Simple math can reveal how energy efficient different forms of transport are. Professor John D. Barrow looks at how to drive as fuel efficiently as possible. When does buying a small car help? Does car-pooling always save energy? Simple estimates can also tell us about the relative efficiencies of traveling by road, rail or air - and even by bike.
For downloadable files and the transcript of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website:
Trains and Boats and Planes
John D. Barrow
John D. Barrow FRS, former Gresham Professor of Geometry, has been Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge since 1999. He is carrying out research in mathematical physics, with special interest in cosmology, gravitation, particle physics and associated applied mathematics.
Since its inception in 1999 John Barrow has been the director of the Millennium Mathematics Project which aims to improve the understanding and appreciation of mathematics and its applications amongst young people and the general public. This has born fruit with the Project's receiving the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Educational Achievement in 2005. Further to this, he has received many awards and prizes for his own research in mathematics and astronomy, including the Locker Prize for Astronomy and the 2006 Templeton Prize.
He is the author of over 420 articles and 19 books, translated in 28 languages, exploring the wider historical, philosophical and cultural ramifications of developments in mathematics, physics and astronomy. He has also delivered lectures in a perhaps unique combination of locations including 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle, the Vatican Palace and the Venice Film festival. He is also the author of the (Italian language) Infinities, which won the Italian Premi Ubu award for the best play in Italian theatre in 2002.
The appointment of Professor Barrow to the Geometry chair at Gresham College repeats a feat only previous achieved in 1652 by the founding member of the Royal Society, Lawrence Rooke. Having been a highly popular Astronomy professor between 2003 and 2007, Professor Barrow is only the second professor in Gresham College's four-century history to have been appointed to two separate chairs.
Mode of land transportation in which flange-wheeled vehicles move over two parallel steel rails or tracks, drawn by a locomotive or propelled by self-contained motors. The earliest railroads were built in European mines in the 16th century, using cars pulled on tracks by men or horses. With the advent of the steam locomotive and construction of the first railway in 1825, the modern railroad developed quickly. Construction was begun on the first U.S. railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, in 1828. Specialized railroad cars were built to transport freight and passengers, including the sleeping cars developed by George Pullman in 1859. In the 19th century the railroad had an important influence on every country's economic and social development. In the U.S. the transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869, began an era of railroad expansion and consolidation that involved such financial empire builders as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Edward H. Harriman, James J. Hill, and Leland Stanford. The railroad's importance in the U.S. began to diminish from the early 20th century, but in Europe, Asia, and Africa it continues to provide vital transportation links within and between countries. See alsoOrient Express, Trans-Siberian Railroad.