At the risk of being very boring here, although Vinnie's story of Nat's experiment is humourous in context, his memory isn't up to scratch on this one and I know 'The Seeker After Truth' won't mind my recollections on this one.
I remember the experiment well. It's a very clever one which illustrates several things, all linked, at once.

The first thing it demonstates is the First Law of Thermodynamics which says that energy is not created or destroyed but simply changes from one form to another.

Also, all objects possess potential energy ie have the capability of going to a more restful state - which then liberates the energy it took to put it in that original state in the first place eg a coiled spring or Gerrard Hoffnung's famous 'Barrel Of Bricks' story, in which he is reminded of this Law of Nature three times in quick succession. (I have this on CD if anyone wants it). The ultimate of this is when matter falls into a black hole and releases all of its energy and time comes to a full stop. (This is not strictly accurate as we now believe that Black Holes are slowly evaporating and are returning their energy back to the universe).

Lastly it illustrates that there is a mechanical equivalent of heat which is the work needed to raise the energy of a system. The calorie was thus defined.

This was pioneered by James Joule who was from Salford, son of a Brewer. Most of his studies were with the intention of making the brewing process more efficient and he was concerned with energy losses in inefficient engines. He was a dedicated student and whilst on honeymoon, in Switzerland I think, he measured the temperature of the water at the head and foot of a waterfall to show that there would be a rise in temperature, temperature being an indicator of energy.

(As a matter of interest Kinetic Energy is what is observed after work is put into a system. To take one of Vinnie's passions as an example, the steam train, a head of steam is built up using energy from burning coal and this steam turns the wheels and the train sets in motion. As you see the train whistling by, you are observing the Kinetic Energy which has been produced from the energy of the coal. If there are no other forces acting on the train it will continue forever, always possessing this energy of the burning coal until it is stopped, whereupon it deposits it. Whether the falling lead shot has the property of Kinetic Energy, I'm not sure. There are no forces acting on a falling body (Einstein) and if you were to fall at the same rate as the lead shot you would observe it to have no Kinetic Energy at all. Perhaps Ray or John will enlighten me.)

Back to the topic - to observe this energy transference experimentally all you have to do is to take a lump of metal to the top of a mountain, measure its temperature and then throw it over the edge. Someone waiting at the bottom would then measure its temperature after it had landed. The temperature would have increased. Since this is impractical at school, although it would be a good day out, the experiment is carried out using lead shot in a tube of a measured length. The tube is inverted many times to simulate the long drop and the lead shot quickly removed and the temperature taken. Lead shot is used because of its specific heat properties and also so a thermometer can be plunged into its centre to get a more accurate temperature reading quickly before it cools down.

Experimental errors come in when energy is taken from the falling lead shot as it knocks pieces of cardboard off the inside of the tube (Nat's very words), heat loss when the shot is waiting to be overturned and finally heat loss when pouring out the shot into a container.

Cardboard is a good choice since it is cheap, safe and is a good insulator.

The experiment is still carried out in exactly this form in schools today.
Where's Ben Warris when you need him?
Three guesses whom this is from......

"At the risk of being very boring..."  There was no risk at all...... it was sodding boring. 
Bloody hell Royales get a life, Vinnie only described the experiment to further emphasise that the sharp wit and repartee for which I am well known today was even present as a 13 year old.  Thank God Nat taught us and not you, I was again lost after the second sentence, and I got a 1 in 'O' level physics.

On a much lighter note loved Merry's article on The Bahamas. Was very illuminating, and more importantly it was lovely to see those gorgeous legs again.  I agree it must have been her Dad who gave the info. to the Chron or the first line would not have been "Pretty 23-year-old Oldham girl Merrilyn Cowley...."   but "Gorgeous and voluptuous 23-year-old Oldham girl Merrilyn Cowley...."

This is the kind of stuff we want on this site Royales not long winded articles on thermo-bloody- dynamics, showing us what a clever bastard you've become.

Energy transfer of a falling object
rE =mgh
where 'h 'is the vertical distance a mass 'm ' has been raised, and 'g' is the gravitational field strength

Crumbs, Nigel, the boss should have warned me that some people read other folks' articles. I thought the idea was to just read your own. Nevermind; next time I'll try to add something nice about everyone, just in case there are others out there like you.
Just one quwibble(sp?), "voluptuous" I never have been; much too skinny for that but maybe it will come when I get my adolescent spurt. You'll be the first to know.
So how's life up in the northern tribal areas? Here it's just lover-ly. Like spring. Must get over to Cancale this week....
Take care and love,

HI Merry
Isn't it great having a go at the boss I suppose it's the 21st Century equivalent of bear baiting.  Don't worry about being nice to everybody just as long as you're always nice to me.  Voluptuous according to Chambers describes a woman who has a soft, sexually attractive body.  It describes an object that gives you a lot of pleasure because it feels or looks extremely soft and comfortable or looks extremely beautiful.  I REST MY CASE

Now all these sickly, kind, well meaning  comments came before I properly read the final part of your email.  It's like
Spring is it? You must get over to Cancale must you?  Well sod off then you skinny, French tart.


Helloa Nige,
Boy,you really do know how to speak to a gal. Not sure where it all leaves me as I feel like I've just been up and down on the big dipper after reading your mail. Anyway, you finished with LOL, so I'll let you give me a kiss and say you are sorry.....
Now, if it makes you feel better, the sky is leaden and it looks as though we are in for the wet stuff.
Take care & Love etc
For once Keith I would like to offer a few words of encouragement in view of the outrageous comments from Nigel. For a start I am truly disappointed at his inability to suppress his salacious and sexist memories, but to air them publicly - well, I'm shocked that's all. However his now tarnished reputation at least deflects from the truth of what he said about you.How does it feel to be accused of being boring? I know this is something you've heard before(all your life if I remember correctly) but it still must hurt. Totally unfair I'd say. Anyway, if it's of any comfort to you I thought it was eye droppingly interesting by anybody's standards. Then he has the nerve to tell you to get a life - and you spending 18 hours a day on the website, 7 days a week! The cheeky bugger! But do you know what really incensed me? When he said what a "clever bastard you have become ". Thats just out of order! Clever? Oh no.
Don't let his cheap jibes get to you Keith, you know you can always rely on me to put things in perspective for you. After all that's what mates are for.