Monday, 26 September 2011

Why profesional development is important

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Short break in Florence

Thought we would take a short break in Florence prior to me starting my new job with Domino Printing Sciences. Florence is lovely nd we enjoyed the visit very much. I know that the Italian economy is in trouble but I was quite amazed at how money grabbing the government has become. One of the big earners must be tourism, and I would therefore expect that the tourist economy be encourage. I was amazed therefore when we checked out of our hotel to be presented with a bill for something called a city tax! This smacks of the old and dicredited socialist ideas. Their economy needs tourists, so they penalise tourists when they visit their cities! How will this grow their tourism industry? I can only assume that Berlusconi is lossing what few marbles he may once have had.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Why we must go back to the Moon

Economic growth is being constrained by resource scarcity.  The environmental cost of ripping minerals out of the ground is also probably becoming too high a price to pay.  In addition to this, the vast amounts of energy needed for mining, extraction and refining of minerals makes a significant contribution to the carbon added to the atmosphere.
It is likely that the Moon contains an abundance of valuable minerals, including rare earths, It also has a vast amount of totally predictable solar energy, There is therefore a pressing economic imperative to go back to the Moon, and soon.  The minerals required for our economic well being could be mined and refined on the Moon using solar energy.  It is likely that there is sufficient water for the manufacture of rocket fuel which would be needed to send the refined product back to the Earth. 
All of this would be done with very little environmental impact on the Earth.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Social services for the elderly in Cambridge

The quality of gerontology in Cambridge is very impressive.  Much better than it is in t' North

The Stig

You do see some funny things in St Ives.  I knew times were hard at the BBC but really....

Nuclear Energy

Royal Society of Chemistry  organised a great public debate at the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemistry cetnre, which took place on Thursday 7 July.

The pros and cons of nuclear energy were discussed by an expert panel of people consisting of two pro nuclear (George Monbiot and Malcolm Grimston) and two anti (Doug Par and Roger Levett).

The debate  can be watched on the link.

The motion in favour of nuclear energy was carried by 63 votes to 9.  A conclusive result favour of this environmentally benign source of electricity.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Green science & Technology for a sustainable world

Green Science & technology are key to ensuring Africa’s long term economic growth and to do this in a way which minimises damage to the environment. Science, technology and innovation will play pivotal roles in ensuring that our next generation of chemicals, energy and manufactured goods are made in a more sustainable way than is currently the case. Certain critical advantages will enable Africa to capitalise on new and sustainable manufacturing technologies include: valuable energy source
A wealth of
local expertise in natural product chemistry
Talented young scientists
A large and motivated workforce, which is enthusiastic about education.
these advantages and to develop world-leading technologies based on the principles of green manufacturing. Making value-added products in Africa, where possible, rather than exporting the raw materials, will contribute to the economic growth of the continent. Wealth Not Wealth not Waste: Green science and engineering for sustainable growth in Africa report discusses how science and engineering are fundamental to meeting these needs in a sustainable way. The principles of Green Chemistry and sustainable manufacturing are discussed and shown to be crucial if Africa is to enjoy economic growth by using, and at the same time preserving, its unique resources and biological diversity.Key Recommendations decade driven by export-led industries. The future growth of Africa’s industries will only be sustained through the application of green science and technology.: water, food, medicines, energy, manufactured goods and transport, must be made and delivered in ways which do not damage the environment, enabling the creation of wealth for future generations to enjoy.and developing industries.valuable expertise in the chemistry of natural products, and innovation in these technologies presents a tremendous opportunity for, health and personal care products derived from natural products, and much interest in plant-based pharmaceuticals. African industries have a competitive advantage in these areas because of the wealth of available plant resources and local expertise. The manufacture of natural products requires solvents to extract the active ingredients from plant material. Conventional processes use solvents that contribute to the production of toxic waste and the cost of their disposal is a significant proportion of the manufacturing cost. and set of circumstances. , the wealth and the size of the population of each country. There needs to be a focus on recycling to preserve resources, for instance, by increasing the use of compost from agricultural waste to improve soil fertility.of talented individuals going into science and engineering. The scientists they train need to participate in international networks to allow optimal utilisation of equipment and to enable people with different skills and capabilities to work together. Collaboration between academia and business is the key to driving innovation and unlocking the potential of green manufacturing. 1. Africa has enjoyed robust economic growth over the past
2. Africa has an abundance of sustainable natural resources which can be used as raw materials in new
3. The use of solvents with a relatively low environmental impact, such as water, ethanol and carbon dioxide, is essential in the sustainable manufacture of plant-based products.
4. A focus on recycling will benefit all Africans. There is no single best method of waste management. This will be different for each country
5. For Africa to meet these challenges it must tap into local expertise, expand the skills base through education and develop effective networks.
6. African leaders must have the vision to capitalise on innovation in green science and technology and to learn from the past mistakes of the economically developed world. Policies should be developed and implemented across government to ensure the adoption of the principles of green science and technology. Strong, enlightened governance is vital if the people of Africa are to benefit from export-led growth whilst dealing with the challenges of a growing population and the need to improve the standard of living.
It is vital that there is a trained cadre of scientists ready to develop and apply green science and technology across Africa. Schools and universities must be able to increase the supply
The type and amount of waste produced depends on the consumer habits
There is growing demand for
Products based on the principles of green science and technology have a growing market worldwide, and the local manufacture of high value products from sustainably produced raw materials will contribute to the growing economy of the continent. African scientists have
Sustaining this growth is essential if African people and investors are to benefit. For this to be achieved over the long term, the basic requirements of society
is a report on the 1st Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) Green Chemistry Congress, held on 15-17 November, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This

An abundance of sustainable natural resources which can be used as raw materials for new and growing industries
An abundance of sunlight as a
Chemical and manufacturing industries which are in their infancy and therefore have no legacy of non-sustainable manufacturing practices
Africa is well placed to capitalise on
The basic requirements of society include water, food, shelter, medicines, energy, chemicals, transport and manufactured goods.
The findings and recommendations in this report represent the views of the 190 scientists and practitioners that attended this conference from 11 different countries in Africa, as well as from Europe, the USA and Brazil, and from the delegates who participated in the discussion forum at the post-conference workshop held at the RSC in London on 7th March 2011.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Brass Toffs

Music is one of my passions.  I love brass bands and have played in them for years.  Here is a daft photo and a youtube clip from a recent event - the 2011 Whit Friday contest around Saddleworth moore.

Flying turds and JCB wheels

I mentioned our idyllic summers as kids at 3 Edderthorpe Lane in Darfield.  Well, after 11 great years there, with great neighbours and fantastic walks down by the River Dearne and in the local woods, a terrible thing happened. Mike and I gained a sister!  Because of this, we emigrated to the other side of Darfield! 

By now, our little sister, Rachel was on the scene, although she doesn’t feature in the stories.  Yet!  I don’t think dad ever settled in the new street, which was populated by people much posher than we were. I am sure he felt a bit inferior every morning as he free wheeled his motorbike to the bottom of the street (so as not to wake the posh neighbours) before kicking it into life as he went off for his early morning shift down t’ pit.

We lived next door to the village policeman – who was not a bad sort really.  In fact, later on in my adolescent years he did me a few favours by pretending not to notice me in the local pubs.  On the other side was man with company Morris Marina.  One evening having just got home from school I heard a terrible commotion and for the first time in my life heard my dad using language which he could only have learned down t’pit.  I did not get the full story until a bit later, but the gist of this violent exchange of ideas included flying shit, posting said item through letter boxes and finally, rubbing Morris man’s nose in it.  It transpired that Morris man had been walking some posh guests to their car – they must have been terribly important because they had a Granada - and found a dog turd on his drive!  He jumped to the conclusion that this turd had been deposited by our dog and promptly tried to impress Granada man by scooping it onto a shovel and slinging it over our garden fence.  This, just as my dad was walking up the drive.  Anyway, Morris man quickly learned that motor bike man did not take well to this kind of behaviour!  Suffice to say the final resting place for the shit was not on our drive!

There was one chap at the top of the street – let’s call him Roderick Stuart to avoid any chance of litigation!  He really was weird.  At least to 12 and 9 year old lads he was.  He had a son who we believed was kept shackled in a locked bedroom and only came out occasionally.  To Mike and I the really interesting thing about this guy was his comings and goings.  He had a Ford Granada and his house was bigger than almost anyone else’s on the street. We spent many a happy Saturday afternoon watching him going out in his car and coming back literally 7 or 8 minutes later.   He would often return with tires screeching, parking hastily and running into his house, accompanied by the hacking sound of his smoker’s cough brought on by a combination of excitement and exertion. This behaviour also extended into the small hours of the mornings which we found really interesting.  We pleaded with dad to following him on his motorbike to see what he was up to.  Sadly this never happened.  These comings and goings culminated one Saturday afternoon with Roderick’s car being absolutely caned up the street to be parked outside his house with steam pouring from beneath the bonnet and brown stains of expelled antifreeze all over the paintwork.  Shortly after this, Mrs Stuart appeared with a bucket and threw water over it to remove the stains - the car that is, not Roderick.  On closer inspection, we found that both front headlights and both rear light clusters were smashed! We really did (and still do) think that this was the strangest thing but never did get to the bottom of it. Literally days after that the Stuart family vanished and a For Sale sign appeared outside the house.

At the very top of the street was a millionaire.  This man had made his fortune in scaffolding.  He had a lovely Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, a Jenson Interceptor FF, a V12 Jag and numerous other cars.  This feast of expensive automotive equipment kept us drooling.  He was also the first person I ever saw to have a new fangled LED quartz watch, which also fascinated us.  We never had anything much to do with him until one day the 6 feet high fence outside his house was freshly painted with new white paint.  It looked immaculate.  Anyway, we decided it would look better if we threw mud at it, so spent the next 10 minutes doing just that.  Finally Joe (think I can get away with divulging his first name) came out.  We thought we were dead.  What did Joe do?  He engaged us in very pleasant conversation.  He showed us his new LED watch and even opened up his Rolls for us to sit in.  We never did throw mud at his fence again!

Shortly after that we found our way onto an area where they were building some new houses and decided to play with a JCB wheel which we found there.  We spend ages rolling it around.  Eventually, we got bored with this and decided to roll it further up the hill, above the houses.  This wheel was very heavy but 4 of us managed to push it up a mud path into the woods at the top of the hill.  Just before we got it to the top, someone slipped and we all relinquished our grip on the wheel, which set off rolling back down the path.  The last we saw of this wheel was it crashing through a garden fence.  A second after that there was a sickening sound of shattering plate glass as the wheel disappeared through the patio window of the unfortunate residents.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Big birds and little 'ens

Easter Monday the weather in St Ives was fantastic.  In fact, the entire Easter weekend was blessed with good weather. 

As one who is passionate about biodiversity and spend quite a bit of time working to preserve endangered birds (See my vulture post), I went with my wife and daughter to visit a nearby raptor centre.  Here are a few photos of raptors of various kinds.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Walking the otter

Lovely weather in St Ives now that Spring is here.  Max the dog enjoys swimming in our local lake.

Down by the river after a pint.  The beer in the South is not as bad as I had anticipated!

Is nothing sacred?

Walking though St Ives yesterday, I was dismayed to see poor old Oliver Cromwell hideously disfigured.

Is nothing sacred in this country anymore?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Long summer evenings in Darfield

When we were very young, my brother Mike and I went through a phase where we were rather interested in engineering.  Purely in the interest of advancing our scientific knowledge, we decided to investigate the strength of various materials which could have possible use in some as yet unknown construction project.
After giving this idea much thought, we decided to devise an experiment.  We used a very large sheet of plywood which our dad had stored in the shed.  Looking back, this piece of wood was roughly square and I guess the dimension must have been about 1.5 square meters.  It was also thin, probably no more than a centimetre in thickness.   First we needed to see whether it would support the weight of an adult so we set about devising a cunning plan.
We had observed over a number of months that our mother had struck up a warm and, as it turned out, enduring friendship with Mrs Murial Bletcher, our next door neighbour.  Mother used to stand on the garden and partake of long and boring (at least to 7 and 10 year old boys with far too much curiosity and energy) conversations with Mrs Bletcher over the garden fence. 
During the long and warm summer evenings on Edderthorpe land in Darfield, which I remember with a good deal of nostalgia, we set about digging a large man trap in the area where mother often stood in conversation with Mrs Bletcher.  This project was undertaken when the Bletchers were on holiday, so there was plenty of time for our work to proceed undisturbed.  When it was finished, the pit was of a slightly smaller area than the ply wood and about 1 meter deep.  As it had been raining for a week it was half full with water the day before the Bletchers arrived home.  We then placed the plywood over the pit and covered it with soil so that mother would not be suspicious. 
We waited with agonising anticipation.  We waited and waited, but our mother never did walk on that carefully disguised man trap.  The disappointment was palpable!   Now, looking back, I have to say that I have no idea why we devised this trap for our mother.  She was and still is a wonderful mother who we love dearly!  But I can’t help thinking that we would have been over the moon to see her up to her waist in muddy water and the imagined look of horror on Mrs Bletcher’s face as our mother descended into the pit swearing and cursing still causes me amusement.
All was not lost, however.  During the time of the construction project the rain kept coming.  We noticed that Max the milkman was having a lot of trouble driving his three wheeled electric milk float around the back of the houses. This was a mud track, which got progressively muddier as the week passed.  The mud track along the back of number 3 merged into two more paths to make a y-shaped track, with one path going to the right and emerging on the main Doncaster – Barnsley road, and one to the left, back down a bit of a hill to Edderthopre lane.  Every morning on his milk round, Max drove his three wheeled milk truck along the path and stopped where the three paths merged.  This was by now exceptionally wet and muddy and another plan was fermenting in my evil little mind.  One night we went out with Dad’s spade and dug another pit.  This time it was in the middle of the turning place in the track and really deep.  We placed our plywood over the hole and once again we covered it with mud.  We woke early the next morning to wait for Max.  Sure enough, at around 7 in the morning Max arrived with the milk.  After delivering to our house he proceeded according to our plan and stopped with his single front wheel right in the middle of the plywood.  Before the poor man knew what was happening his little milk float descended with dream like slow motion into the carefully laid trap.  We watched with great interest from behind our garden wall as Max attempted to retrieve intact milk bottles from the mud and later, as an Express Dairies van came and pulled the little milk float out of the hole.  For days the mud in that area was milk coloured due to the spilt milk.

Of scorpions and prostitutes

Day one in Nairobi
Barrie is a good mate of mine and is a first rate mass spec engineer.   He was instrumental in setting up our charity – Foundation for Analytical Science and Technology in Africa.  His company donated a fantastic instrument which we shipped out to Kenya to install in the lab of another good mate, Professor Anthony Gachanja. 
Barrie and I followed the mass spectrometer out to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi where we had a really busy week setting it up in Anthony’s lab.  We worked really hard, often arriving at the lab at 9 am and not leaving until 6 or 7 in the evening.  We were staying in the Nairobi Hilton, which is a very nice hotel in the middle of Nairobi, just next to the pile of rubble that was the American Embassy before it was bombed by Al Qaeda.  
 Kenya is a wonderful country and I always enjoy my visits there.   After the first day in the lab, we arrived back at the Hilton and had a couple of beers and something to eat before retiring to our (separate) rooms completely knackered.  I had a shower and was walking across to my bed when, out of the corner of my eye,  I saw a small animal run across the floor.  Obviously, this being Africa I was a bit  worried and after very quickly getting dressed and tucking my trousers into my socks I spent 20 minutes looking for this creature, but to no avail.  By now it was about midnight and I was frankly (I don’t mind admitting it) too scared to go to sleep in my room.  What did I do?  I rang Barrie and got him out of bed.  He arrived at my room none too pleased at been disturbed and between us we spent another 20 minutes searching but still found nothing.  Barrie then suggested that we phone the manager, which we did.  The manager appeared and suggested that we go down to the bar for another drink whilst his staff turned out my room.  An hour later, he came down to the bar and assured me that whatever it was it was not there now.  He said he thought it could have been a scorpion.  I asked him if they were dangerous and he replied ‘Oh yes sir, one bite from a scorpion and you could wake up dead in the morning’.  After that I made sure that I checked in the bed and under it before going to sleep.

L-R Anthony, Barrie, me.

L-R Mable (VC), Mary, Anthony and me

Unpacking the GC-MS

Day 4 in Nairobi
This particular day, we had worked really hard and managed (after 4 days of toil) to install the instrument and get it working well.  Again, we returned to the hotel at around 8 pm.  Anthony was due to join us for a beer and something to eat so I suggested to Barrie that I would go to my room for a shower and would meet him in the bar in 20 minutes.   When I got down to the bar I saw that the place was almost empty and Barrie was sitting on a bar stool with a beer.  I sat myself down next to him and ordered one for myself.  After about 5 minutes a rather attractive young lady sat down next me and struck up a conversation.  I remember thinking at the time that this was somewhat unusual and that this kind of thing did not often happen to me.  Anyway, the conversation continued and Barrie ordered some more beers.  After she showed no sign of getting tired of my conversation I casually asked her what she did for a living.  It was only when I heard Barrie choking on his beer that the penny dropped.  Soon after that Anthony arrived and the young lady realised that she was wasting her time and went off and sat next to a rather large and wealthy looking gentlemen.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A chemical called mineral oil

Today is Tuesday 8 March 2011.  I have just been watching the 700th anniversary of the Sky at Night.  I am consistently amazed by people like Patrick Moore.  He has been an inspiration for decent enthusiastic people for more than 50 years.  He really is a global ambassador for scientific endeavour.  One of my great worriess in life is that the peoples of the so called developed world now seem to be turning their back on science.  There are many examples of this.  In the late 60s we were sending people to the moon.  If this momentum had continued, we would now have manned bases on the moon doing wonderful things which can only be done in low gravity.  Maybe there would be entirely new industries based on this.   People would be routinely going into earth orbit for vacations and for work.  Maybe there would be manned missions to Mars.  The lack of momentum has been a waste of 40 years. I am upset that we have been denied this progress.  Other examples of a retreat include the loss of commercially available supersonic flight.  If the pace of technological developments that led to Concord in the 60s had been sustained, human transport would now be truly amazing.  Maybe people would be travelling to Australia in a couple of hours!  The spin offs would undoubtedly include much more efficient aviation propulsion technology.  Nuclear Energy is another example where we have lost momentum and are very close to losing the skills base needed to maintain a nuclear industry.  In the 50s  nuclear energy was promoted by telling people that it would be so cheap it wouldn't be worth metering.  This was a very big excercise in deception.  The real reason for all the nuclear power stations back then was not to make electricity, but to generate material for weapons.  This technology now has an undeserved poor reputation which is only slowly changing.  Nuclear energy is the only way to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions in the medium term.

On the other hand, where are we now?  We have highly prestigious news programmes like the Today programme on BBC radio 4 pandering to the scientifically illiterate.  The same day as I was listening to the wonderful 700th Sky at Night, the today programme was reporting that a harmful chemical was migrating from cardboard packaging made from recycled newspaper into the food within the package.  This they described as a chemical called mineral oil!  If anyone needs me to elaborate why I am upset by this, please let me know and I will gladly enlighten them.

Our world is in danger of descending back into the scientific dark ages where it is becoming politically unacceptable to spend public money on science and exploration.  Why?  Because the electorate have no curiosity anymore.  They are happy for politicians to spend our money populating university courses such as media studies and close down physics, chemistry and maths courses!  They buy into the witchcraft that is homeopathy and believe the people who peddle this crap rather than trained scientists.  I am not saying for one minute that science has all the answers, but I am saying that good science is evidence based!    What can be done about this?  I submit that the only way to engender public enthusiasm for science and technology is to fund high profile big science and engineering projects.  The world desperately needs another moon shot and this time it should be sustained.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The adventures of a young speed mad delinquent

As young lads, me and my brother Mike (3 years younger, less intelligent and really rather ugly) were obsessed by speed.  Both of us finished up in A&E on various occasions, following perambulatory accidents.  On one occasion, he staggered home with the remains of his bicycle handle bar embedded into his left thigh.  A couple of months later I came unstuck attempting to tow a glider down Tempest Avenue on the back of my bike.  Whilst swerving to avoid colliding with an elderly and rather smelly old lady – yes I was that close -  I mounted the curb and temporarily lost my memory on impact with the pavement.  When I came round I found myself in the old ladies smelly house, covered in blood with several teeth missing, two burst eyes and a black lip.  I’m not sure whether these injuries were due to the impact, or the wrath of the smelly old geriatric.

Anyway, I never did see the glider again, but it was last seen heading over the fields to Houghton Main muck stack!  I was guided home to me mum and dad by my mates, Terry Norman and someone else who I never did remember, but I think he was in the glider. Mum and dad took me straight off to hospital where they confirmed that I did indeed have two burst eyes and a black lip.  They X-rayed me for brain damage and confirmed concussion but were not able to foretell what my intellectual future held for me.
After I had recovered, my dad thought I would be safer on 4 wheels so he made a fantastic two seater trolley for the both of us.  Upon completion we went for a ride on it.  It was fantastic, it had a really elegant steering mechanism and it even had brakes.   I drove it  several times round the block, with Mike pushing as we went up the hills and him jumping into the back seat on the way down.  The short downhill section on the way down Doncaster road to the junction with Edderthorpe Lane was really good and we were able to get up to about 30 MPH on the footpath.  Anyway, one time Mike wanted to drive so being the kindly older brother I gave him a go.  I got a massive turn of speed up and then jumped into the back seat whilst he steered.  I forgot to mention that this machine had iron wheels and sounded like thunder once you got it going.  Anyway, as we came over the brow of the hill a little old lady (this one was quite fragrant) heard us and set off running. Now, if she’d kept on in a straight line she would have been a little out of breath, but otherwise unhurt.  Sadly for the lady this was not the case.  She was probably the fastest 80 year old on the planet that day, but alas only for a few seconds.  Tragically, the inevitable happened.  As we zig-zagged towards Edderthorpe Lane, she zag – zigged along approximately the same trajectory (I later became interested in mass spectrometry and the image of this was to serve me well in visualizing the trajectory of ions in the field of a quadrupole but that’s for another blog).  At the bottom of the hill we collided.  The old dear sailed through the air and landed with a sickening crunch and a prolonged exhalation of air where she remained motionless and covered in gravel.  Obviously we realised we had done something terrible.  When my dad arrived home from work he went round and collected her.  He wouldn’t let us see her but I think he broke her up for fire wood and that was the end of that.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The plight of the African Vulture

Foundation for Analytical Science & Technology in Africa (FASTA) became a registered charity in 2006 and since then, we’ve set up a centre of excellence in analytical chemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology in Nairobi.  The University is now teaching mass spectrometry to graduates and post graduates. We are also collaborating with a researcher and conservationist who has recently completed her doctoral work in the area of wildlife forensics at Cambridge.  We are looking for the reason for the vvery worrying mass decline in the African vulture population.
Our lab in Nairobi is currently analysing the feathers and bones of dead vultures using GC Mass Spectrometry - a very powerful technique for analysing and identifying trace amounts of chemicals. 
We are hoping to gather enough evidence and data to show the reason for the decline which we think is due to the rise in veterinary drugs used in cattle, especially Diclofenac, as well as deliberate poisonings, aimed at large mamals such as lions and tigers.  The objective is to get enough evidence based on sound science, to beetter control the use of these drugs in veterinary use.
We hope that the lab can become self sustaining, and that we will quickly be able to educate farmers that there are better and more sustainable ways to run their businesses.

Its a gas

The simple things are often the most challenging.  There is no such thing as a daft question.  For example, what is a fluid? This seems a simple, even  naive  question, but when you begin to think about it the science gets really interesting.

A fluid is simply a substance which has the ability to flow, so fluids can be either gases or liquids.  A phase diagram shows the different phases (in other  words, gas, liquid or solid) in which a substance will exist as a function of temperature and pressure.
If you look at a phase diagram, you will notice that the boundary between liquid and solid is almost vertical and this shows that a massive increase in pressure of a liquid is required before it will solidify. Water actually works in the opposite way as the solid occupies more volume than the liquid, which is why frozen pipes burst. Have a look at a phase diagram for water.
Now, onto gases. The pressure of a gas is due to the gas atoms or molecules colliding with the walls of the container. The distance gas molecules travel before they collide with another molecule is relatively large, thus any forces acting between the molecules will be small. In fact, at pressures of less than 10 psi, intermolecular forces are not really significant, and at these low pressures all gases behave to a good approximation as an ideal gas. In an ideal gas the relationship between pressure, volume and temperature is shown by the following equation:
Where p is the pressure, V is the volume, n is the amount of gas and T is absolute temperature. R is a constant called the gas constant. So, for perfect or ideal gases, or any gas at less than around 10 psi, they are all equally as compressible because there is no intermolecular interaction.
In the real world however, many gases do not behave in this ideal way, and may be more easily compressible if the molecules have an affinity for each other, or more difficult to compress if the molecules repel each other. At high pressures, forces of repulsion will dominate and ideal behaviour will fail for all gases. There are several equations which attempt to predict the behaviour of real gases but the most common one is the Van Der Waals equation. 

Foundation for Analytical Science & Technology in Africa

FASTA is a registered charity comprised of chemical scientists from the UK and other countries, including Kenya and Canada. It was founded by me and a group of colleagues from BP and Barrie Nixon from Mass Spec UK on September 20, 2006 to support scientific education and the preservation of the environment in Africa via capacity-building and technology transfer.

As scientists with a passion for chemistry and a dedication to the preservation of our environment, we have made an enduring commitment to provide participating laboratory facilities and collaborators with the tools they require to establish themselves and succeed.  Several organisations, especially The British Mass Spectrometry Society, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Mass Spec UK and Perkin-Elmer, amongst others have been very supportive by providing generous grants and lots of moral support for us and this was instrumental in allowing us to set up the first GC-MS facility at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology in Nairobi.  To this end, we purchase and install laboratory equipment and offer training, ongoing maintenance, and technical and professional support