A View inside the LHC

Giant Particle Smasher Returns

Two weeks ago, the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, returned after two years of extensive upgrades. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is part of particle physics, a branch that examines the tiny particles that constitute everything in the universe. Two years ago, the LHC provided evidence for the existence of the Higgs Boson. After such a monumental achievement, what do particle physicists hope to discover with the upgraded LHC? Continue reading Giant Particle Smasher Returns

Keystone Pipeline

Thrills and Spills: The Keystone XL Pipeline

Turning on the tap for a clean glass of water is a luxury many Americans take for granted. Though TransCanada Corporation promises minimal spillage and environmental impact through improved safety features in its plans to install a 1169-mile-long, 36-inch-wide pipe through the grasslands of Canada and the United States, risking this natural resource is one of the many considerations President Obama examined before vetoing the … Continue reading Thrills and Spills: The Keystone XL Pipeline

Sawdust- “wood wool”; by Priwo (photo taken by de:Benutzer:Priwo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An easier way to break down Cellulose for energy?

Humans can’t digest cellulose. Similarly, we’ve found it hard to efficiently break down cellulose in biomass for energy applications, until now. Researchers show a more efficient breakdown of cellulose than current methods that require energy-intensive pretreatment steps to separate the parts that can be easily broken down from those that cannot, consuming more energy than they yield. Here, no pretreatment steps are required. In this … Continue reading An easier way to break down Cellulose for energy?

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Why the blue LED should light up your life (and won a Nobel Prize)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘green technology’? Do solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars come to mind? What about light-emitting diodes (LEDs)? Unlike many costly green technologies, LEDs are accessible to the majority of Individuals who want to help the environment and save money. Using an LED for 50,000 hours of white-light home lighting (i.e. LED light bulbs for … Continue reading Why the blue LED should light up your life (and won a Nobel Prize)

fracking-image

Fracking: How cheap energy is reshaping America’s environment

Presented by Jared Atkinson, Natasha Goss, and Jordan Wilkerson The advent of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has led to the development of previously inaccessible resources, significantly increasing world gas and oil reserves. Despite the positive impact on energy reserves, questions about the long-term environmental effects of these extraction methods are unanswered. The technical details involved in fracking and the associated … Continue reading Fracking: How cheap energy is reshaping America’s environment

U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay

Hybrid Solar Cell with Higher Efficiency

In a finding that appears in the journal Nature Materials (original article here), researchers demonstrate efficient energy harnessing using a hybrid solar cell. Specifically, they show ultrafast energy transfer between an organic molecule (made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms) and an inorganic semiconductor (made of atoms other than carbon and hydrogen). Normally, absorption of one photon or particle of light by a solar cell … Continue reading Hybrid Solar Cell with Higher Efficiency

NASA Rocket Launch. Image from NASA-Imagery on Pixabay, Creative Commons.

NASA’s Physics-Defying Space Engine More Fiction Than Fact?

The history of modern physics contains several examples of crazy and successful new ideas. Unfortunately for scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, their “impossible” space engine may not be one of them. Why? Simply put, it violates Isaac Newton’s third law of motion. NASA’s experiment involved placing a radio antenna inside of a sealed, metal container. Once turned on, radio waves produced by … Continue reading NASA’s Physics-Defying Space Engine More Fiction Than Fact?