Hi there !
Hello and welcome to my 'Personal Space'.
Member of the Wessex Researchers Group
Why have I called my space "All Kinds of Everything"? Well, I guess that as I develop My Space you will find that I have a very eclectic range of interests, and this is reflected in the multi-disciplinary content of many of my Guide Entries
"Da mihi intellectum ut vivam"
One of the earliest people thought to have known 'everything' was Aristotle (350 B.C).
The last person on Earth, and presumably in our Galaxy, said to have known everything (for his time) was the Dutch humanist, Erasmus, who died on July 12th 1536. After this the sum total of human knowledge was just too much for any one person to know.
It has been said that about every 8 years, s double their medical knowledge.
I used to be a Research but am now a Lecturer in Chemistry in a tertiary college where, as well as 'A' Level Chemistry, I teach Chemistry on an 'Access to Higher Education' course and also on a Foundation Degree course. I also occasionally teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
I am still familiarising myself with this site which I found by accident whilst researching The London Stone.
Prior to joining the teaching profession in 1994 I was a research (Virology) with the Health Service.
Join the The Campaign to Promote Respect for Microbes: An Awareness Program:The Campaign to Promote Respect for Microbes: An Awareness Program
Why 'BigAl'? Well,IRL my first name is Alan, and a former colleague of mine suddenly started referring to me as Big Al. Couldn't quite understand this as I'm little over 5ft 7" tall - although I regret to say that, being of a certain age, I have started to get 'Executive Spread'. However, at the time 'Walking with Dinosaurs' was being screened on television, and I noticed that an allosaurus was being referred to as Big Al.
The allosaurus was a truly awesome and a mighty hunter, being the biggest and most fearsome flesh-eater of its time. The allosaurus grew to about 15m long and weighed in at up to 3 tonnes. It had more than 70 dagger-like teeth with serrated edges like steak knives. Decided to use BigAl as my 'handle'.Visit the h2g2 Natural History Museum:Natural History Museum.
Why not join The H2G2 International Academy of Sciences, for stimulating scientific discussion. If you consider yourself to be eligible, why not join the h2g2 Grey Hair Society: H2G2 Grey Hair Society
Some Favourite Quotations
If it squirms, it's biology;
If it stinks, it's chemistry;
If it doesn't work, it's physics
and if you can't understand it, it's mathematics. Dr Magnus Pyke
It is only the superior intellect of the adult brain which can appreciate the paradox of putty that bounces. Paraphrase of Peter Hodgson (1950) by one of my chemistry lecturers.
For unto every one that hath shall be given and he shall have abundance.... Paraphrase of Markownikoff's Rule, first enunciated by St Matthew who had the prescience to realise that, in the case of addition reactions to alkenes, it is the negative part of the addendum that adds on to the carbon atom with the least number of hydrogen atoms: Matthew 25 (29). Biology is the study of living things. The study of dead things is the province of pathology, which you will study at medical school. (I don't know. Perhaps myself)When you have them by the short and curlies their hearts and minds will quickly follow.A former colleague of mine.There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.Goethe.
I often say that when you can measure what you are talking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. Lord Kelvin (William Thomson). In a lecture to the Institute of Civil Engineers, 1883.Grammatical pedantry is something up with which we should not put.Sir Winston Churchill.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.Sir Isaac Newton in a letter to Robert Hooke. 1675/6.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.Anonymous.
Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.John Lennon.
Statistics in the hands of an engineer are like a lamppost to a drunk -- they're used more for support than illumination.AE Housman.Random Quotes Guild-Lurking Where All Fine Quotes are Quoted
'I am enormously suspicious of all these date labels. My generation said that if you can scrape the mould off and it is not growing green hair, you can probably eat it.. That was certainly my mother's policy and she lived until she was 93.'Esther Rantzen in the Daily Mail. 16 Sept 2011.
Current (top of the heap) favourite quotes
"...but for some reviewers, no doubt, the sight of Nigella's prize embonpoint will be a Christmas treat in itself". Daily Mail TV Correspondent. Dec 2008
"I defy anybody who went to the Chelsea Flower Show, or who watched it on the box, not to have been impressed by the size of Medwyn Williams' comestibles". Alan Titchmarsh, writing in the Radio Times (Special Edition for NTL Customers (UK), 25/06/05.
(I first read the word 'comestibles' in a 'Billy Bunter' book. I always remember using this word in an English Essay and the English teacher scrawling in red ink, "No such word". I argued with him but to no avail. I have since continued to be appalled at the impoverished vocabulary of many teachers of English)
'You interest me very much, Mr Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supraorbital development. Would you have any objection to my running a finger along your parietal fissure'. James Morimer (the surgeon who brings the problem of the Baskerville Hound to Sherlock Holmes' attention').
The Hound of the Baskervilles. Arthur Conan Doyle.
"The important thing about gardening is the little things. There's as much pleasure in a snowdrop as in a successful career." Monty Don writing in the Daily Mail 'Weekend' magazine.
Quotes pertaining to education and teaching
Here I've chosen quotes that chime with my particular view of what education should be about.At some stage I may write a treatise to accommodate these thoughts and ideas.
Note that Aristotle, often credited as the tutor of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) thought that knowledge was empty unless communicated to others.
"When children walk two miles to school, you remember that education is a privilege, not a right". Tracey Seagrott, a teacher in West Bengal, writing in 'Teaching' (GTC Magazine, Autumn, 2004)
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for life. Ancient Chinese proverb.
In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less.Lee Iacocca. Former boss of General Motors.
All men by nature desire knowledge. Aristotle. (The paraphrase of this is that people who are not interested in developing their knowledge are sub-human!)
We cannot learn without pain. Aristotle
Teaching is the highest form of understanding. Aristotle
Education is the best provision for old age. Aristotle
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. Janine L. Goddard. One-Line Philosophers, Daily Mail, 03/02/06.
"The obsession with personal freedom created 'child centred' education, where pupils were regarded as having equal if not superior talents to their teachers and thus effectively abandoned to develop their own ignorance". Melanie Phillips writing on 'Why I loathe the Sixties' in the Daily Mail, 12/06/04.
"If you want to know something you have to learn it yourself". Pathology professor at GKT (Reported in In Touch, Spring 2004).
"When children start school they stop learning".Trainer at an INSET Course, 2003
This resonates with a quote from Mark Twain that one should, "Never let school interfere with your education".
These last two quotes resonate with a column I read in the Mail on Sunday (UK) on 8th July, 2001.
I wish I could remember the background to it, but it must have been something to do with teaching swearing in schools. It said,
I thought they already taught swearing in schools. Children these days all seem so good at it. But, of course, when you think about it that cannot be right. If they actually taught bad language then few of their pupils would be able to use it, just as hardly any of them can spell or add up, let alone multiply.
In the same way, after 30 years of sex education, the young seem mystified by the connection between intercourse and babies.
So perhaps we should all rejoice that rude words are now being put on the National Curriculum.
After a few years of this, everyone will be as hopeless at spelling expletives as French Connection, and possibly unable to pronounce them as well.
"The important thing is what we teach and how we teach it. I think there's far too much emphasis on accountability rather than the curriculum we are teaching". Brian Lightman, Gen Sec of Assoc of School and College Leaders. May, 2011.
Misguided teachers who constantly tell their pupils to sit down and be quiet imply a preference for working with a group of trees, not a classroom full of young people. Robert Sylwester, Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Oregon.
Quotes pertaining to Exams
'Knowledge is important, not degrees'
View of Jim Hopkins, an academic philosopher at King's College, London; cited by a former student in the Spring 2005 edition of In Touch magazine.
"Exams have become the master of education, not the servant". John Dunford. (General Secretary of the Secondary Heads Association).
Click on the following link for more quotes and sayings on the importance of teachers.
Quotes pertaining to Science
"Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science"
Bertrand Russell. (He pointed to 17th Century science as beng the turning point, but there is every reason to suppose that the pace of scientific discovery will continue throughout the 21st Century!)
"Chemists are architects of the microcosmic world".
Prof Sir Harry Kroto, who, before becoming a scientist, considered a career in architecture (Relevant to nanotechnology).
Quotes pertaining to Safety
The only way to be absolutely safe is never to try anything for the first time. Magnus Pyke
Quotes which I would do well to remember and abide by
Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit
Comments made of me during Lesson Observations (of which I'm secretly rather proud)
'You're rather frenetic in the classroom. One minute you're here, the next you're there....' (Will the real Mad Boffin please stand up!)
'You don't behave like a normal teacher; the children don't know how to take you'.(This is because, as mentioned above, I haven't always been a teacher; it's a second career)
'Life is negative entropy'
Apparently the Chinese ideograph for a 'problem' is identical with that for an 'opportunity'.
INTERESTS (Alphabetical order)
"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".Sir Richard Steele in The Tatler, No. 147.
Favourite author, Wilbur Smith .
I am impressed by the amount of technical detail he puts into books such as The Diamond Hunters and Goldmine, probably because I'm a chemist.Not really into Sci-Fi (what a terrible admission for a member of this site!) but I have read and enjoyed Isaac Asimov. I'm sure I'll return to him at some stage.