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SGS Biology

Famous botanist David Bellamy to visit Nonsuch Park

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On Saturday 14th July David Bellamy, OBE and former Sutton Grammar School boy, will be leading a natural history walk around Nonsuch Park, starting at 10.30am on the lawn in front of Nonsuch Mansion.   Mr Bellamy was inspired to change to botany & zoology by a science teacher at Sutton Grammar School in his 6th form, and his internationally renowned status as a great botanist on TV & in his 45 books can be traced back to that time at Sutton Grammar School!

So do come along, listen and get involved, as it is not every day you can be informed enthusiastically about the plants and other species of a nearby place by a TV botanic icon.  Other activities on the day will also include a spider safari with national spider expert Tom Thomas, and seeking out snail species and other wildlife with Dr June Chatfield, expert & author.

For further information please click on the links below:
http://www.bna-naturalists.org/events.htm
http://www.epsomguardian.co.uk/yoursay/yourneighbourhood/9787832.David_Bellamy_returns_to_Nonsuch/?ref=erec


Planet hunting!

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After watching Prometheus (an excellent visual experience!) I was drawn yet again to ideas of the origins of life on Earth.  The film purports the idea of panspermia whereby another humanoid race brought life to our planet.  This got my brain thinking about an article I’d read previously related to astrobiology, specifically the search for habitable life outside our planet:  http://www.bryanappleyard.com/planet-hunting/

This is not a new idea but are we getting closer to finding life outside out planet? Perhaps we may never know:


The smallest chameleon in the world

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This little creature could’ve slotted straight into the Madagasca film. Alas, at a mere 29mm long it may have been too tiny…but this is the brookesia micra, the smallest chameleon in the world. It’s suggested that this type of miniaturization called island dwarfism is common in island populations and may occur due to limited resources and pressure to reproduce more rapidly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnOAedJn84w


Playing trial and error with genes…

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Well here’s something novel!  “Reading out a person’s entire genome is already a manageable task, but what exactly is written in that genome?”  A great question you might ask.  But more importantly, how can we answer it?  Well, now we know a bit about genes some intelligent professors now think they’ll just add a load of genes into cells and…well…..see what happens next…..and indeed this is “tens of thousands of DNA regions into tens of thousands of living cells”.  Nothing bad could happen, could it?

http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/rewriting-dna-to-understand-what-it-says


DNA computers

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It seems like something out of science fiction and indeed it is the premise of the film Jonny Mnemonic, where a vital piece of information is encoded into dear Jonny’s brain.  But can this work in reality?  Can we use genetic material to house digital information in the same way that current computers do?  Some think so:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18158131


thomas davisthomas davis