Here at PopSci we like to nurture that DIY, can-do, experimental spirit, but file this one under what not to do: A Swedish gentleman, citing a a curiosity about whether or not it’s possible to split atoms in one’s own home, has been arrested for trying to induce fission of radium, americium, and uranium in his kitchen. No joke.
Several of Japan's nuclear power plants, especially the Fukushima Naiishi plant in northeastern Japan, are experiencing serious problems in the wake of Friday's earthquake and tsunami. If you've been following the news, you've seen some pretty alarming stuff going on at this plant--terms like "explosion," "partial meltdown," "evacuation," and "radiation exposure." With details sparse from the chaotic scene, here's what you need to know to understand and make sense of the news unfolding in Japan.
If space is devoid of oxygen, how does the sun burn?
Strictly speaking, the sun does not burn. At least, not the way that, say, a wick on a candle does. The small fires we're all familiar with are created by a chemical reaction betweena fuel, such as oil or coal, and oxygen. The sun's writhing surface is the result of "a nuclear reaction that fuses hydrogen to form helium," saus Jerald Navratil, a physicist at Columbia University.