Red Dot Replacing Cross Hairs

A bullet fired from a gun becomes subject to the pull of gravity and begins to fall the instant it leaves the gun barrel. The farther away from the gun the bullet travels, the lower to the ground it gets. To compensate for this, guns are sighted in such a way that the bullet is actually going upwards when it leaves the barrel. The bullet then ...

Continue reading...


X-Ray Astronomy vs. Medical X-Rays

It's natural to associate the X-rays from cosmic objects with an X-ray from the doctor's office, but the comparison is a bit tricky. A doctor's X-ray machine consists of two parts: an X-ray source at ... Continue reading


The Melting Point

Physical properties of a material fall into two categories: intrinsic properties determined by the structure of the particular molecule, and bulk properties characteristic of quantities of molecules ... Continue reading


What Is pH?

Anyone who is the least bit familiar with vinegar, nausea, sodium bicarbonate, and ammonia-based cleaning solutions probably has a very good 'feel' for the different natures of acidic and basic ... Continue reading


The Color of The Sunset

Color in the form of pigment does not exist in the atmosphere. Instead, the color we see in the sky results from the scattering, refraction, and diffraction of sunlight by particles in the atmosphere, ... Continue reading


The World's Largest Laser

LargestLaserIn a rural community in Northern California, in a building spanning the length of two football fields scientists are creating the world's largest laser. The National Ignition Facility project, know as NIF, is being developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.

When complete, the facility will house 192 laser beams in two bays. The beams will generate a peak power of 1000 times the electric generating power of the entire United States, although only for a few billionths of a second. When fired, the laser light from the beams will travel through tubes almost the length of the entire building, and pass through giant crystals that will covert the infrared light of the lasers to ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light from the 192 lasers will then converge on a 10-meter diameter target chamber that looks nothing but out of this world. The ultimate target is inside this chamber; a BB-sized plastic sphere, holding fusion fuel. The hydrogen fuel will reach temperatures of 100 million degrees and will be converted to helium with the release of fusion energy.

The goal of this ambitious project is national defense and research in the areas of energy creation through fusion power, nuclear reactions, astrophysics, and material sciences.