BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Science

  1. An Examination of the Anti-Vaccination Movement

    Between June 2007 and February 2015, it is estimated that there were 8,973 deaths in the United States that could have been prevented through vaccination. (1) Since the advent of vaccines by Jenner and Pasteur, there has been opposition towards them, with a multitude of social and political reasons contributing to this. (2) However, the rising prominence of anti-vaccination rhetoric may have more severe consequences now than in any time in the past, due to an increase in global travel, the lack of subclinical infection due to previous vaccination successes and the close proximity of human contact on a regular…

  2. Bioterrorism: Are Biological Weapons a Serious Threat?

    Although science has been hailed with many great discoveries and has saved many lives, it has also been exploited and used to create weapons. Bioterrorism describes the deliberate use of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or toxins to spread diseases that threaten the lives of many. They are often genetically modified to be incredibly infectious and transmissible, have long incubation periods and evade medical intervention. These diseases can be more devastating than attacks using chemical weapons because they cannot be contained within national boundaries; they can spread throughout the world causing mass scale death. Bioterrorism is not a hypothetical situation,…

  3. Kelvin’s Aethereal Knots – The Origins of the Periodic Table and Knot Theory

    c. 1867, University of Glasgow: William Thomson, or Lord Kelvin (namesake of the temperature scale and the man who coined the term ‘kinetic energy’) as he is today more frequently known, turns his considerable intellectual ability towards the daunting question of how all material in the universe might exist. At this time in scientific history, the idea that matter was composed of individual atoms of varying type was becoming increasingly accepted by academics. However, what remained a complete mystery to all was how these atoms could themselves exist. The person who could suggest a working theory to answer such a…

  4. Invention and Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century: How Science Strengthened the British Empire

    The nineteenth century is widely known to have witnessed revolutionary developments in science and technology, in areas ranging from healthcare to transportation. Naturally, it follows that these innovations provided Europeans, particularly the British, with effective tools for the expansion and consolidation of their empires. Not only was this the case, but a new rationale for imperialism developed as a result of the scientific developments of the Victorian era. This is a theme which can be explored through two examples; firstly, the use of quinine prophylaxis as a more successful medicine to combat malaria, and secondly, the invention and introduction of…

  5. Colonisation of Mars: is it really possible?

    Walking on the moon is arguably one of the greatest achievements of mankind, but as the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 was the last landing of humans on Earth’s natural satellite, it is evident our attention has been focused elsewhere. In 2011, Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders changed the direction of space travel by announcing the Mars One mission, which aims to colonise Mars with human life by 2025. The mission began with a selection process in 2013, where any individual over the age of 18 could apply. There were over 200,000 applicants, all of whom wanted to be among…

  6. Ocean Circulation – a climate changer?

    Will climate change ever be understood? A major limitation of current climate models is the reconstruction of ocean circulation. There is a good knowledge of modern circulation, but research is currently underway to explore whether major shifts in the past circulations coincide with significant climatic events. It is believed that on geological timescales, key climatic controls relate primarily to tectonics and ocean circulation changes. Both of these mechanisms influence atmospheric CO2 concentrations and therefore global temperatures. Ocean circulation changes can occur due to reconfiguration of oceanic gateways. A predominant example of this is the opening of the Drake Passage, the…

  7. Nuclear Power – The ethics of millennia of containment

    Ethics in engineering have perhaps never been as critical as they are now, with the development of ever more powerful and consequential technologies. The proliferation of nuclear power has resulted in a growing quantity of radioactive byproducts. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), about 20 metric tonnes of used nuclear fuel waste is produced each year per facility. This waste is categorized as either low-level or high-level depending on its potential for destruction. A large percentage of the low-level waste has a relatively short half-life, and will decay to background radiation levels within 100 years. High-level fuel waste can…

  8. HIV Stigma: The Importance of Talking About Sex

    When we think about HIV, what may immediately springs to mind is the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the infection is spreading dramatically. Most of us will be aware of the devastating situation there, with extreme death rates and only a small percentage of people aware that they have the infection. Though rates of infection have dropped, around 1.2 million people in the area are dying each year, which is still an alarming and tragic statistic. This seems a world away from the situation in the UK and much of the Western world, where HIV has been controlled much better….

  9. Mitigating Armageddon

    On the morning of the 15th of February 2013 at about 09:20 local time, the sky above the Russian town of Chelyabinsk – nearly 2000km east of Moscow and just north of the border with Kazakhstan – was rent asunder by a bright flash of light and shockwave of sound. There had been a huge explosion at an altitude of about 76,000 feet and on a scale of about 20-30 times that of the nuclear fission bomb that was exploded over Hiroshima in 1945. A superbolide with a mass of between 12,000 and 13,000 metric tonnes (about 20m in diameter)…

  10. Say No to Rhino Horn

    Rhino poaching has become an ever increasing problem over the past few years. Since 2008 cases of rhino poaching, especially in South Africa which contains 80% of all of Africa’s rhinos, have increased dramatically. 2011 saw 448 cases of poaching in South Africa, indicating an increase of 3000% since 2007. 668 rhinos were killed in the country in 2012 and the number is set to be even higher for this year. This is obviously devastating news for the rhinos of Africa, especially black rhinos, which are already critically endangered in the wild. If poaching on this scale continues, we face…