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« FROM THE ARCHIVES: brew masters | Main | we are much in trouble... episode two. »


Hi Diandra!

As you may be aware, I was the primary NRC staff person for middle and end phases of the 2000 study. Let's just say that the process of getting consensus on that report was very interesting.

I just scanned the committee biographies for the second study and am struck by how different committees are in terms of representation and size. The second committee is more than twice the size of and has a larger proportion of helium users on it than the first study.

Those factors probably account for the majority of the differences in tone.



Interesting read.

Out of curiousity, when you say: "The annual global use of helium is larger than the amount of helium produced each year." do you mean produced as in the total annual amount of helium produced inside the Earth by radioactive decay, or the total amount captured annually for human use by the various natural gas drilling companies?

Neat. I'm a bioscience person and I've never been particularly brilliant in the physical sciences, but temperature has always captured my interest. I've got a question I've never been able to get answered, at least not definitively. Do you know if there is a maximum possible temperature? A temperature at which atoms not only break down, but their smaller components do as well? I guess a temperature at which matter ceases to exist or is so unstable it's only able to exist as a collection of subatomic particles is what I'm thinking of. I know lightning can produce plasma with temps nearing 30,000 K, so what happens at 10 or 100 times that? Do you know the maximum temp humans have measured/created in an experiment? Would love to see a future post on this or even just a link to more information.

Hm, 100picokelvin seems small for regular old temperature. I think that might be a spin temperature, and probably if there's a temperature achieved on the order of 100pK, then there's also one on the order of -100pK, which should be the hottest temperature on record.

it was cheap and it was fun to watch the giant plumes of white vapor rising from the 100-liter stainless steel dewars

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
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      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
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      1/2 oz light rum
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      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
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      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
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