Saturday, 28 January 2012

100 years since the first single crystal X-ray experiments

100 years since the first single crystal X-ray experiments!!! The year 2012 represents the centennial of the first single crystal X-ray experiments, performed at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität, Munich, Germany, by Paul Knipping and Walter Friedrich under the supervision of Max von Laue. Max von Laue was awarded the Nobel prize in Physics 1914 "for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals": "One evening in February 1912, the physicist Peter Paul Ewald sought von Laue's advice about some difficulties he was having with his doctoral thesis on the behaviour of long electromagnetic waves in the hypothetical space lattices of crystals. von Laue couldn't answer Ewald's question, but his mind began to wander. Suddenly, a connection clicked in his mind. If diffraction and interference occurs when the wavelength of light is a similar size to the width of the slit of an optical grating, and if X-rays were indeed waves that have a wavelength at least ten thousand times shorter than visible light, then in theory the spaces between the atoms in a crystal might be just the right size to diffract X-rays. If all this were true, von Laue thought, a beam of X-rays passing through a crystal will be diffracted, forming a characteristic interference pattern of bright spots on a photographic plate.
Sommerfeld was sceptical when von Laue approached him with this idea. He doubted the experiment would work, and besides he needed his assistants for other assignments. Nevertheless, Sommerfeld was generous enough to give von Laue the go ahead to carry out the study. von Laue designed an experiment in which he placed a copper sulphate crystal between an X-ray tube and a photographic plate. His assistants, Walter Friedrich and Paul Knipping, carried out the experiment. After a few initial failures, they met with success on 23 April, 1912. X-rays passing through the crystal formed the pattern of bright spots that proved the hypothesis was correct."

Medical isotopes

Do you wounder what happened to medical isotopes crisis and how different countries trying to eliminate their dependency on the aging NRU reactor? here are a few recent announcements: non-reactor based methods in Canada in Alberta and Quebec (, and in Janesville, Wisconsin (, and the recently announced new research reactor in Netherlands ( among all of these, it will be only the new research reactor in the Netherlands that allows not only the production of medical isotopes but also production of other types of isotopes required for science and technology as well as other nuclear research including neutron scattering...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Westinghouse Electric moves to the north!

Westinghouse Electric moves to the north! "Westinghouse Electric Company LLC today announced the formation of Westinghouse Electric Canada, Inc. to better serve its Canadian customers, strengthen its ties with Canadian suppliers, and align itself more appropriately with the regulations and requirements in Canada to meet growing business opportunities there. The headquarters will be located in Toronto, Ontario." move away ACR1000, hello Westinghouse AP1000®!!! at least this will create jobs...

Japan eyes first trade deficit in 3 decades!

Japan eyes first trade deficit in 3 decades! " and let's not forget that in addition to economical problems, the increased use of fossil fuels just adds further to the CO2 emissions, air pollution and all of its consequences!!! also see: "Huge energy imports last year caused Japan to record a rare trade deficit. Manufacturing was hit by the tsunami, but the use of fossil fuels to replace shut-down nuclear plants was a bigger factor." ... " Japan has had to severely reduce its use of electricity with a big impact on domestic and industrial routines, while the utilities have switched to alternative fuels for power generation. The result has been a jump of 25.2% in fossil fuel imports, which last year made up almost one third of Japan's total overseas spending. Oil, gas and coal were all in demand from foreign markets." ... "The figures may help Japanese leaders make a strong case for restarting operable nuclear power plants, should these be acknowledged by regulators as having passed the two-stage program of stress tests. The government has invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to discuss and comment on the stress test program.
Japan is currently in the process of developing a new energy policy, which will see energy efficiency and renewable technologies prioritised alongside stalwart nuclear and fossil fuels. Leaders have been frank in dismissing any hopes of meeting climate change targets."

The town that wants US's nuclear waste

Do you know which town it is that wants US's nuclear waste, see: "“It’s really a labor of love,” says Forrest. “We’ve proven that nuclear waste can be disposed of in a safe, reliable way.” This attitude—“Yes in my backyard,” if you will—has brought near permanent prosperity to this isolated spot that until recently had no endemic economic engine. Unemployment sits at 3.8%, versus 6.5% statewide and 8.5% nationally. And thanks to this project—euphemistically known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP—New Mexico has received more than $300 million in federal highway funds in the past decade, $100 million of which has gone into the roads around Carlsbad. WIPP is the nation’s only permanent, deep geologic repository for nuclear waste. The roads have to be good for the two dozen trucks a week hauling in radioactive drums brimming with the plutonium-laden detritus of America’s nuclear weapons production."
Similar news in Spain:

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Our amazing Sun!

In light of the amazing northern lights show set off by powerful solar flair over the past few days (check out the video below!), here are some interesting facts about our own amazing Sun!

The sun's mass is 1,989,100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
The sun's volume is 1,409,272,569,059,860,000 km3
The sun's age is 4,600,000,000 years
The sun is 150,000,000 kilometers away from the Earth
The sun is an average star
The sun is mostly made up of hydrogen (75% of the mass) and helium (25% of the mass) and some heavier elements (0.1%)
The sun is a plasma (neither a solid nor a gas)
The sun produces its energy through nuclear fusion in its core
The sun's core temperature is 15,700,000 kelvin
The sun's surface temperature is only 5778 K "cool"
the sun's solar constant is 1365 - 1369 W/m2
The sun will become a red giant in about 5,000,000,000 years!

see: also and

Join in the campaign to grow support for research in Canada

Join in the campaign to grow support for research in Canada: this just takes a few minutes and will ensure the voice of the research community is heard by the Canadian government! the link below allows you to very easily send an e-mail to your MP (your local MP is identified based on your postal code), with copies to Ministers Flaherty, Paradis and Goodyear. You will be able to review an (editable) template letter before submitting. If a large number of researchers makes their views known, it is not too late to have an impact!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

World’s first magnetic soap is produced and its magnetic properties are proven by neutron scattering

World’s first magnetic soap is produced and its magnetic properties are proven by neutron scattering: "The discovery could be used to create cleaning products that can be removed after application and used in the recovery of oil spills at sea" "As most magnets are metals, from a purely scientific point of view these ionic liquid surfactants are highly unusual, making them a particularly interesting discovery. From a commercial point of view, though these exact liquids aren’t yet ready to appear in any household product, by proving that magnetic soaps can be developed, future work can reproduce the same phenomenon in more commercially viable liquids for a range of applications from water treatment to industrial cleaning products. Professor Julian Eastoe"
also see:

Sunday, 22 January 2012

New research reactor is approved by the Dutch government

Dutch govt approves new medical isotope reactor:
wow that is incredible... wish such decision was/will be made to replace NRU! All the reasons why such investment is a critical investment to maintain and expand Canada's position in nuclear research and technology including neutron scattering are clearly and visibly there, why such decision is still lacking doesn't make any sense... Good for the Dutch! see also: 
"Nuclear Research & Consultancy Group (NRG) director Rob Stol is reportedly "delighted" with the support from the Cabinet and North Holland province. “The building of PALLAS and the investment in the Higher Education Reactor in Delft are superb reinforcements to the Netherlands’ nuclear knowledge infrastructure. ... NRG, and thus the Netherlands, has an extremely strong position in the world market for medical isotopes and nuclear technology research. With the coming of PALLAS, we will be able to maintain and expand this position.""

Happy Birthday Lev Davidovich Landau

Happy Birthday Lev Davidovich Landau! This great Russian physicist made major contributions in our theoretical understanding of condensed matter physics especially in the field of superfluidity and superconductivity... The Nobel Prize in Physics 1962 was awarded to him "for his pioneering theories for condensed matter, especially liquid helium":

Saturday, 21 January 2012

US takes first steps in manufacturing small nuclear reactors

US takes first steps in manufacturing small nuclear reactors: "The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the first step toward manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the United States, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to advancing U.S. manufacturing leadership in low-carbon, next generation energy technologies and restarting the nation’s nuclear industry. Through the draft Funding Opportunity Announcement announced today, the Department will establish cost-shared agreements with private industry to support the design and licensing of SMRs." it seems the way of the future... China leading with the most advanced modular project, Russia, Argentina, South Korea, South Africa and Japan are other countries with advanced development, notably is missing any such project in Canada, see more details:

Future use of fission for space travel

Future use of fission for space travel: this is a great overview of the past and current use of nuclear technologies in space by the World Nuclear Association: ..., also see : for Project Bifrost which is "examining emerging space technologies that could lay the foundation for future interstellar flights and investigates the utility of fission for future space missions." quite neat!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Perimeter Institute recorded seminar archive

A great resource: PERIMETER INSTITUTE RECORDED SEMINAR ARCHIVE: "PIRSA is a permanent, free, searchable, and citable archive of recorded seminars from relevant bodies in physics. This resource has been partially modelled after Cornell University's Every seminar, seminar series, and collection of seminars is given a unique number, the PIRSA#, which allows each specific seminar to be referenced. We offer seminar content in the following media formats: Windows Media, Flash, MP3, and PDF of slide or presentation materials." you could either browse through all presentations or search based on the speaker's name or title/abstract: ... the most recent neutron scattering lecture was given by Prof. Gaulin: "Phase Transitions in Planar Pyrochlores" watch it at:

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Music from radiation

Music from radiation? yep! quite neat! "This is a project with the goal to make radiation more understandable. By translating the isotopes different energy levels to sound frequencies we can ad another sense to grasp nuclear physics." watch:

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Green energy: subsidies vs performance

A good read: wind and solar producing most of our energy, electric cars put power back into the grid, green fields of corn produce clean fuels, and millions of people working in green technology factories, reality or lie?
also see for more on downside of producing ethanol from corn...

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Race for helium-3 (neutron-detector material) alternatives

Race for helium-3 (neutron-detector material) alternatives: "The search for alternative detector materials is expected to reduce demand for helium-3, but choice is limited. Neutrons cannot be detected directly - they can only effect changes in absorber materials, which subsequently create signals for detection. Helium-3 does this via a nuclear reaction, absorbing neutrons to produce charged tritium and a proton, which go on to produce a charge cloud that can be detected electronically. The only other material that performs this proportional detection almost as well is boron, either on its own (boron-10) or in boron trifluoride (BF3). Another option is a scintillating material, such as lithium-6, which emits light when neutrons create charged particles."... "The most likely choice will be boron-10. It has been shown to have a fairly high neutron-detection efficiency and, in an analysis by the US Government Accountability Office, it received the highest score for 'technology readiness level' - 7 out of 9, as opposed to 6 for lithium-6 and 5 for BF3."

Accelerator-driven nuclear reactor

Quite neat: accelerator-driven nuclear reactor!: "The term supercritical means the number of fissions is increasing, while subcritical means it is decreasing and will therefore dwindle to nothing.
Guinevere is designed to be subcritical if it were not for an accelerator system that sends a constant stream of protons to a target that emits neutrons to trigger fission."

Myths surrounding the use of nuclear power

This is a great read/listen, an interview with Terry Krieg discussing some of the myths surrounding the use of nuclear power. "I converted from an anti to pro nuclear in 1981 during a year on teacher exchange in Toronto, Canada where I had to confront nuclear power head on. My family, six of us, depended on nuclear power, I visited the Pickering Nuclear Power Station in Toronto, stood there in front of an open reactor ready for recharge, inspected the spent fuel cooling ponds, walked across the top of an operating reactor at the Chalk River Nuclear Research Station, went underground in two uranium mines and got a sample bag of yellowcake (I still have it).
Following that I returned to Australia a pro-nuke. I’m not a scientist, know little about nuclear physics, chemistry and engineering, but since 1998 through almost continuous study, have developed a good understanding of the nuclear power generating industry. Following are facts which overturn some of the myths about nuclear power."

Wind farms main cause of golden eagles extinction!

Who says wind energy is safe and environmentally friendly??? Save the Eagles International (STEI) issues a dire warning and detailed documentation that golden eagles and their nests are disappearing fast in areas close to wind farms across the U.S! “Wind farms are the main cause. The issuing of license to kill will accelerate the decline toward extinction.” also see

Friday, 13 January 2012

Great advice: Ten Mistakes for Physicists to Avoid

Precious advice! a must read by Dr. James D. Patterson: Ten Mistakes for Physicists to Avoid

1. Moving Ahead Before Being Ready
2. Losing Focus
3. Not Making Fundamentals a Working Part of Memory
4. Not Focusing on Physical Ideas While Obsessing Over the Mathematics
5. Not Fitting Goals to Abilities
6. Ignoring Personal Life
7. Using Secondary Sources
8. Always Rejecting Authority
9. Letting Anger Rule Behavior
10. Not Keeping in Physical Shape

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The 2012 International Conference on Highly Frustrated Magnetism

The 2012 International Conference on Highly Frustrated Magnetism will be held at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from June 4-8, 2012: see for the program and list of plenary and invited speakers...

"Garbage In, Anti-Nuclear Propaganda Out" a must read by Josh Bloom

"Garbage In, Anti-Nuclear Propaganda Out" a must read by Josh Bloom a scholar at the American Council On Science and Health: "I happen to believe that, given the available technology, nuclear power is among the safest, cleanest and most practical options we have. Other people have different yet reasonable opinions on this issue, which is fine. However, when garbage like this gets into the scientific literature, some people will actually believe it; the discussion then becomes contaminated with false information, and a reasonable conversation about nuclear power becomes even more difficult to come by. Propaganda that poses as science is irresponsible. And as for the editors of the International Journal of Health Services: Shame on you." rightly said! ream more:
also see: and debunking the death claims...

Jan. 23-27 National Nuclear Science Week

Jan. 23-27 National Nuclear Science Week, you could register to participate in LIVE webinars as part of the celebration of National Nuclear Science Week at no charge: "National Nuclear Science Week is a national, broadly observed week-long celebration to focus local, regional and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science. Each day will provide for learning about the contributions, innovations and opportunities that can be found by exploring nuclear science." see this link to get more info and how to register:

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

Dr. Jason Gardner: new Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter

Prominent neutron scattering scientist, Dr. Jason Gardner, has been announced as the new Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, "He was a staff scientist at the Chalk River Laboratory for five years before moving to the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2001. In 1999 he published a paper on the spin liquid Tb2Ti2O7, which is still being actively discussed today.", congratulations Jason! read more:

A year in review from AECL's point of view

A year in review from AECL's point of view, notably missing is any effort in getting a replacement for the aging NRU reactor:

Another milestone for U of Saskatchewan's nuclear research centre

Another milestone for U of Saskatchewan's nuclear research centre: "The University of Saskatchewan's new nuclear research centre has its board of directors in place and will start accepting project proposals within the next few months." Great leadership and vision by Saskatchewan backed up true commitment!!! 
"The centre is focused on creating research with "outcomes that benefit society," said interim director John Root, who is also the director of the National Research Council's Canadian Neutron Beam Centre.
The centre has targeted four areas of research: Nuclear medicine, nuclear materials science, safety and engineering, and the environment and other social aspects of nuclear science. Root said examples of research that could happen include improving the delivery of radiation in medical procedures and improving nuclear safety technology.
The centre will help organize research projects with academics and funding sources. Researchers will submit project ideas and funding proposals to the centre that are then reviewed by outside experts. The centre's focus is on local researchers, who can also partner with outside academics, governments or industry for funding or in-kind help."

Friday, 6 January 2012

2011 Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone… Another year is behind us! 2011 was for sure an eventful year including the sale of the CANDU division of AECL by the government of Canada. Here is a look back at some highlights of the posts on the group wall. With 2012 already underway and with the restructuring of AECL already completed, there is no reason for any further delay in making a decision to replace the aging NRU reactor… A replacement of the reactor either at Chalk River Laboratories or at University of Saskatchewan (wouldn’t it be great if both would get one!!!) will guarantee the future of neutron scattering in Canada and its many benefits to the country for many years to come! As Theodore Roosevelt said: “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”: