Material Matters

Obituary - Professor Jack Harris MBE FRS

Jack Harris, who wrote a regular column for Materials World , 'Material Matters', died on 3 February 2009 from a suspected heart attack. His younger brother, Rex, offers his memories of Jack.

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution

12 February sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his epochmaking book, On the Origin of Species . To...

Explaining how cobwebs are constructed

I am writing this ‘Material Matters’ in early November when, unseasonably, it is warm and the sun is shining. A warm period at the beginning of November is traditionally called...

Light pollution

In the September column, I described my disappointment when I learned that my grandchildren and their contempories had never consciously viewed the Milky Way, and indeed had not fully appreciated...

Comparing nuclear power in France and England

My reaction on hearing that the state-owned French electricity company EDF had purchased UK nuclear company British Energy (BE) was a mixture of pleasure and pain. The former arose because...

The coal industry and solutions to global warming

I recently noticed that in Hellemans and Bunch’s outstanding chronology of science and technology, The Timetables of Sciences , there was only one item in the ‘Technology’ column for 1,000AD...

Is there life on other planets?

In my August column I suggested that we have robbed our children’s children of daylight, or at least of the ability to turn night into day. This month I will...

Daylight robbery – Greenhouse gases and the depletion of the Earth's resources

Mentioning Pascal's Wager in a discussion of global warming in my July column has resulted in a flurry of e-mails (as a reminder, Pascal suggested that is was advisable to...

Carbon capture and storage at Kingsnorth power station

As a nuclear buff I should have been cheered by George Smith’s article ‘Going nuclear – again’ published in the March issue of Materials World , in which he describes the UK’s nuclear renaissance.

Producing energy from hydrogen

My brother Rex, a University of Birmingham metallurgist, is a keen advocate of the hydrogen cycle as a part-solution to global warming.

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Material Matters was the regular Materials World column on topical issues, established by and written for many years by Jack Harris until he passed away in February 2009. From June 2010 it was written by Craig Durham CEng MIMMM, a Senior Production Engineer working in the upstream oil and gas industry and Past President of the Mining Institute of Scotland.