The ISOLDE facility. (Photo: CERN)
Today’s atomic clocks are exceptional timepieces that won’t lose or gain a second in 30 billion years. But if you’re looking for even more precision, you’ll be glad to learn that physicists at CERN’s ISOLDE nuclear physics facility have observed the decay of thorium-229 nuclei trapped in a crystalline structure and confirmed the potential for a nuclear clock. CERN announced the news on May 24.
The core of SLOWPOKE-2. (Photo: CNL)
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced on September 23 that it had refueled the SLOWPOKE-2 research reactor at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario. The reactor was recommissioned on September 10 after a 22-day outage.
The EBR-II sodium fast reactor at Idaho National Laboratory began operations in 1964 and generated electricity for decades. Soon it will serve as a National Reactor Innovation Center test bed for future advanced reactor demonstrations. (Source: ANL)
At the box office or streaming at home, it’s fear, not truth, that sells. The laws of physics are swept aside, apocalypse is inevitable, and superpowered heroes wait until the last possible second to save the universe. It can make for great entertainment, but in the real world we need to stick with science over science fiction and be wowed by engineering, not special effects.
The truth is, science and innovation are incredible in their own right. From communications and machine learning to space travel and medical advances, technology is evolving in hyperdrive to solve real problems. With climate change and global warming here on earth, we don’t have to go looking for trouble in a galaxy far, far away.