Category: Miscellaneous

The first room-temperature superconductor has finally been found

It’s here: Scientists have reported the discovery of the first room-temperature superconductor, after more than a century of waiting. The compound conducts electricity without resistance up to 15° C, but only under high pressure.

The discovery evokes daydreams of futuristic technologies that could reshape electronics and transportation. Superconductors transmit electricity without resistance, allowing current to flow without any energy loss. But all superconductors previously discovered must be cooled, many of them to very low temperatures, making them impractical for most uses.

Now, scientists have found the first superconductor that operates at room temperature — at least given a fairly chilly room. The material is superconducting below temperatures of about 15° Celsius, physicist Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester in New York and colleagues report October 14 in Nature. However, the new material’s superconducting superpowers appear only at extremely high pressures, limiting its practical usefulness.

Dias and colleagues formed the superconductor by squeezing carbon, hydrogen and sulfur between the tips of two diamonds and hitting the material with laser light to induce chemical reactions. At a pressure about 2.6 million times that of Earth’s atmosphere, and temperatures below about 15° C, the electrical resistance vanished.

Superconductors and magnetic fields are known to clash — strong magnetic fields inhibit superconductivity. Sure enough, when the material was placed in a magnetic field, lower temperatures were needed to make it superconducting. The team also applied an oscillating magnetic field to the material, and showed that, when the material became a superconductor, it expelled that magnetic field from its interior, another sign of superconductivity.

The scientists were not able to determine the exact composition of the material or how its atoms are arranged, making it difficult to explain how it can be superconducting at such relatively high temperatures. Future work will focus on describing the material more completely, Dias says.

When superconductivity was discovered in 1911, it was found only at temperatures close to absolute zero (−273.15° C). But since then, researchers have steadily uncovered materials that super conduct at higher temperatures. In recent years, scientists have accelerated that progress by focusing on hydrogen-rich materials at high pressure.


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Welcome to Animated Science

Dear Readers,

I started Animated Science in 2003 as a small flash based site for my own pupils. I am now serving Science and food based content around the world with an ever increasing footprint. Last year we had 5.4 million hits and nearly 150,000 users.

My site is a non-profit concern and all resources are provided free of charge and should not be commercially exploited in any way.

I also run other content channels in addition to this WordPress based site, please feel free to subscribe and support me. 


Daniel Powell

Animated Science Director









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Cider Making

Cider Making

Key Process (Video Series)

If you click on the video below, I have taken many of the key steps and put onto a playlist on Youtube. I suggest you click “Youtube” and play from there.

Key Equipment

Apples – A lot is talked about in this respect. I think in essence you have to go with what you are growing and what is free. If you have to start buying apples the whole process becomes expensive! However, try and balance of sweet and cooking or tart apples. The balance of sugar and acid are required to give strength and character to a cider. Also to stop it spoiling, you cannot just use a cheap supermarket budget juice!

Scratter – fruit pulper, these are a must, and you are looking to try and pay around no more than £50 for a standard one. They are really a two person job, with one holding the arms on one side as you turn, unless you mount on a very sturdy frame, which unless you  make a lot of cider and no friends is not worth it. Mine is from VidxXL and is 7L but they are also sold in other places too.


Cider Press – these do vary a lot and you can spend a lot of time making one, or sourcing a used one of high quality. I just bought a cheap one from VidaXL 18L for £70 which is good enough. If you can buy a bigger one it will work well if you have massive amounts of fruit. However, I did about 5 pressings for a boot full of apples so no issues really. They come with hardwood battens but take care, they should NOT cost £300 as some online retailers  have them at, they are ripping you off! Also avoid buying anything less than 18L. 18L works out for cut up apple as about a 5 gallon tub, which you have just crushed into, this is just right for a batch. 12L or 6L seem pretty pointless. I also think that with wine grapes they will be much easier as they are so much softer, but I have yet to try this out.

Fermenting Tubs – Be prepared to have lots of these. I just 25l old de-ionised water (food grade) plastic tubs for juices as they have great lids and take up less room. But a flat bottom vessel like this is a must. In fact you need at least two identical ones with taps (you can cut them yourself) to decant into. 25 litres is a good working volume. Also you will need old bottles and a pressure vessel to make a carbonated drink, so have one of these as well. I also like a smaller neck vessel which is easier when you are onto longer term storage and racking with a screw top lid and cut out for an air lock.

Refractometer – this is a must for anyone making any alcohol from fruit juices. It is really good as it tells you how much sugar is in your initial fluid and then later how much so you know when to bottle or keg safely. Without this you are guessing. I suggest you buy one and learn to use it before the season starts. Calibrate with pure distilled water, and then just use. Very fast and accurate. If the juice has not got enough sugar, it will not develop enough alcohol then the cider, beer or wine will spoil. Too much and you may kill the yeast too quick and end up with a very sweet drink. These should cost about £20 from Amazon.

pH Meter – I bought one from Amazon again for about £15, this is essential as it gives you a pH reading initially to tell you how many Camden tablets are required to kill off any bacteria and yeasts in the initial solution. Also clearly you can also check the later pH. Acid is good as it stops the spoilage of the brew but too much is not nice to drink.


Campden tablets (sodium metabisulphite) are sometimes added to apple juice before fermentation to subdue some of the wild yeasts and bacteria present in the juice, reducing the likelihood of the cider spoiling. Dosage depends on the acidity of the juice: a low acid juice (pH of 3.7 to 3.8) will require 3 campden tablets per gallon of juice; average acid juice (pH of 3.4 to 3.6) will require 2 tablets per gallon; high acid juice (pH below 3) does not require campden tablets. To add campden tablets, crush them in a little warm juice or water and add to the juice in the fermenter. Put a mesh cloth over the cider and no lid, ensure it is tightly sealed to prevent any flies getting inside but to allow any sulphur vapours to come off the liquid.


Yeast – After 24 hours add a cultured cider yeast or a cultured wine yeast, and prime the airlock. Clearly the upside to this method is to “stun” the natural yeasts and inhibit them, to enable you later to introduce your yeast of choice. There are lots available and you might use a cider yeast, this has been specifically chosen to give a “cider” flavour which can be bought cheaply for bulk sachets OR champagne yeast. Bigger Jugs sell 100g of yeast for £6.99 on Amazon which works well between 16 and 25 degrees. 10g per 25 litres. I also suggest with all yeasts that you  make a starter with dextrose and tepid water before you pitch in to get the colony off to a really good start. We are looking a natural ecosystem in the beer and it will be survival of the fittest!

Also remember that Yeast is a fungus and needs a supply of energy for its living and growth. Sugar supplies this energy (your body also gets much of its energy from sugar and other carbohydrates). Yeast can use oxygen to release the energy from sugar (like you can) in the process called “respiration”. So, the more sugar there is, the more active the yeast will be and the faster its growth (up to a certain point – even yeast cannot grow in very strong sugar – such as honey). However, if oxygen is short (like in the middle of a ball of dough), then yeast can still release energy from sugar, but in these conditions, its by-products are alcohol and carbon dioxide. It is this carbon dioxide gas which makes the bubbles in dough (and therefore in bread), causing the dough to rise. Alcohol is a poison (for yeast as well as for people) and so the yeast is not able to grow when the alcohol content gets too high. This is why wine is never more than about 12% alcohol.


Yeast Nutrient – Yeast health is one of the most important aspects of making good homebrew beer, wine or mead. After all, it is the sole reason for any alcohol being produced at all. Not only is yeast necessary for converting sugars to alcohol but it is also particularly important because it has a large influence on the flavour of the finished drink. Yeast creates many different compounds when fermenting a beer or wine that have a big effect on flavour. Wheat beer yeast for instance produce, clove, banana and bubblegum like flavours and this is desirable for the most part, if they are not healthy, however, they can produce undesirable flavours.

Unhealthy yeast can contribute undesirable flavours to your home brew. Flavours like apple flavours from acetaldehyde, harsh alcohol flavours or buttery flavours from diacetyl. These are all symptoms of poor yeast health or not enough yeast cells. This brings us to our main subject, yeast nutrition.

Yeast nutrients are added to beer or wine to ensure that the building blocks required by the yeast to form new cells and reproduce are available to them before and during fermentation.

When yeast reproduces, they require things like amino acids, nitrogen, fatty acids and vitamins to form new cells. If these are not present when you add yeast to your wort or must it can lead to problems during fermentation or even starting fermentation, to begin with. Hence, we simply add the yeast nutrient to the mix to ensure they are here, to make the fermentation and colony work well.


Dextrose – USE THIS! Dextrose brewing sugar, is a naturally occurring right-handed version of glucose. Use dextrose instead of white sugar in either your fermentation or priming your beer when bottling. Dextrose is quicker to dissolve than white sugar and 100% fermentable. It also is “pure” when labelled for beer making so should not impart any odd favours to your brew.


SucroseDON’T USE THIS! Sucrose is a disaccharide composed of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. More precisely, it is dextrose plus dextrorotary fructose. It must be broken apart before the yeasts can use it. When heated in an acidic solution (such as wort) the sugar is inverted to make glucose and fructose. Yeasts will invert the sucrose if it is not already in that form before using by using invertase. It is derived from sugar beets or sugar cane that are crushed and dissolved in water. The raw syrup is boiled down to concentrate it to a point where some fraction crystallizes. The remaining heavy syrup (see “molasses”) is separated from the 95+ % pure sugar. The crystals are further processed several times to increase its purity yielding, eventually, the pure white crystals we commonly use. Some other commonly used sugars are also produced during the processing.

A complaint in the early days of modern home brewing was that using table sugar in beer-making resulted in a “cidery” beer. The symptoms were that a beer made with table sugar that was added to the boil produced a cidery flavor that faded after several weeks in the bottle. Therefore the rule of thumb became ‘avoid all table sugar’.  While this is still a good idea when using malt extract, this old wives tale is misleading. That defect most likely came from poor yeast due to a too low pitch, insufficient free-available-nitrogen, or a lack of other necessary yeast building materials in the wort. Table sugar can be used in small amounts with no harm and it is certainly cheaper to use for priming. However, my suggestion is always to stick your supply of dextrose, which is best bought in bulk of 20kg bags as the price can be steep online or in smaller bags. This will always be more consistent and can be used with wine, beer or cider regardless. If you buy a large bag it covers everything!

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František Kyncl Point Line Space

František Kyncl Point Line Space


If you are a Kyncl fan, I went to a really good exhibition here, where we saw some very impressive modern art.

František Kyncl : Point, line, space
Museum Kampa – Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, U Sovových mlýnů 2, Prague 1 – Malá Strana
1. October 2018 – 13. January 2019

Frantisek Kyncl’s artistic work reflects the controversy between rationalism and intuition, between order and coincidence, simply between modern rational thinking and postmodern doubts, typical of the second half of the 20th century. Influenced by constructivism and the German Zero group, in the 1970s, Kyncl began to assemble three-dimensional objects from the skewers, the geometric forms, such as the triangle, the square, the circle, and the organic growth to all sides.

Fragile objects have been created, in the form of grids, grids, sometimes even cobweb clusters that break and reflect light, thereby becoming part of these objects. Kyncl calls them Space Structures and understands them as an image of society: “When they multiply and grow, it is something like an image of society and how people behave together. “Since the late eighties, he has devoted himself to drawing, which leaves geometric forms, becomes more expressive, and figurative elements appear in it.

František Kyncl exhibition – Point, line, space in the Museum Kampa will present the artist’s work for the first time in its full versatility.

František Kyncl was born in 1934 in Pardubice. In 1968 he left Czechoslovakia. Since 1969 he was living in Düsseldorf where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. During his studies he became part of the Düsseldorf art scene, which at the time was one of the most radical artistic movements not only in Germany. He is acquainted with the artists Günther Uecker, Norbert Krick and Joseph Beuys. Exhibits in major institutions such as the Düsseldorf Kunstverein or the legendary Hans Mayer Gallery. 

In 2011 he died in Düsseldorf.

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Animated Science GCSE 1 to 9 Methods Summary

Animated Science 1-9 GCSE Practical Methods

This booklet of Methods is a simple reference point for the 1-9 Physics GCSE Required Practical methods.

Often questions will be based around these themes and you must learn to interpret the questions on the day as they will try and put them in unfamiliar situations.

This booklet is not designed to teach you everything in the practical’s but to be used to recap what you have already done in class. I have limited most topics to 1 or 2 pages of the bare basics.

You must be able to recall all this booklet and the ideas in it if you want to be able to answer some of the questions in your exams.

They are sure to ask about at least 2 of these topics, and most likely 4 or 5 topics in details so time spent on these topics will stand you in good stead.

Try and use this booklet as a starting point and then read more around the subject and tackle some exam questions to help you out.

Animated Science GCSE 1 to 9 Methods Summary  (PDF)

I have also included some more help on each of the Key Terms you need to know as well. It can be viewed as a PowerPoint or PDF….

Science Key Terminology in Context  (PPTX)

Science Key Terminology in Context (PDF)

GCSE 1 to 9 Summary

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iGCSE Household Electricity

If you want to do a lesson on iGCSE Electricity 2.2 understand how the use of insulation, double insulation, earthing, fuses and circuit breakers protects the device or user in a range of domestic appliances.

Here are some resources to help you. I have attached all the lesson slides and if you work through this, you can then do an iSpring Quiz.

Household Electricity

iSpring Quiz

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Holst Planets Suite & Nocturnes – Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra 1994

This post is to celebrate a moment in time from 1994 when Gloucester Youth Orchestra played at Cheltenham Town Hall. On this occasion a recording was taken on DAT tape and some copies made for the players to listen to their own music.

Having had this tape cassette in my car for the past 10 years or so I decided to digitise the whole concert so it was preserved for the rest of time on youtube.

I have not altered the recording or cleaned up any noise so please realise this is not a perfect recording but simply a memory to share with any of the other players at GLO at that time, and also for future musicians to be inspired.

I have included an image of the full orchestra compliment which also included some guest players on the day.

It is also interesting to see that many of the orchestra have carried on their musical careers after the orchestra. To name but a few…

Charles Peebles who has gone on to conduct many other orchestras in the past few years.

Matthew Elston who now plays as Principal 2nd violin of the BBC Concert Orchestra and teaches music

Diggory Seacome – musical director – went on to become a Conservative Councillor!

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Space Revision

If you wish to do a bit of revision or learning on KS3, 4 or 5 space. Then try some of the resources here, you can have a PPT or PDF.

Feel free to use for school use, but all images are copyright so no profit or derivatives which you sell!


Animated Science Space Revision (PDF)

Animated Science Space Revision (PPTX)

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