## Thursday, 24 November 2016

### The IBA prize for applied nuclear science

I noticed today in the electronic newsletter from the European Physical Society that the call for nominations for the IBA prize is mentioned there.  The prize is sponsored by the IBA company, whose business is in proton therapy, and it is awarded to one or several individuals for outstanding contributions to applied nuclear science including nuclear methods in medicine.  If any readers of this blog know of anyone that is deserving of the prize, please follow the link above to find the nomination form.  The deadline for nomination is 15th Jan 2017.

You can see a list of previous prizewinners here, and a picture of the last winner, Prof. Salehpour, accompanying this blog post.

## Friday, 18 November 2016

### "Do while" annoyances

Since I'm teaching a computing class this morning, here is a purely computer programming related post.  One of the students was having a problem with his code, using a do-while construct in the Fortran language.  This runs a block of code while a certain condition is true.  Here is a full example program which you can compile with e.g. the free gcc compiler:

PROGRAM dowhile

IMPLICIT NONE
INTEGER :: i, j

i=1
j=2
DO WHILE (i<5)
i=10
j=20
END DO
WRITE(6,*) i, j

END PROGRAM dowhile

Now, the DO WHILE construct says that we run the code between the DO and END DO statements until the variable i is less than 5.  One may wonder, then, in the example, what value of j will be printed after exiting the loop.  If you know the rule that Fortran works by, then you know that the check of the condition i<5 takes place only each time the loop starts, and not continuously, so the line j=20 gets executed even though i<5 is no longer true at that point.  It is perhaps a little counter-intuitive, and can certainly lead to mistakes.  For that reason, I don't teach the DO WHILE construct in the year 1 computing course, but instead  "IF (i<5) exit", which can be inserted wherever in the loop the user wants the test to be done.  Enterprising students will, of course, find out about DO WHILE on the internet and make use of it.

## Thursday, 3 November 2016

### New isotope of lead discovered

Yesterday, the journal Physical Review C published a paper announcing the observation of the isotope 178Pb – an isotope of lead with 96 neutrons and 82 protons.   This ratio of neutrons to protons is pretty extreme for such a heavy element, where the large positive charge of the 82 protons tend to prefer to be padded out with more neutrons than that.  126 neutrons is the number producing the most abundant isotope, so the one just discovered in a reaction at the laboratory at Jyväskylä University in Finland has an amazing 30 neutrons fewer than that most stable isotope.  At the other end of the scale, the heaviest lead isotope so far observed is 220Pb, with 138 neutrons.

The lead (no pun intended) author on the discovery paper is a PhD student, originally from Syria, who is studying at Jyväskylä.  Well done to all involved!

### Books: An update

At the end of 2015 I posted about the books that I head read during the year.  I resolved to read more in 2016, and have managed to do it.  I expect I'll give a mini-review of them all at the end of the year here on the blog, and you can get a sneak preview on the Goodreads website, if you really want to.

As I noted in the 2015 post, I actually read loads of books, in the form of books for toddlers.  I can't realistically keep track of all such books I read, but for one month, in October, I attempted to do so.  Here is the list:

Miffy
Miffy at school
My First Numbers
Peppa’s Easter egg hunt
The Fire Engine
Peppa’s Gym Class
Peppa’s Pumpkin Party
Mum’s New Hat
The Golden Touch
Ouch!
The Monster Hunt
Funny Fish
Poor Old Rabbit
I Can Trick a Tiger
Missing!
Little Miss Sunshine and the Wicked Witch
Little Miss Naughty and the Good Fairy
Danger Dragon
Hungry Floppy
The Spaceship
Missing!
Floppy and the Bone
Girls' Potty Time
Mr. Nobody
Mr Topsy Turvy
Mr Messy
Mr Tumble's Sunny Day
The black and white baby book animals
Bunny and Bee can't sleep
My First Trucks
Mr Grumble
Mr Perfect
Poor old rabbit!
I can trick a Tiger
The Monster Hunt
Ouch!
Missing!
The old tree stump
The spaceship
My very noisy digger
Hungry Floppy
Silly Races
Funny Fish
Mum's New Hat
Floppy and the Bone
Dragon Danger
Blue chameleon
Numbers
Frieda and Bear
Hello Kitty first words
Winter
Guess how much I love you
Hello Kitty first words
Winter
Hello Kitty first words
Picnic Time
The snowman
Silly races
Funny Fish
Mums new hat
Hungry floppy
The spaceship
The old tree stump
missing!
Spike the spider
Baby Animals
Peppa favourite things
Peppa at home
Peppa at playgroup
peppa's garden
Peppa's Friends
Peppa's family
Looking After Gran
Guess How Much I Love You
Winter
Hello Kitty First Words
Spike The Spider
Baby Animals
I can treat a tiger
The monster hunt
Dragon danger
Floppy and the bone
Miffy is crying
Miffy at the seaside
Miffy the fairy
Miffy at the zoo
Miffy and the new baby
Spike the Spider
Hello Kitty First Words
The Golden Touch
Picnic Time
Funny fish
Silly Races
The snowman
Bod's Dream
Bod and the cherry tree
Peppa's new neighbours
Peppa at playgroup
Peppa's friends
Peppa at home
Peppa's favourite things
Peppa's garden
Peppa's family
Lines that wiggle
Zog
Meg and Mog
The golden touch
Mountain rescue
Looking after gran
Hello Kitty first words
Owl babies
Owl babies
Zog
Mr lazy
The very hungry caterpillar
The story of the little mole who knew it was none of his business
Mr noisy
Spot loves bedtime
Jack and the Beanstalk
Aye aye
Jack and the beanstalk
Meg and Mog
Spot goes to school
Where's Spot?
Spot's First Christmas
Zog
The golden touch
The hairy-scary monster
Pip and Posy The Snowy Day
Pip and Posy The Big Balloon
Dentist Trip
Poor old rabbit
I can trick a tiger
The monster hunt
Dragon danger
Floppy and the bone
Spot says good night