Monday, September 26, 2011

Radon predicting Earthquakes

April 07, 2009"Being able to predict earthquakes is the Holy Grail of seismology," Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said. "The more we try, the less progress we seem to make.
a scientist little known in earthquake circles made a bold prediction of a destructive earthquake in the Abruzzo region of central Italy based on spikes in radon gas. Giampaolo Giuliani went so far as to tell the mayor of a town there that it would strike within the next 24 hours.
His deadline passed and for days, nothing happened.
Then, early Monday, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck near the town of L'Aquila, sparking a controversy around the world about whether Giuliani truly predicted the temblor or whether it was a fluke of timing.
Mar 18, 2010 a group of physicists, led by physics Nobel laureate Georges Charpak, has developed a new detector that could measure one of the more testable earthquake precursors – the suggestion that radon gas is released from fault zones prior to earth slipping.
elevated concentrations of radon gas in soil or groundwater could be the sign of an imminent earthquake. It is believed that the radon is released from cavities and cracks as the Earth's crust is strained prior to the sudden slip of an earthquake. In order to test this hypothesis, however, researchers would need to deploy several hundred detector devices along a fault zone.
Charpak's alternative detector is based on established technology already in action in extreme conditions at laboratories such as CERN. It consists of a wire-type counter, which is the concept for which Charpak won his Nobel prize in 1992. In these devices, particles such as radon enter a gas-filled container and ionize some of the gas particles. The resulting ions and electrons are accelerated by a potential on the wire, causing a cascade of ionization that results in a current in the wire.

One key feature of this new detector design is that it works with ambient air, thus avoiding the need to keep refilling the detector's ionization chamber with a particular gas. It also has a high efficiency, which was achieved by including multiple wires in the ionization chamber. In laboratory tests, the researchers report a radon count of 140 Bq.m–3 over one minute, which is comparable to that offered by commercial devices. The tests also show that the device still functions in 70% humidity,

FEBRUARY 07, 2007

it has been known for a while that radon levels in the atmosphere can correspond to tectonic activity. Direct measurements of radon levels have shown large fluctuations immediately preceding earthquakes. What this paper presents is the idea that instead of a direct measurement of radon levels, remotely sense temperature and humidity measurements can be used as a proxy for the same phenomena. When Radon in the air decays, it ionizes other nearby molecules or atoms. These newly formed ions are then hydrated by atmospheric water, with the result that air humidity drops. The latent heat of evaporation is released from the water during the phase transformation, which results in a temperature increase. So, big pulses of Radon into the atmosphere, as are associated with tectonic activity and seem to occur leading up to earthquakes, results in an initial decrease in humidity and increase in temperature. The radon flux reaches a maximum and starts to decrease just prior to the "seismic shock", during which time there is a corresponding rise in humidity and drop in temperature.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ever thought of chocolate graphene

 Members of Girl Scouts of the United States of America Troop 25080 came to Rice's Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology to see  how graphene -- a single-atom-thick sheet of the same material in pencil lead -- can be made from just about any carbon source, including food, insects and waste.
The cookie gambit started on a dare when chemist Tour mentioned at a meeting that his lab had produced graphene from table sugar.
"I said we could grow it from any carbon source -- for example, a Girl Scout cookie, because Girl Scout Cookies were being served at the time," Tour recalled. "So one of the people in the room said, 'Yes, please do it. ... Let's see that happen.'"
. Rice graduate students Gedeng Ruan, lead author of the paper, and Zhengzong Sun calculated that at the then-commercial rate for pristine graphene -- $250 for a two-inch square -- a box of traditional Girl Scout shortbread cookies could turn a $15 billion profit.
"That's a lot of cash!" said an amazed Sydney Shanahan, a member of the troop.
A sheet of graphene made from one box of shortbread cookies would cover nearly three football fields, Sun said.
The experiment was a whimsical way to make a serious point: that graphene -- touted as a miracle material for its toughness and conductivity since its discovery by Nobel Prize-winning scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in 2004 -- can be drawn from many sources.
To demonstrate, the researchers subsequently tested a range of materials, as reported in the new paper, including chocolate, grass, polystyrene plastic, insects (a cockroach leg) and even dog feces (compliments of lab manager Dustin James' miniature dachshund, Sid Vicious).
The process:  the researchers were able to make high-quality graphene via carbon deposition on copper foil. In this process, the graphene forms on the opposite side of the foil as solid carbon sources decompose; the other residues are left on the original side. Typically, this happens in about 15 minutes in a furnace flowing with argon and hydrogen gas and turned up to 1,050 degrees Celsius.
Tour expects the cost of graphene to drop quickly as commercial interests develop methods to manufacture it in bulk.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The peace weapon!!

He designed the neutron bomb using pencil, paper and a slide rule given to him by his father for his 15th birthday.
And then went on to feel:
"It's the most sane and moral weapon ever devised
It's the only nuclear weapon in history that makes sense in waging war. When the war is over, the world is still intact."
 A peace medal given to him by Pope John Paul I,1999
A jew by birth with the inherited ingenious brains. Imagine neutron radiations and the nuclear fusion chain reactions being perceived as peaceful just because they cause less visible destruction to the surroundings and the soldiers deserve to pay a price for what they chose or rather are sent for!! 
Thankfully the "cold war" was actually without any action that we could not see the weapon`s repurcussions.
Then perhaps Einstein missed the peace Nobel Prize by a few years, considering his origins/stature and his pioneering  Theory of Relativity.Or that the Photoelectric effect won the race...
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, January 10, 2011

The call of the Himalayas

Once you've lived with the mountains You will return You will come back To touch the trees and the GRASS And climb once more the wind swept Mountains and Valleys