Metallic Hydrogen and Scepticism

Scientists are supposed to be sceptical of others claims – you will encounter this in NOS (NOS 1.7 ‘Scientists must adopt a sceptical attitude to claims’). Why do I quote this? Well, you may have recently read or seen in the news that a new form (state) of Hydrogen has been produced. Hydrogen has been subjected to incredibly high pressure (495GPa or 495,000,000,000Pa – that’s 495 billion Pa). By contrast, standard atmospheric pressure is around 100,000Pa so this value is getting ...

Oxygen

Dione - not something that you would probably hear about in everyday conversations bu tin the next few years this name may become one of the most important words in our language. Why? Well first of all, what is Dione? It is, in fact, one of Saturn's many moons. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dione3_cassini_big.jpg Why has it been thrust into the limelight? Well, it is thought that it has a thin layer of molecular oxygen around the moon. So what is ...

Watching Electrons in H+

When atoms react, electrons are exchanged. Now, a team from Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany have revealed movie footage of the movement of electrons. The amazing thing about the process is the speed at which the electrons move. The process is measured in attoseconds - one attosecond is a billionth of a billionth of a second. In order to 'watch' this movement of an electron, H+ (or the molecular hydrogen ion) is used. H+ is used as it is the simplest molecule - ...

HD 209458

HD 209458 - one of the first few exoplanets discovered (by the Hubble Space telescope). It was named 'Osiris', after the Egyptian god of the underworld. This planet is large, as large as Jupiter and orbits it's star every three and a half days. What allowed scientists to discover it was that its spectral signature contained hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. The atmosphere is heated to 10,000 oC by the sun. It is thought that a hydrogen wind of evaporating gas drags away ...

Water (4)

Tuesday was World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year was ‘Water for Cities’. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. So far, we have been focussing on the fact that water has a much higher boiling point than is prediced and that the reason could be pinned down to the hydrogen bond. By Bidgee (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  You may also remember that yesterday I posted a question asking: 'How ...

Water (3)

Yesterday was World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year is ‘Water for Cities’. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. You may also remember that yesterday I posted a question asking: 'What causes water to have a much higher boiling point than expected?' And the answer ...... Well, it is the hydrogen bond - the same intermolecular bond that holds your DNA together. How does this (relatively) strong bond come to exist? What causes it? Where ...

It’s raining …. diamonds?

Diamonds. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diamond.jpg Artifical diamonds. The hardest ever produced. Made literaly from air! The technique is called 'chemical vapour deposition' and the gems are good enough to be used in jewellry. How? (I hear you ask!) That's the tricky part. A 'rain' of gaseous carbon is deposited onto the surface of an existing diamond, forming a thin film of diamond. The rain is a plasma, generated by bomarding methane and hydrogen with charged particles. The thin film of diamond is then cut up ...

Deadly Gases

Hydrogen Sulfide. H2S. Rotten eggs. It is a killer gas and has been linked to deaths on fishing vessels. Sailors aboard a South Korean vessel dies after inhaling the gas. Where did the gas come from? The rotting guts of squid that the boat had caught.  The unfortunate sailors were found in the hold of the boat - a closed space. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reversa1.jpg But why didn't they escape? We know the gas smells really bad - it ...

Reverse Friction?

  I have always thought of friction as being a physics topic but it has been proposed by scientists in the University of California that a chemical force could be used to reduced friction. Chemical force? What do I mean by this? I am writing about intermolecular forces, the force that 'holds' atom or molecules together. As you know there are three intermolecular forces: Hydrogen bonds (the strongest). Permanent dipole - dipole interactions. Van der Waals / London dispersion forces (the weakest). It is the ...

Antimatter trap and TOK

  What is in a number (that's the TOK bit)? Well, a great deal. 38 anti-hydrogen atoms (a huge number) were trapped in the LHC in Cern for a (relatively) huge amount of time back in November. By User:Freerk (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsSo, what is all the fuss? Well, anti-hydrogen is the opposite of hydrogen. It has a positron (not an electron) orbiting an anti-proton (not a proton). Anti-hydrogen was created in the big bang but was ...