Kings and Queens of England: Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor

Often in the study of history a reputation must be stripped away to reveal the real historical figure (or as much as the evidence allows). This applies to the story of Edward the Confessor more than most. Far from being the saintly old man seen in the Bayeux tapestry, Edward was a

Continue reading Kings and Queens of England: Edward the Confessor

Boron

The fifth entry in my Elements of the Periodic Table series is boron. Boron was first isolated in 1808 by Sir Humphey Davy, in Britain, and Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thenard, in France, and is the first of the semi metals.

Although pure boron is almost chemically inert, its compounds have numerous uses. These

Continue reading Boron

Walking in the Wye Valley

Ye Olde Ferrie Inne From Yat Rock Viewpoint

A walk through any part of the Wye Valley is always a treat, but the area around Symonds Yat, where Herefordshire and Gloucestershire meet, is something special. With plenty of family activities, river cruises, canoeing, hotels and camping facilities, pubs and restaurants and miles of beautiful walks,

Continue reading Walking in the Wye Valley

Beryllium

First isolated in 1828, beryllium is a brittle, grey alkaline earth metal and the fourth element examined in my Elements of the Periodic Table series. As in the previous three instalments of this series, I examine the history and uses of the element, including its use as a neutron source. Methods of extracting beryllium

Continue reading Beryllium

What is St Elmo’s Fire?

St Elmo’s Fire on Masts of a Ship at Sea

The weather phenomenon known as St Elmo’s fire has been described by many writers. The logs and memoirs of the early European explorers, on the voyages led by Columbus, Magellan and others, mention the peculiar ‘fire’ on their ships’ masts. Charles Darwin witnessed the lights

Continue reading What is St Elmo’s Fire?