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Tetrahedral Kite, Beamish

As part of Beamish Museum’s ‘Wind in Your Sails’ event, visitors today helped us make this amazing tetrahedral kite. It’s constructed from drinking straws, survival blanket, fishing line, and tape (OK, and a couple of cheeky lengths of dowelling to reinforce the keel and spine).

Built and flown (…and crashed) in the same day. Huge thanks to everyone who helped out. We hope you enjoyed building this as much as we did.

Alexander Graham Bell

Better-known for inventing the telephone, Scotsman Alexander Graham-Bell was also obsessed with kites. Specifically, box kites based on tetrahedral cells, just like our. There’s a terrific set of photographs of these at Public Domain Review, here’s just a taster:

Alexander Graham-Bell's 64-cell tetrahedral kite.

Alexander Graham-Bell’s 64-cell tetrahedral kite. Public domain.

Looks familiar?

Sunday

One of the neat features of this design is that it works at several different scales. If you think of the single tetrahedron as being one ‘cell’, then a 4-cell kite will fly pretty well. A 16-cell kite flies really well. Even in the gusty wind at Beamish, on Sunday Carol and Antonio managed this:

Thanks for all your help!

See you this week? Timandra Harkness on Big Data and SUN at Life

This week we’ve not one but two outstanding opportunities to get your dose of fascinating, curious and very-slightly-sideways science:

  • On Thursday, broadcaster, writer and comedian Timandra Harkness gives the finale of our Physics Matters! series of public lectures, on Big Data. 6:30pm, Ellison Building, Northumbria campus: full details and tickets here. These talks are aimed at sixth-formers, but all are welcome. Free, but please register.
  • On Friday, as part of the Friday Night Life event at the Life Science Centre, poet Katrina Porteous and composer Peter Zinovieff present the premiere of their work ‘SUN’. The Chronicle have a lovely write-up, and full details are on Life’s website, where you can also buy tickets. Over-18s only.

We’re very much looking forward to both events, and we’ll hope to see you at one or both.

Your Universe: Explored

Explore your UniverseOne of the projects Think Physics is partnered with is Explore Your Universe, a national campaign celebrating the physical sciences and run by the Association for Science & Discovery Centres and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. We’re delivering a range of workshops and activities, and on Saturday we capped off a frenetic  British Science Week by hosting a family science show here in Think Lab:

This was the first time we’ve used Think Lab as a performance space like this, and it seemed to work pretty well. Thanks to everyone who came, and we’ll keep you posted on future public events.

 

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