Instability begets instability. At least, that’s the lesson learned from a couple of Caltech researchers studying the way magnetic field lines break and reconnect. Such magnetic breakage and reconnection at some scales can be quite violent, like when the sun’s magnetic field lines snap and toss off a coronal mass ejection. But at smaller scales, it just looks really cool.
OK, so it can’t reach the energies produced at the LHC or Tevatron, but this is still pretty impressive. Engineers at a micro-electro mechanical systems conference last week unveiled this tiny cyclotron device, which can speed argon ions down a 5-millimeter accelerator track.
Wind and solar are such promising technologies for the hydrocarbon-free energy sources of tomorrow, but intermittent, inconsistent output renders them unfeasible as anything other than secondary power sources. But UK firm Isentropic thinks it may have solved the problem as it pertains to wind power; all we need to stabilize the energy flow from turbines are giant batteries made out of gravel.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.