E/Z cis / trans – geometric isomers

The E/Z or cis / trans system can be used to name geometric isomers. Geometric isomers are molecules that have groups above and below the plane of a ring or double bond. It is important to consider and be aware of these isomers as even though the structural formula is the same, the molecules will have different physical properties and can have different chemical properties. So to make life easier, we have two systems for distinguishing between them. The cis trans ...

Great Mathematicians 7 – Pythagoras

Statue of Pythagoras on Samos (image from visitgreece.com) Much of what we know about Pythagoras is conjecture. We do know that he was born on the Greek island of Samos in about 570 BC and died in about 495 BC. Around about 530 BC he founded what can only be called a rather bizarre sect in Croton, in Italy: it was semi-mystical, and Pythagoras imposed strict vegetarianism, communal living, secret rites and strange rules - such as instructions to his ...

Documenting temporary artworks

Fire, Water and Decay Emma - one of my 2nd year visual arts students -  is interested in the process of decomposition and destruction by fire. She’s interested in the way things change as they end their existence, the visual qualities and the nature of change. She has been burning things and watching/filming natural objects decay and decompose as time passes. She has also been filming ripples in water, (” the impact of a splash”) as well using ‘ripple’ photos as the ...

Trafficking in Britain

It is not known how many illegal migrants there are in Britain. Some estimates put them at around 650,000 +/- 200,000! What is clear, however is that people will take huge risks to enter the UK in search of work. What is also clear is that security has been tightened at the main ports and that smugglers have switched to other ports. For example, at Dover lorries may be searched with the use of x-rays, dogs, carbon dioxide sniffers and ...

Researching a world theatre tradition

For the last 12 years I have been researching Kathakali, and as time goes on I see more and more ways to find out about the history of a tradition. Also, as time goes on I come across more and more conflicting pieces of information. It is therefore essential to cross reference all your information, find a range of sources to refer to and also check, double check and triple check you understand what you are reading before you choose ...

Arts assessment: Thoughts and Suggestions

We are in the middle of the November visual arts examination session so I thought that I would highlight some assessment-related things that friend and colleague Jayson Paterson recently said on My IB. (As many will know, Jayson is one of the My IB visual arts experts and responsible for the visual arts Community forum. In some sections below I am quoting Jayson because his considered opinions are very much in line with my own.) Here are five issues that can play ...

Surveillance and Freedom

Freedom has long been considered the most essential human right until the rise of a new climate of insecurity pushed individuals to retreat into their alleged safe communities, protected by hi-tech security systems, making them prisoners of their own prejudice. This self-imposed limited freedom is regarded, by some, as preferable to the potential risks of a truly open society. The control of society is as old as government itself, but modern technology combined with the power of predictive algorithms, has ...

Glacial streams as a carbon sink

Scientists have only recently discovered that Arctic/glacial meltwater streams take in atmospheric carbon at a faster rate than tropical rainforests. Previously scientists have assumed that rivers were a source of carbon rather than a sink. The results were based on tests carried out on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut territory, Canada, the Rocky Mountains and in Greenland. Scientists studied the effects of glacial meltwater running into rivers and lakes downstream. In temperate rivers high levels of organic matter in rivers leads to ...

Understanding the Factor Theorem

You have probably learnt how to factorise a quadratic expression: for example, x2 - 2x - 8 factorises to give (x - 4)(x + 2). This is useful because it enables us to solve the equation x2 - 2x - 8 = 0. How? Because if we use the factorised form we get (x - 4)(x + 2) = 0, and if two numbers multiply to give zero then one of the number must be zero. So either x - 4 = 0, ...

Sensitive Issues in Art and the ‘spectrum of offence’

A while ago I posted a blog entitled ‘Nude vs Prudes’. I was a little exasperated that our life drawing workshops appeared to make a colleague so uncomfortable. But of course, nudity is just one of a number of sensitive topics and we need to be sensitive to the culture we are in, This issue becomes more complex when submitting work. For example, what are the implications if, as a teacher, I submit a student’s semi-naked self-portrait photo and it goes to an examiner ...