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  • The Evils Of Helium Balloons…and why you shouldn’t use them this holiday season.

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 3 December 2015

    Tis the season to be Jolly! We’re into the time for celebrations, festive cheer and office parties, drinks, mince pies and holiday decorations. And yet using some of those decorations could have serious consequences for us in the future, I’m talking of course about the menace that is… helium filled balloons.

    You'll thank me one day. "The Grinch (That Stole Christmas)". Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

    You’ll thank me one day.
    “The Grinch (That Stole Christmas)”.
    Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

    Helium and UCL have a long and entwined history. Sir William Ramsay first identified it on earth on March 26th, 1895, in his UCL lab (now an artist’s studio in the Slade School of Art) and it was this, along with his discovery of argon, neon, krypton and xenon, that won him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1904. There’s a couple of labs named after him, and arguably without him our neighbouring area of Soho would look very different (as helium is used in ‘Neon’ signs).  (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Sixty-Three

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 24 December 2012

    Christmas Scary MonkeyI cannot believe, age 31, how excited I am that it is Christmas Eve. I have been uncontrollably bouncy all week, for the last three weeks actually, and completely insufferable to all in close contact with me. It’s not the presents I’m excited about…
    That’s a blatant lie… let me start again and be more honest.
    It’s not just the presents I’m excited about, it is the coming together of my family to talk, play games, have a huge dinner, and just ‘be together’ rather than exercise our all too comfy relationship with the television night after night. At Christmas the streets are decorated, the shop windows look prettier, people are happier, and families make an extra effort to be together, and more importantly, to get on. I love it. It will come as no surprise whatsoever therefore that the Specimen of the Week is inspired by one of the most iconic Christmas animals. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)