1,000,000 degrees with a chance of solar flares: a Pint of Science solar weather report

Solar flare. Image provided by Author. Credit: NASA

 

Mendeley is proud to be partnering with Pint of Science for the third year running.

 

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog, featuring speakers from across all Pint of Science themes. You can follow along on our blog under the tag PintofScience17 or on Twitter under the hashtag #pint17.

Matthew Allcock

Matthew Allcock is previewing his talk/weather report “1,000,000 degrees with a chance of solar flares,” which you can attend on 17 May The Holt Cafe in Sheffield

Matthew (@matthew_allcock) is a PhD Student in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield. You can follow his work on Mendeley or on his personal website.

 

 

What is the biggest threat to the UK? The UK has a continually updated list of events that pose a catastrophic risk to our society, which includes events such as major terror attacks and flooding due to climate change. High on this list is severe space weather.

Why do such solar weather events occur?

Space weather encompasses the effects that charged particles ejected from the Sun have on the Earth. From satellite malfunction to large-scale power shortages, the volatile Sun poses a significant threat to modern society. The Sun waxes and wanes through a cycle of fluctuating activity with a period of approximately 11 years. During ‘solar maximum’, magnetic activity on the Sun is at its most violent. Tubes of plasma the size of the Moon, shaped by the Sun’s intense magnetic field, rise from the deep solar interior and penetrate the surface. Where these tubes break the surface, we see what are known as sunspots: near-circular dark regions that can be many times the size of Earth.

These magnetic tubes can also dramatically elevate tonnes of hot plasma from the bubbling surface to the high solar atmosphere, known as the corona, and remain in a semi-stable state. Energy stored in the magnetic field near the Sun’s surface builds up as these magnetic tubes are buffeted from below by convection currents until this energy can be stored no longer and is released as an ultra-bright solar flare. This blast can destabilise the elevated plasma, dynamically releasing it as a stream of charged particles, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), into interplanetary space.

Are we prepared for the next major solar event?

The mid 1800s saw an anomalously active period for the Sun. In September 1859, amateur astronomer Richard Carrington was completing his daily observations of the solar surface when he noticed a blurry brightening around a sunspot. This was the first observation confirming the existence of solar flares and is the largest solar flare in recorded history. It triggered a huge CME that headed straight for Earth. In the hours following this sighting, a huge geomagnetic storm was detected and people witnessed the northern lights phenomenon as far south as Colombia.

What would be the impact of a Carrington Event today? Satellites rely on a complex system of intricate electronics. If a CME hits a satellite, induced electrical currents can cause short-circuits that can disrupt the operation of the satellite. A large CME hitting Earth induces ground-based electrical currents which can short-circuit power stations and cause blackouts and damage to electrical transformers. Had the Carrington Event occurred today, the financial impact of the predicted large-scale blackout is estimated to be upwards of £1 trillion. Blasts from solar flares and CMEs cause waves to propagate along the surface and in the atmosphere of the Sun.

In my research, I use these waves to probe solar structures and understand what makes them erupt by combining mathematical models of magnetic structures with the latest solar observations. It is all incredibly difficult to forecast.

 

Mendeley partners with Pint of Science Festival

Pint Of Science is back and only 3 weeks away!

Mendeley is proud to be partnering with Pint of Science for the third year running. This year, we are sponsoring “Atoms to Galaxies” events across the UK.

The last two years of the festival have been a massive success, and we feel passionate about the Pint of Science mission to bring research to the public, and give a chance for academics to present their work. You can have a Pint of Science at 26 cities across the UK this year!

Our partnership represents our hope to help grow the event so more people can hear about the vast and amazing research happening in our galaxy — and beyond.

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog, featuring speakers from across all Pint of Science themes.

You can follow along on our blog under the tag PintofScience17 or on Twitter under the hashtag #pint17.

Cheers!

Mendeley celebrates Ada Lovelace Day: Get your free poster!

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Today is Ada Lovelace Day! Today we, along with the rest of the world, honor the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in STEM fields.

For today only (Tuesday, 11 October), we are giving away a limited edition of our Women in STEM poster, by artist and scientist Claudia Stocker. Email mendeley-community@mendeley.com and we will mail you the poster, anywhere* in the world. Please include your full name, mailing address, and phone number in the email, otherwise we can not send your poster. Entries accepted until the end of day (which is actually 11:00 GMT on 12 October, to accommodate the whole globe!)

We’re participating online, with short videos highlighting women in STEM careers who work with us at Mendeley, in hopes of being role models to encourage more girls to go into STEM careers. Follow our Twitter and Facebook and see what others are sharing under #ALD16.

Liked our short videos and want to see more? Check out our more in-depth Women in STEM series on YouTube:

 

*We will do our best to send it to your country. Occasionally, we have issues with customs in certain countries.

Win a pair of tickets to Ada Lovelace Day Live in London!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU!

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We’re happy and proud to sponsor and contribute to Ada Lovelace Day, held annually on 11 October. Mendeley is sponsoring the Ada Lovelace Day Live!, an annual celebration of the achievements of women in STEM. Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer, and a perfect figurehead to represent women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field.

The event features an inspiring line up of seven women from across the UK STEM world — design engineer Yewande Akinola, planetary physicist Dr Sheila Kanani, science writer Dr Kat Arney, developer Jenny Duckett, mathematician Dr Sara Santos, computational biologist Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, and climate scientist Dr Anna Jones — each of whom will be giving a ten minute talk about their work. The evening is being compèred by the fabulous Helen Keen.

Mendeley is offering two pairs of tickets to attend this incredible event*, held this year at the IET, Savoy Place, in London at 6:30p.m. on Tuesday 11 October. This contest is now closed. Two names will be drawn at random. Want to make sure you secure your place or need more tickets? Tickets are £20 general entry and £5 concessions, and are available from Eventbrite.

We will also be participating in the worldwide celebrations by interviewing and highlighting women in STEM careers here at Mendeley! Follow our Twitter and Facebook this week and next for new contests, interesting facts and links, and brief interviews. Get a headstart with our Women in STEM series on YouTube:

 

*Prize is for event entry only. Contest winners are responsible for their own transportation and stay in London.

Ask science anything with #MendeleyWall @ New Scientist Live 22-25th September

If I could ask science anything…

Mendeley is inviting attendees of New Scientist Live to ask our community, and the wider scientific world, all their deep burning questions about science! Mendeley’s mission is to help researchers showcase their work to the world and this is a great opportunity to connect researchers and experts with the general public.

We’ll be collecting people’s questions through the medium of a message wall and Tweeting questions to our 15,000 followers using #MendeleyWall during the whole New Scientist Live event (22th – 25th September).

We’re at stand number 1224 near the Brains & Body demonstration area, so if you are attending come and say hi!

Besides the Great Mendeley Wall, our stand will feature hands-on science and technology activities. All the activities follow our Mendeley Hack Day idea in that they are reproducible and accessible to DIY.

Learn how to build a smartphone microscope, see and feel microscopic objects made tangible by our 3D printer, try some coding projects, and learn more about Citizen Science and how you can get involved with research!

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We invite you, to use us as conduit for connecting with the New Scientist Live audience (an expected 25,000 attendees) by helping answer #MendeleyWall questions via Twitter, and hopefully inspiring people to walk away with a newly-ignited passion for science. We’ll be aligning topics with the New Scientist Live core themes, so expect questions on Earth, Cosmos, Technology, and Brain & Body.

To find out more about the #MendeleyWall and how you can get involved please feel free to reach out to jonathan.beyer@mendeley.com to discuss, please keep an eye on #MendeleyWall during the show and jump in if you see a question that you can answer!

Or if you have any questions you’d like answered comment down below.

There are still discount tickets available for the event here.

Follow us on social media to keep up to date
https://twitter.com/mendeley_com
https://www.facebook.com/mendeley

Save up to £9 on New Scientist Live tickets!

New Scientist Live – the UK’s biggest festival of ideas and inspiration, launches this September and Mendeley will be joining in the fun with some special activities on the show floor!!!

New Scientist Live is 22 – 25 September 2016, at ExCeL London.

The inaugural New Scientist Live event, courtesy of the team behind the world’s most popular science weekly, is a four-day festival of ideas and discovery taking place at ExCeL London.

Rooted in the biggest, best and most provocative science that touches all areas of human life, the show will feature over 100 exhibitors, 120 speakers (inc. Tim Peake & Dara O Briain), 5 theatres and 4 immersive zones covering Brain & Body, Technology, Earth and The Cosmos to showcase how science, technology and engineering drive our economy, shape our culture and improve our lives.

You’ll be able to find us at stand 1224 in the Brain & Body zone, full details of what Mendeley’s activities on the day will be announced soon!

For further information and the timetable of the talks taking place visit www.newscientistlive.com.

Book your place now and save

As a friend of Mendeley, you can get an exclusive discounted rate on tickets*

Book £40 VIP tickets (giving you guaranteed access to the Main Stage talks) on Thursday or Friday of the event – a saving of £5 per ticket

Or, book standard admission tickets on Thursday or Friday at the show for just £20 – saving £9 per ticket on the door rate

Tickets for Saturday or Sunday at the show are just £22.50 – saving £6.50 per ticket on the door rate

To book, quote MEND16 on the booking page at www.newscientistlive.com or call 0844 581 1295

Children 12 and under go free when accompanied by an adult

*transaction fee applies, must be booked by midnight 21/9/16

Why do we need Energy Storage in Buildings?

aKdV8MM-Pint Of Science 2016 begins tonight (23/05)! To get you excited Andreas Georgakarakos (@andrewGRK) kindly previewed his forthcoming talk “Why do we need Energy Storage in Buildings?” at The Doctor’s Orders, Sheffield on the 24/05. Check out our other preview pieces too!

Andreas is a Mechanical & Environmental Engineer, PhD Researcher at Energy Storage CDT, University of Sheffield.

The Energy Trilemma (security of supply, low-carbon production and affordability) is driving a trend toward electrification of the UK energy market. The increasing proportion of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) will result in stochastic supply whilst electrification of demand requires a more certain supply. Hence supply is less assured but growth of demand requires a greater level of assurance. The role of the Smart Grid is therefore to balance these competing requirements. Systems theory suggests that by aligning all sub-systems to common goals the overall system gains.

Therefore, Smart Grids need to interact with edge systems such as buildings. Non-domestic buildings have great potential to be utilised by the Smart Grid in managing energy demand. The functional characteristics of a building designed to work as a sub-system within a wider smart grid to achieve the overall goal of addressing the energy trilemma are:

  • The extent that the building can change its energy demand following a request;
  • How the extent varies as a function of the notification period;
  • How this varies with the external climate and internal loads.

There are expected to be financial incentives for buildings to respond to Smart Grid events over different time periods. This will necessitate the design of buildings that are financially optimised to work cooperatively within a Smart Grid ecosystem. Buildings will benefit from the ability to modify their energy use in response to Smart Grid events. It is anticipated that a Smart Grid Optimised Building (SGOB) will have particular characteristics relating to its energy storage (electrical and thermal) differs significantly from low carbon or low energy buildings.

RESThe definitions of the capability of buildings to alter their demand in line with the wider Smart Grid goals would allow Buildings to enter the energy market as a storage vector. Furthermore, the approach to quantifying SGOB in light of dynamic pricing should increase the clarity surrounding the role of energy storage technologies through development of the understanding of their economic value in relation to the temporal aspect of energy storage to the function and goals of Smart Grids.

This project will explore the hypothesis that the storage characteristics of buildings will play a crucial role in ensuring that they function as an effective sub-system a Smart Grid environment. It will seek to define at what scale, using what technology and distributed in what manner should storage be located in buildings and how is this influenced by the evolutionary state of the wider smart grid.

Currently, there are no universally accepted definitions for the different classifications of buildings. For example, while there is an increasing literature concerning smart buildings, there is no justified definition of what a smart building. Most approaches support that smart buildings integrate intelligence, enterprise, control and materials & construction as an entire building system, with adaptability, not reactivity, in order to meet the drivers for building progression: energy and efficiency, longevity and comfort”. Similarly, a proper definition for SGOBs has yet to be established.

Tickets for Pint Of Science talks are selling fast, so get over to through their official website to grab some.

Mendeley is extremely excited to be partnering with Pint of Science for the second year running! This year, we are sponsoring “Atoms to Galaxies” events across the UK, and Mendeley API & Mendeley Data are co-sponsoring “Tech Me Out” events. Last year was a massive success, and we feel passionate about the Pint of Science mission to bring research to the public, and give a chance for academics to present their work. We hope to help grow the event so more people can hear about the vast and amazing research happening in our galaxy — and beyond.