough it hadn't been studied until now, the researchers said. Most living organisms have day and night circadian rhythms, and any gardener will notice that some plants open their flowers in the morning and that some trees close their leaves at night.

Supplied by Carol Mar. 3º Y


The "Schrödinger's cat" experiment was created by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 and demonstrates superposition in quantum theory. It proves that the conflict between what quantum theory tells us, where we know the nature and behaviour of matter, and what we observe to be true all depends on what we see with our eyes. This is due to the fact that we never know the actual truth of what the behaviour of the matter is until we see it with our own eyes.

The experiment consists in placing a living cat into a steel chamber that has a vial containing a very small amount of hydrocyanic acid inside. If the acid decays it causes a mechanism to release a hammer which will to break the vial and therefore kill the cat.

The observer, on the other hand, will never know if the acid has decayed and released the hammer and therefore won't be able to prove if the cat is dead or alive. Here the quantum law states that the cat is dead and alive at the same time, this is called superposition of states. Meaning that we only know for sure the behaviour and state of the cat once we open the chamber. Once we do so the superposition is lost as the cat then will either be alive or dead but not both. This can be called "observer's paradox" where there are no true results if observation isn't used.

It has even been proven that superposition happens at the subatomic level as a particle can be in more than one place at once. In conclusion, this experiment shows how even though we may predict the behaviour of matter, we will never be truly able to predict it's state until we use observation. Meaning that during the period of time while various results can be possible (cat being alive or dead) all of the results are happening at once (superposition) until we observe the matter (open the chamber) and superposition is lost.

by Clara N. 3ºY


"The season a person is born in influences a wide range of things: from risk of allergic disease, to height and lifespan. Yet little is known about how a one-time exposure like the season of birth has such lasting effects."
This was said by researchers at the University of Southampton and although they don't have complete answers, they are one step closer to understanding how one's season of birth is linked to risks of allergy later in life.

Finnish scientists tested about 1000 children born between 2001 and 2006 in southeast Finland for sensitisation to food allergens up to the age of 4.

Results showed that the children that ended their first three months of development during April and May, were three times more likely to become allergic to milk and eggs than kids in the same stage of development in the winter. And those born in fall or winter have higher levels of antibodies to allergies than babies born in the summer. This could be because of the timing of the baby’s first chest infection as colds tend to be more common in winter and therefore more antibodies are produced, or because of the levels of allergens such as pollen and house dust mite which vary by season.

Other theories include seasonal variations in sunlight, which could affect vitamin D levels, and maternal diet as price and availability of fruit and vegetables vary by season.

The study is published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

By Inés L. 3º B

Octopi are climate change resistant

Scientists think that climate change might be helping octopi as they are able to adapt to it.
scientists call cephalopods weeds of the sea, as they have a unique set of biological
evolutionary traits, including rapid growth, short. And others such as long. Lifespans and
flexible development. In 1951 reasercher's started too look for big fish in all the oceans ,
they found big octopuses in the pacific ocean in australia, researches all so found big
bunches of predators but even though.

Andrea M. 3º Y