With Christmas approaching, I’ve recently had the opportunity to watch my children act out the nativity story. The usual characters were there: Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus centre stage with a whole host of angels, shepherds, donkeys and other farm animals in attendance. Of course, the story ends with the appearance of a star, and the arrival of the wise men from The Orient.

Well, this year I’ve had the opportunity to reverse the story. As part of the continued roll out of the Mastersizer 3000 particle size analyzer, I’ve headed out to China, the probable location of the wise men from the nativity story, to provide training and also take part in customer visits. This will provide me with the opportunity to see how the product is being perceived by what is now the largest materials characterisation market which Malvern Instruments serve. Whether I will be considered a wise man or not remains to be seen!

Better On A Camel?

The wise men relied on a star and camel power to make their journey, but then they did not have to live at the pace of modern industry. So, it was air travel for me, with GPS providing the modern equivalent to the star. This would be OK for most people. However, I am not completely comfortable with flying! I’m glad, therefore, that the ride was not as extreme as that experienced by a team of Malvern Spraytec users from ADA Technologies  in the US, who used the system on NASA’s infamous ‘Vomit Comet’ airplane in order understand the operation of fire control systems under low gravity conditions. This unusual application for Spraytec droplpet sizing system was picked up by our local radio station, as an example of extreme science! They therefore invited us in to take part in a live interview. You can listen to this on the BBC Hereford and Worcester website for the Andrew Easton drivetime program, although you will need to fast forward to the 1hr 17 min part of the show.

Malvern Spraytec in Zero Gravity