Chemistry = ‘blowing st**f up!’

If you have not yet familiarised yourself with the physicist Jim Al-khalili (you need to get out more), let me introduce him with a question:

“Is time-travel possible?”

I seem to hear a resounding ‘no’ from an audience I cannot see nor hear. Well, in fact, theoretically (my theoretical audience) you are…wrong.

Let us first start with how time travel could in fact happen by:

1). travelling at a speed close to the speed of light

2). jumping through a wormhole.

Now Einstein’s equation, E=mc2 (energy = mass x the speed of light2), tells us that space and time are inextricably linked (space-time), that mass itself can bend space, therefore time.


This helps to explain both 1) and 2). By travelling at the speed of light you can ‘slow’ time down (only works for travelling into the future) and by travelling through a wormhole you can bend time.

phy2Yet, once you travel back in time, can you not wreak havoc on the future you just came from? A paradox can occur. You may try and meet your parents only to find that your mother has a crush on you… and you must now kindle the romance between your parents. Yet, this can all be solved by parallel universes. As you travel back in time, you do not travel to ‘your’ past time, but a parallel universe’s (so you cannot destroy your future (theoretically)), so for this to continually work (and for the universes not to meet each other, as you repeatedly go back in time) there must be an infinite number of universes.


Ok. Let me ask you another question (posed by Professor Andrea Sella):

‘Why do zebras have stripes?’

For camouflage? No. Pretty sure I can see a white and black striped t-shirt whilst playing laser-tag…

Another question:

‘How do zebras have stripes?’

Ah, DNA you say? Yes. DNA has encoded within it the instructions to build cells. Yes? This is where the stripes come from? No. It is not simply the DNA that makes these stripes, but the proteins in the DNA coming together and reacting to form the zebra stripe. Chemistry then, not Biology is the real reason.

Chemistry is not all about blowing st**f up.

Now, you are probably wondering why one would write this article. Well, I am glad you asked, my theoretical audience. On 2nd March the L5th all went on a school trip to Symphony Hall. Field Trip! Yay! Yes. We got to miss a whole day of school to listen to lecturers speak about science (If only all days were like that). Oh and JIM AL-KHALILI was there! There were other speakers: Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Sky At Night), Dr. Simon Singh and Professor Lord Robert Winston, each speaking on their respective field.

Those older than I, look on this with nostalgic thoughts. Those younger, be glad you still have time…

Probably should mention the GCSE chief examiner of science was there…

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