Recalling Experiments Past – Reciting poetry to a flame to see what happens

Somewhere round or about the late 1850s, John Tyndall FRS [* see note below] was developing and perfecting his experiments with “Sensitive Flames”. He describes one such experiment in his book ‘Sounds’ (p. 238). In which he reads a passage of poetry from Edmund Spenser’s ‘Belphœbe the Huntress’ to the flame (which he calls The Vowel-flame) […]

The Kidney Stone of Alderman Adams

The History of Parliament blog detects a connection between Ig Nobel Prize-winning roller-coaster/kidney stone research and, yes, the history of Britain’s parliament: The Kidney Stone of Alderman Adams The link between the Ig Nobel Prize for improbable research and the 1640-1660 Section of the History of Parliament Trust is not immediately obvious; but the Ig Nobel […]

“Ecco il fico” — Barbarossa, the fig, the bite, the thumb, and the mule

The phrase “Ecco il fico” has a particularly ripe meaning, writes Rob Chirico in the Strong Language blog: The year was 1162 when he returned and easily subdued the revolt. According to the chronicler Giambattista Gelli, Frederick [Frederick the First, Holy Roman emperor, also known as “Barbarossa”] got them back for the mule debacle, and then […]