The National Botanic Garden of Wales was opened in May 2000. The garden is located by Llanartheny in the Towy Valley, Carmarthenshire. The garden is both a visitor attraction and a centre for scientific botanic research and conservation. It has the world’s largest single-span glasshouse designed by Lord Foster measuring 110m in length and 60 metres in width. The glasshouse has the best display of Mediterranean climate zone plants in the Northern Hemisphere.
Since 2000 over 2.5 million people have visited the garden in order to view and learn about the plants and its scientific research projects linked to conservation. The garden has an amazing collection of over 8000 different plant varieties spread over 560 acres of countryside.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales is leading the way for the DNA barcoding of plants. Wales was the first nation in the world to DNA all of its native flowering plants and conifers. This information provides scientists with a huge resource to research into biodiversity conservation and human health through the Barcode of Life Database. It will be possible to compare unknown DNA sequences in the database in order to find out what plant they have come from.
The DNA barcoding activity undertaken at the garden has a number of potential applications to help scientists in the future. Examples include the following.
The scientific work undertaken at the garden is recognised on a national and international stage. Currently the are busy DNA barcoding the rest of UK flora and are involved in international projects on rainforest ecology.
Why not take the opportunity to visit the gardens to see for yourself?
Drones are very popular and are used to do all sorts of things. They are used for fun and for professional work.
Amazon is the largest web retail company in the world and is developing a delivery service using drones. Here are some of the things you should know about the Amazon Prime Air drone service.
Cross between helicopter and aeroplane!
Like a helicopter, drones move vertically at take-off and landing. Like an aeroplane, they move horizontally when travelling. Drones can reach an altitude of 100 metres and a speed of 100kph. But they have to return to base after each trip to recharge.
The company has demonstrated what some delivery gadgets will look like, but we will soon see diversity flying in the air. With a maximum weight of five pounds, don't expect the drone to deliver a weightlifting set or TV to your house!
You will need a ‘heli-pad’ in the garden!
Well, you won't need a huge area of tarmac – that's not practical – but there are special landing mats with the company logo at its centre available. The mat helps guide the drone to a safe and smooth lading place. The landing mat is small and lightweight, so easy to move and store.
The drones won’t fly much higher than the top of the Wembley Stadium arch so there will be no danger of disrupting real aeroplanes and helicopters. But they are likely to encounter a few birds! Fortunately, thanks to their "sense and avoid" technology that uses cameras and sensors, the drone will be able to side-step our feathered friends!
Live close by!
While it all sounds extremely exciting, the service is not all roses. Like your phone and tablet, there's a weakness that impairs performance – battery life! If you don't live within a few miles of the company's distribution centre don't expect your purchases to land neatly in your back garden any time soon!
We have all heard of fake news. Some stories from the world of science are so ridiculous that they sound like fake news. Here are four stories... but which really are fake?
Using wee to grow tomatoes in space!
German scientists are investigating ways to grow food in space including recycling human urine to grow tomato plants!
A 3D printer usually uses materials such as nylon, plastic, ceramics and metals to print. But scientists have been experimenting with... cheese! They have successfully printed a small sample of cheese. Perhaps, one day in the future there will be a 3D printer in everyone's kitchen!
Password of mouth!
A team from the Department of Computer Science at a university in Hong Kong has developed the technology to use lip movement to create a password. The biometric technology is so clever and detailed, this type of password will probably be the safest.
It is likely that an owl's eye lens can be transplanted into human eyes to improve night vision. The technology is being developed for soldiers in the USA.
Colours are part of our everyday lives and part of all aspects including our way of thinking. Can you imagine the world without the colour green for example? We associate colours with things, food, nature, even feelings. Some of these connections occur without us even thinking about them. There are many studies on how we interpret colours and what colour represents.
This is a fun experiment to test how your brain copes with colours and words. Most people can read a word faster than recognising the colour. Test yourself by trying to list the colour of the words below rather than reading the word. Time how quickly you can list them correctly.
Colours are often associated with emotion. Some connections have now become clichés e.g. "seeing red" implies that someone has become angry, or green is associated with jealousy. But we must remember that everyone is different when it comes to feelings and emotions. There are scientific studies of all kinds made on colours, about colours and with colours.
The light we see is made up of different colours. Our eyes can detect only three colours: red, green and blue. By combining the three colours we can see many different colours!
By mixing red light and green light, we are able to see the colour yellow. If we mix the three together we see a white light.
Remember that the scientist's primary colours differ from the artist's primary colours. Why?
I hope you are well. I thought I’d share my great idea with you. What do you think of the idea of lenses in your eyes that can read a text message? But more than that, when you meet someone you like, by double-blinking the lens recognises the 'like'. When you’re doing your work during the day other people can identify how many have 'liked' you digitally. As well as that, you can see how many of your friends 'like' you. If you have a bad day and only 5 ‘likes’ people can avoid you to leave you in peace. I don't just want social media but a social LIFE. Do you see eye to eye with me on this?!
North Wales Space Hub
18th November 2020
North Wales is a step closer to receiving funding to develop a 'spaceport'. The UK Government announced that it was to provide funding of £560,000 across seven areas to develop a business hub to support the aerospace industry.
It is hoped that an area near Llanbedr airfield near Harlech in Gwynedd is one of the locations being considered for the 'spaceport' of the future. Welsh Government Business Minister Ken Skates said the funding was an opportunity for Wales to develop opportunities in the aerospace sector and deliver a programme of work to support a National Space Strategy.
Wales is seen as having a distinctive business environment and locations that compare favourably with the rest of Britain. Wales has a strong role in space technology, materials manufacturing for the space industry as well as cutting-edge research that drives the sector in our universities.
Business companies that support the space industry in Great Britain employ around 42,000 people and generate £15 billion of income per year.
The site at Llanbedr has already received £500,000 from the British Space Agency to develop research into methods to launch satellites and drones from the old airfield.
The advantages of the site are:
The British Space Agency hopes to use locations such as Llanbedr to train future astronauts, develop a medical element for the sector, launch satellites, a visitor centre, a planetarium and a hotel.
Over the coming months the Space Agency will be sharing more information with the public. Who knows, you may be the next world-famous astronaut!
3D printing was developed over 40 years ago in the early 1980’s. In 1981 Hideo Kodama a Japanese engineer designed a printer that used a laser beam to create solid objects. With advances in technology, it is now possible to print using food products. Will it be possible to feed the world with a 3D printer in the future?