Barnes Wallis

Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, was an English scientist and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the Royal Air Force in Operation Chastise to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II; the raid was the subject of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, in which Wallis was played by Michael Redgrave. Among his other inventions were his version of the earthquake bomb. Barnes Wallis was born in Ripley, Derbyshire to Charles William George Robinson Wallis and his wife Edith Eyre Wallis née Ashby, he was educated at Christ's Hospital in Horsham and Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Boys' Grammar School in southeast London, leaving school at seventeen to start work in January 1905 at Thames Engineering Works at Blackheath, southeast London. He subsequently changed his apprenticeship to J. Samuel White's, the shipbuilders based at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, he trained as a marine engineer and in 1922 he took a degree in engineering via the University of London External Programme.

He left J. Samuel White's in 1913 when an opportunity arose for him as an aircraft designer, at first working on airships and aeroplanes, he joined Vickers – part of Vickers-Armstrongs and part of the British Aircraft Corporation – and worked for them until his retirement in 1971. There he worked on the Admiralty's first rigid airship HMA No. 9r under H. B. Pratt, helping to nurse it though its political stop-go career and protracted development; the first airship of his own design, the R80, incorporated many technical innovations and flew in 1920. By the time he came to design the R100, the airship for which he is best known, in 1930 he had developed his revolutionary geodetic construction, which he applied to the gasbag wiring, he pioneered, along with John Edwin Temple, the use of light alloy and production engineering in the structural design of the R100. Nevil Shute Norway to become a writer under the name of Nevil Shute, was the chief calculator for the project, responsible for calculating the stresses on the frame.

Despite a better-than-expected performance and a successful return flight to Canada in 1930, the R100 was broken up following the crash near Beauvais in northern France of its "sister" ship, the R101. The destruction of the Hindenburg led to the abandonment of airships as a mode of mass transport. By the time of the R101 crash, Wallis had moved to the Vickers aircraft factory at the Brooklands motor circuit and aerodrome between Byfleet and Weybridge in Surrey; the prewar aircraft designs of Rex Pierson, the Wellesley, the Wellington and the Warwick and Windsor all employed Wallis's geodetic design in the fuselage and wing structures. The Wellington had one of the most robust airframes developed, pictures of its skeleton shot away, but still sound enough to bring its crew home safely, are still impressive; the geodetic construction offered a light and strong airframe, with defined space within for fuel tanks, payload and so on. However the technique was not transferred to other aircraft manufacturers, nor was Vickers able to build other designs in factories tooled for geodetic work.

After the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe in 1939, Wallis saw a need for strategic bombing to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war and he wrote a paper entitled "A Note on a Method of Attacking the Axis Powers". Referring to the enemy's power supplies, he wrote: "If their destruction or paralysis can be accomplished they offer a means of rendering the enemy utterly incapable of continuing to prosecute the war"; as a means to do this, he proposed huge bombs that could concentrate their force and destroy targets which were otherwise unlikely to be affected. Wallis's first super-large bomb design came out at some ten tonnes, far more than any current bomber could carry. Rather than drop the idea, this led him to suggest a plane that could carry it – the "Victory Bomber". Early in 1942, Wallis began experimenting with skipping marbles over water tanks in his garden, leading to his April 1942 paper "Spherical Bomb — Surface Torpedo"; the idea was that a bomb could skip over the water surface, avoiding torpedo nets, sink directly next to a battleship or dam wall as a depth charge, with the surrounding water concentrating the force of the explosion on the target.

A crucial innovation was the addition of backspin, which caused the bomb to trail behind the dropping aircraft, increased the range of the bomb, prevented it from moving away from the target wall as it sank. After some initial scepticism, the Air Force accepted Wallis's bouncing bomb for attacks on the Möhne and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr area; the raid on these dams in May 1943 was immortalised in Paul Brickhill's 1951 book The Dam Busters and the 1955 film of the same name. The Möhne and Eder dams were breached, causing damage to German factories and disrupting hydro-electric power. After the success of the bouncing bomb, Wallis was able to return to his huge bombs, producing first the Tallboy and the Grand Slam deep-penetration earthquake bombs; these were not the same as the 5-tonne "blockbuster" bomb, a conventional blast bomb. Although there was still no aircraft capable of lifting these two bombs to their optimal release altitude, they could still be dropped from a lower height, entering the earth at supersonic speed and penetrating to a depth of 20 metres before exploding.

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Wittaya Subphayuth

Wittaya Subphayuth is a Thai educational game show initiated and sponsored by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology and produced by Workpoint Entertainment under the vision and direction of IPST. The programme features competitions between upper-secondary school students to create a machine to perform various tasks, it was broadcast weekly on Channel 5, for two seasons, from 2011 to 2013. Wittaya Subphayuth is produced by Workpoint Entertainment in cooperation with its main sponsor, the Thai Ministry of Education's Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology; the programme's stated objectives include to promote science education and to publicize the scientific potential of Thai students. It was broadcast weekly on Saturdays at 18:00 on Channel 5, beginning on 5 March 2011, it was shown for two seasons, the last episode being broadcast on 23 February 2013. The programme features upper-secondary student representatives from forty-eight schools countrywide, in teams of three, competing in single-elimination tournaments.

Each episode consists of a match between two schools, whose teams are assigned to design and build a machine to complete a specific task, sometimes in Rube Goldberg fashion. For example, the problem for the episode broadcast on 27 August 2011 was to determine the weight of a tuk-tuk using a regular market weighing scale; the programme is presented by Nattee Kosolpisit. Each episode consists of four sections: two showing each team's construction of the machine, one showing the competitors' presentations of their machines' concepts, one showing actual application of the machines; the teams are scored depending on their success in completing the task, as well as by audience votes and by a panel of three or four judges, depending on the round. The two regular judges are Surachate Limkumnerd and Worawarong Rakreungdet, physicists at Chulalongkorn University and King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, respectively. Wittaya Subphayuth won the Best Game or Quiz Programme category in the 2011 Asian Television Awards, beating India Minute to Win It Season 1 and Workpoint's other nominee Ratcharod Ma Koey.

It won Thailand's Golden Television Award in the general educational programme category. The first season, which concluded on 10 March 2012, was won by students from the Prince Royal's College, Chiang Mai. Official website Programme page at Workpoint Entertainment website, including videos

Raman Research Institute

Raman Research Institute is an institute of scientific research located in Bangalore, India. It was founded by Nobel laureate C. V. Raman. Although it began as an institute owned by Sir C. V. Raman, it is now funded by the government of India; the main areas of research are: Astronomy and Astrophysics Theoretical Physics Light and Matter Physics Soft Condensed matter physics Much before Raman thought about founding a research institute of his own, he had approached the Maharaja of Mysore seeking land to build office and conference premises for the Indian Academy of Sciences, again a brainchild of Raman's. The Maharaja acceded to Raman's request and a 10-acre plot of land in the posh Malleshwaram suburb of Bangalore was allotted to the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1934. However, the Academy made no use of the land for seven years. According to the terms of the allotment, the land could be resumed by the government of Mysore at the end of 1941, if it remained unused. Therefore, in 1941, Raman as President of the IAS held an extraordinary meeting of the academy and proposed that a research institute be built on the land.

This proposal was sanctioned and a stone was laid on the ground, signifying that the land was now in use. However, it was not until 1948. Raman had planned the institute much before he retired as the head of the Physics Department of the Indian Institute of Science, his idea had been to walk straight into his newly founded institute. This happened in 1948. Thus, the Raman Research Institute began under the umbrella of the Indian Academy of Sciences. During Raman's own time, the presidency of the Indian Academy of Sciences and the directorship of the Raman Research Institute were both vested in him and he was the undisputed supreme authority at both places; this personal style suited the temperament of the founder. Another major facet of Raman's temperament was his hatred for writing project reports, or for that matter giving periodic status reports to those who fund projects. For this reason, Raman refused to accept any funds from other sources. "He was of the firm belief that science could not be done that way."

Says Prof. N. V Madhusudana, Dean of Research at RRI and a leading liquid crystal scientist; as a Nobel laurate, Raman enjoyed a monumental standing in Indian public life and was able to raise funds for the institute through private donations and fund-raisers which did not involve any governmental authority. "Till Raman's death, this was his private research institute. He had a small group of research students working with him and a few administrative staff" says Prof. Madhusudana. Raman was clear that after his death, when the Presidency of the IAS and Director of the RRI could devolve upon different individuals, RRI should not remain subordinate to the IAS but should enjoy autonomy and have a distinct statutory identity of its own. Therefore, just before his death, Raman chartered out a framework for running the institute, separating it from the Indian Academy of Sciences and giving it statutory autonomy; the Institute adopted the change after Raman's death in 1971 with the consent of the government, stepped into a new era as a statutory body, functioning since 1972 on annual grants received from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Despite its budgetary and infrastructural constraints, scientists working under Raman did some path-breaking work. For instance, S. Pancharatnam, who joined the institute in 1954, discovered a fundamental quantum optic effect, independent of Raman; this work, according to Jayaraman, was "the most outstanding original piece of research that came out of RRI at that time." This discovery proved for the first time. But this work was not known to the world till similar discovery was made by scientists elsewhere about two decades later. Subsequently, RRI could convincingly prove that Pancharatnam discovered this long ago and today "this phase is called Pancharatnam Phase world over," said Madhusudana. Pancharatnam did not live long enough and his brilliant career was cut short when he died in 1969 while in Oxford; the institute houses Raman's prized collection of gems, crystals and rock specimens from all over the world. Raman, fascinated by the colours of the biological kingdom had a veritable collection of stuffed birds and butterflies in his museum.

It is said that Raman used to take a lot of pride in showing off his precious collections to distinguished visitors to the institute. During Raman's time, many celebrated scientists from other countries paid a visit to the institute. Among them were: J. D. Bernal, E. C. Bullard, P. M. S. Blackett, C. G. Darwin, P. A. M. Dirac, G. Gamow, J. B. S. Haldane, Linus Pauling, C. F. Powell, L. Rosenfeld, G. Wentzel and Norbert Wiener. One of the current research priority areas of the institute is liquid crystals; this has been an active area of research at the Raman Research Institute for nearly three decades. The research programme covers a broad spectrum of activities ranging from the synthesis of new liquid crystalline materials to display electronics. Discoveries of the columnar phase formed by disc-like molecules and pressure induced mesomorphism are two of the early significant contributions made by the liquid crystal group. "Out of 36 liquid crystal materials discovered world over three were from this institute," said Prof. Madhusudana.

Among them are two new liquid crystalline phases, namely the undulating twist grain boundary C phase and the biaxial smectic A phase. Techniques developed for driving passive matrix liquid crystal d