• Question: what is the most difficult experiment you have ever done and why is it so difficult?

    Asked by thomas666 to Carol, John, Phil, Rebecca on 4 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: John Welford

      John Welford answered on 4 Jul 2012:


      I was part of team in my old job where we wanted to smash two things together really fast and see what happened. The way we did it was to fire the slightly larger object down a track and the shoot at it with a tank!

      Because we didn’t want to damage the tank or the track we couldn’t aim them directly at one another. This meant that the timing of them both firing had to be really precise or they would have totally missed each other.

      We achieved a successful hit and it was pretty much a world first! Other people in the team did most of the clever work though!

    • Photo: Carol White

      Carol White answered on 6 Jul 2012:


      Oooh tough question.

      I’d say trying to programme a machine to do what I want.

      We have a huge chamber that sits on the sea floor and does some experiments for us – so that we know the conditions are “natural”.

      But trying to work out what you want it to do, and talking to an engineer/technician about it so the computer can be coded to do it… hard work! I’m not very good at that stuff, I prefer to have things in front of me.. not typing it into a computer code!

    • Photo: Phil

      Phil answered on 6 Jul 2012:


      We made a trap that like a miniature hand that could grab, hold and then Counted out individual electrons,
      As you would count out pound coins !! !!

      Have a look at the trap
      http://ars.sciencedirect.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0022369705001484-gr6.jpg

      Now Count Out the electrons right to left. 5..4..3..2..1..0 electrons in your hand !

      http://ars.sciencedirect.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0022369705001484-gr4.jpg

      Hard to do
      But Fun !! 🙂

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