Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Richard Thomson's “Tour de London” … the 2014 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey (100) 86

It was very, very, very wet! The decision was made early in the morning to cut out the climbs of Box Hill and Leith Hill and their potentially dangerous descents under conditions of torrential rain and surface water. This was not well-received by the entrants, at least those club cyclists like us who wanted the challenge. I believe there was about 25mm of rain in a few hours; it was hard to see at times. At some points my shoes were underwater as I pedalled. Our group left the start (at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) at 07:05 and I finished some 5:15 hours later in front of Buckingham Palace. I had 3 “pit stops” totalling 20 mins and one involuntary stop of 15 mins following a puncture. This seemed to be when the rain was at its worst about half way around the course at a small village called Ripley (not sure I want to go there again!). Knowing the support committed helped keep me going but also I was passing so many other riders. I'm sure they were all thinking, "how come this old guy on a bike with mudguards and a mirror is overtaking me"! There were people all along the course cheering all the riders along and of the 24,000 entrants, around 20,700 completed the course.
My club (Boxford Bike Club) had 34 starters who all finished, in a range of times between 4h5m to 6h45m. (I was 14th and of course without the puncture might have been faster … but others probably had punctures or other issues too). Soon after I had gone under the Admiralty Arch and entered the Mall, I spotted my wife Penny and son Jonathan (he had flown in from Berlin early that morning to share the day with us) who had been tracking my position during the morning. My fundraising page for Epilepsy Research UK is still open. To boost the generous contributions, RTA Instruments is adding £10 for each donation made as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme. We look forward to your support.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Tour de London

As mentioned last month, Richard Thomson, is taking part in a 100 mile (160 km) cycle event on 10th August, on closed roads through and around London. He is raising funds for Epilepsy Research UK, a small charity focused specifically on research projects to help understand the causes, treatments and prevention of epilepsy. To boost the generous contributions, RTA Instruments is adding £10 for each donation made as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme. We look forward to your support.

How to win a Tour de France sprint

RTA's Richard Thomson might find some tips here for his next cycling effort ...

2014 R&D 100 Award Winners

Including some good winners from our partner Thermo Fisher Scientific. The full list is here.

Solar steam

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun.

Intellectual jokes

So-called "Intellectual jokes"

Man in the moon?

No, but perhaps Caveman in the moon.

Smallest force yet

42 yoctonewtons

Buy them at the charity shop

A Brief History of Time and other unread books

Japan makes big conductor

The National Institute for Fusion Science in Japan has achieved an electrical current of 100,000 amperes using yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes to fabricate a large-scale magnet conductor.

Top Swiss cheese

Switzerland has the top spot in the Global Innovation Index for the fourth year. The annual rankings this year focused on the role people play in the innovation process, found that Switzerland along with Britain, Sweden and Finland, had strong support systems that led to high levels of creativity.

Want a second hand reactor?

Veeco Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq: VECO) has formed a strategic partnership with Agnitron Technology, Inc., a focused compound semiconductor research and development company specializing in the refurbishment and upgrade of Veeco legacy metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) equipment - see more information here.

Chinese LED market

China’s investments in light-emitting diode manufacturing capacity are showing effect with China’s MLS Electronics entering the top ten of the global market for the first time, according to IHS Technology.

Public funding science

The number and scale of potential research projects tend to exceed the funding available. Increasingly scientists are looking at novel routes to raise money. Some US scientists are using crowdfunding and soliciting private donations to supplement or replace the more traditional funding routes. Scientific philanthropists may like to look at some projects seeking funds on here.

Big Blue big spend

IBM has announced a plan to invest $3 billion over the next five years to meet the requirements of cloud computing and big data systems. The first research program is aimed at '7 nanometre and beyond’ silicon technology that will address the physical challenges that are threatening current semiconductor scaling techniques and impeding the ability to manufacture ICs. The second is focused on developing alternative technologies for post-silicon era devices. Quantum computing, neurosynaptic computing, III-V technologies and graphene are amongst the technologies being targeted.