nuclear

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“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.” -Omar N. Bradley Nuclear physics is one of the most daunting, emotionally charged phrases in all of science. You can hardly say the words without the image…

“I see a lot of new faces. But, you know the old saying, ‘out with the old, in with the nucleus.’” -The Simpsons Looking around the Universe today, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty of hydrogen and helium around; after all, it’s the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium that powers the vast majority of stars…

Missions to Mars and Nuclear Fusion

“We are much closer today to being able to send humans to Mars than we were to being able to send men to the moon in 1961, and we were there eight years later. Given the will, we could have humans on Mars within a decade.” -Robert Zubrin Of all the planets in the Solar…

The Cosmic Story of Carbon-14

“Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties.” -James Jeans Here on Earth, every living thing is based around four fundamental, elemental building blocks of life: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and, perhaps most importantly, carbon. From diamonds to nanotubes to DNA, carbon is indispensable for constructing practically all of the most intricate…

Avoiding Armageddon!

Let’s say we’re having a nice day here on Earth; the Sun is shining, the clouds are sparse, and everything is just looking like a peach: And then Lucas goes and tells me, Oh my God, Ethan! It’s Armageddon! An asteroid is coming straight for us! You’ve got to stop it! Really? Me? Well, how…

Why are Brown Dwarfs so Dim?

Ahh, stars. Giant furnaces of nuclear fusion. Doing the stuff our Sun does, burning hydrogen fuel into helium (among other things) and emitting lots of visible light and energy in the process. But when we take a look at brown dwarfs, they aren’t like normal (i.e., main sequence) stars like our Sun. Instead of burning…