; Big Science
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

Big Science


Most eBook uploaders incluging myself almost always scan & upload full books and magazines. For a change, I have decided to upload scanned magazine articles in this post! Whenever I come across good articles, I usually scan them & share with my close friends who have similar likes. These articles have been taken from Indian editions of Popular Science, Geo amd BBC Knowledge. All are in PDF format with OCR. If you like them, please leave a comment so that in future I can share some more with you! 01. 2011 Invention Awards 02. African Masters, European Slaves 03. Awesome Labs 04. Big Science 05. Flesh and Blood 06. Moonstruck 07. No Pulse 07. The Ages of the Eternal City 09. The Climate Engineers 10. The Man Who Would Stop Time

More Info
  • pg 1
									--   . ^ry ^   ;   ..^.fH.-   • K'rv \T-1 s   S - "faV 'JU   SK   »S2pÉ2
To improve our view of a vast and complex universe, scientist
  are creating increasingly ambitious new tools. The work is
   not easy. Truly big science requires decades of expensive
 co;                            itions. But the instruments that

     help us discover. We rank the 10 most epic among thém


When gold ions speeding inside the
Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)
on Long Island, New York, smash
into each other, these collisions can
produce temperatures of up to 7.2
trillion degrees Fahrenheit, so hot
that protons and neutrons melt. As
those particles disintegrate, the
quarks and gluons of which they
are comprised freely interact to
form a new state of matter, called
a quark-gluon plasma. As the
material cools after the collision is
over, protons and neutrons re-form,
producing 4,000 subatomic particles
in the process. Using the RHIC,
scientists are trying to re-create the
conditions that existed during the
first millionth of a second after the
big bang.

understand how matter has evolved
in our universe, physicists at the
RHIC send gold atoms through
several accelerators, stripping away
their electrons so they become
positively charged ions. Those ions
launch into two circular tubes and
race at up to 99.9 percent of the
speed of light before they collide. In
examining the remnants of these
collisions, the scientists have found    Annual           • PLASMA SENSOR The RHIC's        • PARTICLE TRACKER The PHENIX
that particles at this post-big-bang     budget:          STAR detector will collect data   detector records the tracks of par-
stage behave more like a liquid                           on quark-gluon plasmas.           ticles such as photons and muons.
instead of the predicted gas.            Construction
 WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: RHIC              $671,000,000
 scientists are currently developing     Staff: 700
 devices that accelerate protons         Physical
 and more precisely guide them to        size: 4-km
 irradiate and kill cancerous tumors     circumference
in humans. Engineers have also           Scientific
used the heavy ion beam to punch         utility: 6"
tiny holes in plastic sheets, making     What's in it
filters that can sort substances at      for you: 2*
the molecular level. Down the line,      Wow factor: 4*
we might see more-efficient energy-
storage devices based on the             *on a scale
superconducting magnet technology        of 1 to 10
used in the RHIC.
                    -GREGORY MONE
Oceans cover nearly three                  camera provides still photographs
quarters of the Earth's surface            and video of animals and their        PLACE The ship Ile de Sein
and contain 90 percent of its life,        behaviors, which scientists could     carried Neptune parts to sea.
yet they are almost entirely               use to gauge changes in the local
unexplored. Neptune, an ocean-             ecosystem. Hydrophones positioned
observatory network that consists          on the seafloor record dolphins and
of some 883 km of cable and 130            whales to track their numbers and
instruments with 400 sensors,              migration routes. And a remotely
all of it connected to the Internet,       operated crawler named Wally
will provide the first large-scale,        drives over the seabed to monitor
around-the-clock monitoring of an          underwater methane deposits,
ocean system, including animal life,       which could exacerbate global
geology and chemistry.                     climate change and also be a
                                           potential source of energy.           TEST The Vertical Profiler analyzes
SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: Neptune s                                                    conditions in the water column.
battery of instruments, which lie          WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Armchair
as far as 367 km off the coast of          (and professional) scientists
the Canadian province of British           worldwide can tune in over the
Columbia on the Juan de Fuca               Internet to see streaming     »
tectonic plate, offer a real-time view     video of Wally the crawler      1
of the area. A tethered float, outfitted   rolling over the seafloor,      1
with radiometers, fluorometers             watch deep-sea tubeworms
and conductivity sensors, ferries          waving in the currents of a     %
up and down the 396-m water                hydrothermal vent, or listen    /j^
column from the seabed to the              to a humpback-whale           /
                                                                                 SAMPLE Rovers examine tube-
surface, sampling the column's             s o n g . - B R O O K E BOREL   /
                                                                                 worms around a hydrothermal vent.
chemical and physical conditions
to determine how it changes over
time. A remotely operated vehicle
called ROPOS installs instruments
and gathers data. Its high-definition

CRAWL Wally will examine the
seafloor 853 m below the sur-
face in the Pacific Ocean.
                 Positioned on hundreds of square
                 kilometers of desert outside
                                                           of g a m m a - r a y bursts in faraway
                                                           nebulae and, in 1989, received           NATIONAL
                 Magdalena, New Mexico, the Very
                 Large Array (VLA) is one of the
                                                           radio transmissions f r o m the
                                                           Voyager 2 satellite as it passed         IGNITION
                 largest telescopes in the world. Its
                 27 individual radio antennas, each
                                                           Neptune, giving us the first up-
                                                           close photos of the gas giant and
$15,000,000      of which is 25 m in diameter, f o r m a   its moons. The VLBA measures             A GIANT LASER FUSION EXPERIMENT
Construction     Y with a r m s 22 k m long and gather     shifts in the Earth's orientation in
cost:            signals f r o m some of the brightest     the universe. By focusing on distant,    Considered the world's largest and
$300,000,000     objects in the universe. Its sister       virtually fixed objects—such as          most energetic laser, the National
Staff: 280       project, the Very Long Baseline           quasars—over time, scientists            Ignition Facility, located in Livermore,
Physical size:   Array (VLBA), is a line of 10 radio       can detect any apparent changes          California, stretches the length
27 antennas      antennas that extends 9,218 km            in Earth's orientation in space.         of three football fields, stands 10
on 65 km         from Hawaii to the Virgin Islands.        This orientation can be t h r o w n      stories tall, and generates two
of track         The VLA and VLBA create detailed          slightly out of place during major       million joules of ultraviolet energy.
Scientific       images of celestial objects as close      earthquakes, like the one that           That blast can cause the laser's
utility: 8       as the moon and as far away as the        struck Japan earlier this year.          target to reach temperatures of
WIIFY: 3         edge of the observable universe.                                                   more than 100 million degrees and
Wow factor: 6                                              WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Pick a             pressures of more than 100 billion
                 SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: Because radio         chapter in a modern astronomy            times the Earth's a t m o s p h e r e -
                 waves can penetrate the cosmic            textbook, and you w i l l find some      similar to conditions found in the
                 dust that obscures many objects,          material or theory based on data         cores of stars and gas-giant planets.
                 the VLA and VLBA can see things           collected by the VLA and VLBA. The
                 that optical telescopes can't. Using      VLBA also gathers data on the paths      SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: When the 192
                 the VLA, scientists have studied          of near-Earth asteroids, which could     individual beams that make up
                 the black hole at the center of the       help scientists predict if one is on a   the NIF laser converge on a target
                 Milky Way, searched for the origins       collision course with our planet.-B.B.   that contains atoms of deuterium
                                                                                                                  THE COUNTDOWN
                              MOBILE NETWORK
                              Thé VLA's radio antennas
                              sit on tracks so scientists
                              can change the array's

                                                              Physical size:
                                                              20 m diameter,
                                                              5 m tall
                                                              utility: 7
                                                              Wow factor: 10
                                                                                   Â JUPITER 0R8ITER ON
                                                                                   A SUICIDE MISSION
                                                                                                                           3k l i i Πf c s S ^
                                                                                   Just before Juno enters         characteristic makes the
                                                                                   Jupiter's orbit in 2016, the    planet a valuable window
                                                                                   spacecraft, pulled by the       into the solar system's
                                                                                   gas giant's tremendous          origins. Measurements of
                                                                                   gravity, w i l l reach          Jupiter's magnetic field
                                                                                   speeds of 2,23,333 km           could finally resolve the
(hydrogen with one neutron) and tritium (hydrogen with                             an hour, making it one          debate over whether the
two neutrons), the atoms' nuclei fuse and create a burst                           of the fastest human-           planet has a rocky core.
of energy. NIF scientists are trying to refine this process   Annual               made objects ever built.        Juno's magnetometers
to produce, for the first time, a net energy gain from                             Once in orbit, the craft        wilt characterize the
fusion reactions. They are also using their research to                            w i l l make 33 passes          depth and motions of
                                                              $140,000,000         around the planet and           the metallic hydrogen
study what happens to nuclear weapons over time, a
crucial question when judging the safety and reliability
                                                              Construction         then dive directly into         ocean found in the
of the U.S. stockpile. Finally, because conditions in the     cost:                it. On its suicide run,         interior, which generates
laser's target mimic those in the cores of massive stars,     $3,540,000,000       it w i l l plow through         the strongest magnetic
scientists hope to understand how fusion produced some        Staff: 1,000         Jupiter's hydrogen              field in our solar system
of the heavy atomic elements, such as gold and uranium.                            atmosphere until it             aside from that found
                                                              Physical size:
                                                                                   burns up like a meteor.         around the sun. Finally, -
                                                              52,669                                               a microwave radiometer
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: If you happen to be storing
nuclear weapons in your home, NIF data could help you
                                                              square m             SCIENTIFIC UTILITY:             w i l l measure the amount
determine whether your stockpile is reliable. Otherwise,      Scientific           While Juno circles              of water in Jupiter's
some NIF proponents say that it could provide fusion          utility: 4           Jupiter, a suite of nine        deep atmosphere, a
power—although a fusion power plant probably won't be         WIIFY: 2             instruments w i l l study       key to understanding
based on giant lasers.—KATHERINE BAGLEY                                            the planet's many layers.       how the planet was
                                                              Wow factor: 8
                                                                                   Jupiter was the first           originally formed.
                                                                                   planet in the solar system
                                                                                   to form, and because it         WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU:
                                                                                   is so large, its gravity        Study of Jupiter's complex
                                                                                   has retained original           weather patterns could
                                                                                     material found in the         help us predict our own,
                                                                                     early solar system,           but for the most part this
                                                                                      primarily hydrogen           is pure scientific research.
                                                                                      and helium. This                      - J E N N I F E R ABBASI

DOME OF LIGHT Above, the
booster synchrotron rïrigât
the ALS. Below, the storage
ring and the individual
experiment bearrttines

                     ADVANCED LIGHT SOURCE
                     THE ULTIMATE MICROSCOPE

                     Since 1993, researchers at the Advanced Light Source,        than we thought. That same year, Roger D. Kornberg
  Annual             (ALS) a particle accelerator in Berkeley, California, have   of Stanford University w o n the Nobel Prize in
  budget:            been sending a photon beam a million times as bright         Chemistry for w o r k at the ALS on the 3-D structure
  $54,200,000        as the sun's surface into proteins, battery electrodes,      of RNA polymerase enzymes. The s t r u c t u r a l data
  Construction       superconductors and other materials to reveal their          allowed him to describe how DNA is translated
  cost:              atomic, molecular and electronic properties.                 into RNA during a process called transcription.
  Staff: 223        SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: The ALS is one of the brightest           WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Work at the ALS on a protein
  Physical           sources of soft x-rays, which have the right                 associated with melanoma aided the development of
  size:723906        wavelengths for spectromicroscopy, a scientific              a novel medication to combat the disease. The drug is
  square m           technique that reveals both the s t r u c t u r a l and      currently in Phase II and III clinical trials. Other data
  Scientific        chemical makeup of samples only a few nanometers              f r o m ALS could lead to high-capacity lithium battery
  utility: 10       wide. In 2006, scientists at the ALS helped determine         electrodes, which would increase the battery's charge
  WIIFY: 10         that dust captured f r o m the tail of a comet f o r m e d    capacity. Finally, understanding the physical and
  Wow factor: 2     near the sun very early in the solar system's history,        electronic structure of flat sheets of carbon, called
                    showing that the cosmic ingredients that originated           graphene, could s p u r the development of atomic-scale
                    in our corner of the universe started mixing earlier          transistors and much faster computer processors.-J.A.
produces x-rays in
a device called an
undulator, seen here.


It takes $2 billion a year and thousands of employees
to keep the lights on at the International Space Station
(ISS). So far, 201 people f r o m 11 countries (and seven
well-heeled tourists) have visited the ISS, which has
supported the longest continuous human presence
in orbit: 11 years this November, with about a decade
more to come. The ISS also plays host to the Alpha          Annual
Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), the largest, heaviest          budget:
instrument ever to be flown in space.                       $2,310,000,000
SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: On the ISS, scientists and              cost:
astronauts from NASA and its international partners         $4,500,000,000
test spacecraft components and support systems that         Staff: 1,000-
could be used for long-distance human spaceflight.          2,000
They also examine human physiology, studying the            Physical size:
effects of weightlessness on bone density and red-          9,855
blood-cell production and how the immune system             cubic m
changes during long periods in space. As of May,            Scientific
researchers have had access to the AMS, an instrument
capable of detecting strangelets, quarks that have been
                                                            utility: 3
                                                            WIIFY: 6         SPALLATION
made in particle accelerators but have never been
observed in nature.
                                                            Wow factor: 6
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Research performed on the                              SOURCE
ISS led to the discovery that salmonella bacteria                            A MOVIE CAMERA FOR MOLECULES
become more virulent in space. That discovery, and the
identification of the genes that cause the change, are                       Every month, the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) in Oak
fueling the development of the first vaccines to combat                      Ridge, Tennessee, draws between 25 and 28 megawatts
salmonella and methicillin-resistant    Staphylococcus                       of power from the electrical grid and uses about 33
aureus (MRSA) bacteria, the staph infection that has                         million gallons of water to stay cool. During operation,
plagued thousands of hospital patients.-J.A.                                 the particle accelerator in the SNS sends bursts of two
                                                                                                                              '   cost:
                                                                                                                              !   $1,410,000,000
                                                                                                                              !   Staff: 500
                                                                                                                              j   Physical
                                                                                                                                  size: N/A
                                                                                                                              ;   Scientific
                                                                                                                              i   utility: 10
                                                                                                                              !   WIIFY: 10
                                                                                                                              |   Wow factor: 1

                                                                                                                              [,:; .
                                                                                                                                   ON A
                                                                                                                                Technicians at ;
                                                                                                                                the SNS use a
                                                                                                                                special boom
                                                                                                                                to perform
                                                                                                                                on the
                                                                                                                              ; machine's
                                                                                                                              ! hazardous
                                                                                                                                components. I

quadrillion neutrons per pulse          have very little energy, neutrons        sends packets of neutrons at a
down into a target chamber. These       interact only weakly with matter.        rate of 60 pulses per second, it
dense clouds of neutrons deflect        As the neutrons pass through a           can record how structures change
off materials to reveal how atomic      sample, they scatter off the atomic      over time, like shooting individual
structures change over time.            nuclei in the sample. That interaction   frames of a movie and then stitching
                                        changes the energy and direction         those together into motion.
SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: The SNS             of those neutrons, and 14 different
sends neutrons hurtling toward a        instruments, positioned a few feet       WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Better
sample at up to 97 percent of the       from the sample, record those            batteries. Scientists are using these
speed of light. But unlike particles    changes in trajectory. Software          atomic-scale movies to monitor
in a collider, neutrons do not create   then adds up all the scattering data     batteries as they charge and
large explosions when they hit their    to produce the atomic structure          discharge in real time. It w i l l also be
sample. Because they are small and      of the sample. Because the SNS           used to study protein structure.-G.M.

A PROTON ACCELERATOR TO FIND                           and visualize the paths, energies
THE ELUSIVE GOD PARTICLE                               and identities of subatomic
                                                       particles, which may answer some
Buried 100 m beneath the border                        of these questions. The ATLAS
of Switzerland and France, the                         project's detector, for example,
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the                     is searching for collision events
world's largest particle collider.    Annual           in which there appears to be an
The facility requires 700 gigawatt-   budget:          imbalance of momentum—an
hours of energy and some $1           $1,200,000,000   indication of the presence of the
billion annually to run. More than    Construction     supersymmetric particles thought    conducted at the Relativistic Heavy
10,000 researchers, engineers and     cost:            to make up dark matter. The         Ion Collider [#10 on our list].
students from 60 countries on six     $7,820,000,000   Compact Muon Solenoid project
continents contribute to the LHC's    Staff: 2,500     complements ATLAS by searching      WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Though
six standing projects, which are      Physical         for supersymmetry and the elusive   the LHC has brought black-hole
designed to unlock the fundamental    size: 28-km      Higgs boson. LHC-Forward will       alarmists out of the woodwork,
physics of the universe.              circumference    simulate high-energy cosmic         the project will have little effect
                                      Scientific       rays, and LHC-Beauty will provide   on our day-to-day lives, unless
SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: What exactly      utility: 8       information on why the universe     your family and friends are the
is dark matter? Are there extra       WIIFY: 1         is made up of matter rather than    type to discuss the origins of
dimensions in space? Does the         Wow factor: 9    antimatter. TOTEM tracks proton     the universe over dinner.-K.B.
Higgs boson, commonly referred                         collisions and provides data on
to as the "God particle," exist?                       the proton's inner structure. And
                                                                                           • HEAT SEEKER A calorimeter
How did the universe form? The                         ALICE will track quark-gluon        in the ATLAS detector measures
LHC's six particle detectors record                    plasmas, similar to experiments     the energy of particles.
                                                                                                        • MOTION SENSOR GPS stations

                                                                                                        pinpoint areas of ground movement
                                                                                                        down to the thickness of a dime.

Designed to track North America's       caused by tectonic shifts below.               Annual           behind geological events such
geological evolution, EarthScope        Seismic sensors next to the active             budget:          as earthquakes and volcanic
is the largest science project on       San Andreas Fault in California                $25,000,000      eruptions, leading to better
the planet. This earth-sciences         record its tiniest slips, while rock           Construction     detection. So far, data f r o m the
observatory records data over 6.3       samples pulled f r o m a d r i l l site that   cost:            project has s h o w n that rocks in the
million square km. Since 2003, its      extends three kilometers into the              $197,000,000     San Andreas Fault are weaker than
more than 4,000 instruments have        fault reveal the grinding and strain           Staff: 110       those outside it and that the plume
amassed 67 terabytes of data—           on the rocks that occur w h e n the            Physical size:   of m a g m a under the Yellowstone
that's equivalent to more than a        t w o sides of the fault slide past each       i.3 million      park's supervolcano is even bigger
quarter of the data in the Library of   other during an earthquake. And                square km        than previously suspected.-B.B.
Congress—and add another terabyte       over the course of 10 years, s m a l l         Scientific
every six to eight weeks                crews have hauled a moveable                   utility: 10
                                        array of 400 seismographs across               WIIFY: 10
SCIENTIFIC UTILITY: Researchers         the country using backhoes and                 Wow factor: 10                   * ' • *'•     * •
are using EarthScope, which             sweat. By the time the stations                                                             ...
consists of many kinds of               reach the U.S. East Coast next
experiments, to examine all             year, they w i l l have collected data
facets of North America's               f r o m almost 2,000 locations.
geological composition. Across the
                                                                                                        • DRAGNET Earthscope deploys
continental U.S. and Puerto Rico,       WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: Collectively,                             GPS stations, strain meters, and
1,100 permanent GPS units track         EarthScope's m e a s u r e m e n t s                            permanent and mobile seismic
deformations in the land's surface      could help explain the forces                                   stations across the U.S.

To top