Royal Wedding Science stories

The media coverage of the Royal Wedding in the UK last week was immense, and although most pages were devoted to society and fashion, with a hint of diplomacy, there was still some science-related coverage if you looked hard enough.

Economics
As you can imagine, the wedding cost a small fortune, not to mention the decrease productivity due to the extra bank holiday. Was it worth it (financially speaking?). Several stories cover this including the Belfast Telegraph, with the headline “Money literally could not buy this kind of publicity for Brand Britain”.

 

Energy demand
With 24 million viewers, there was a surge of 2,400 MW in demand for electricity as the Royal couple reached Buckingham palace. According to statistics from the National Grid, this was the fourth largest surge ever due to a TV programme (I wonder what was popular….?), and equivalent to one million kettles being boiled at the same time.
John Carnwath, power system manager at National Grid, commented:

”It’s been a fascinating day to work in our control room, seeing the huge impact on electricity demand of millions of people across Britain being brought together by William and Kate’s wedding. ”We’re proud of the role we have played in helping the nation share their big day,” he added.

Gender Studies
A unique study by the Sunday Telegraph revealed a difference in the response of men and women to the royal wedding. Joy was the dominant emotion in women, peaking at the second balcony kiss, whereas men were touched by the sight of Kate being walked up the aisle by her father. Men were also more likely to feel a little bored at times. Both sexes were united in feelings of pride, however.

Biology
A very amusing article by Robert Kruger, editor of Cell magazine looks at some royal-wedding related phenomena from biology. Princess Kate stands to be the 6th Queen Catherine. Her namesake Catherine Howard had her head chopped off by Henry VII, and although to us this is a terrible thing, Robert Kruger reports that to some animals such as the freshwater polyp Hydra, for example, it is not a big problem as it can regenerate head structures after being cut in half (midgastric bisection).

Robert Kruger also looks at the selection of the royal mate in comparison to recent biological developments, and the new research that suggests that some bee larvae can be transformed into queens by royal jelly.

Now surely that’s more interesting than who wore what hat???


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