Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but it can be difficult and costly to get at the raw gaseous stuff, at least in the kind of commercial volumes that could sustainably fuel a hydrogen economy. But researchers at the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made a substantial leap toward a hydrogen-based future by devising a cheap, metal catalyst that can split hydrogen gas from water.
More than 10 years after Russian scientists first claimed to create atoms of Ununquadium, the unstable element in position 114 on the periodic table, scientists at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory have confirmed their own element 114 sample. Unfortunately, the 114 atoms quickly decayed, dashing years of hope that element 114 occupied the long sought "island of stability" where super-heavy elements could exist in large quantities for long periods of time.
Giant particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have become the poster children for big science. Immense in size, cost, and ambition, these gargantuan structures hurl particles at velocities close to the speed of light, in the hopes of uncovering the most basic constituents of matter and energy.
But when Wim Leemans gets his way, particle accelerators will be just another piece of lab equipment, no more obtrusive than a gene sequencer or a desktop printer.
Physicists are increasingly certain a mysterious force is driving the universe apart. If only they knew what it was.
By Tim FolgerPosted 12.29.2003 at 2:32 pm 0 Comments
For astronomers, 2003 brought some answers, more questions and a deepening conviction: Something strange is happening to the universe. In February a satellite operating a million miles from Earth made a series of measurements that were as baffling as they were precise. A mysterious repulsive force called dark energy accounts for 73 percent of the entire mass-energy of the universe, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) found; 23 percent consists of invisible dark matter, and only 4 percent of the universe is ordinary matter and energy.