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American Institute of Physics



October-November 2004
Volume 10, Issue 5


Big green energy machines
Two ways to generate more power with less damage to the environment: a compact, fast, powerful, zero-emission power plant that burns methane and emits liquid carbon dioxide that can be sequestered underground; and a continental supergrid that delivers electricity and hydrogen in an integrated pipeline.

Less is more with aerogels
Aerogelsóconsisting of tangled, fractal-like chains of moleculesóhave the lowest density, highest thermal insulation, lowest refractive index, and highest surface area per unit volume of any solid. Initially used to catch space dust, they are now being considered for commercial purposes.

Democrats and Republicans: What's the record on physical science?
Statistical data and interviews with presidential science advisors and scientific society officials show that federal research spending per physical scientist fell precipitously after the Cold War ended and has remained flat ever since.

Growing nanotrees
Forests of nanotrees can be produced by growing a gallium-phosphide trunk on a gold seed and then branches and leaves from successively smaller gold particles. Light could be absorbed by the leaves and moved through the trunks, or branches and leaves could become light-emitting diodes.


News: Detecting a single spin; handheld chemistry laboratory; photonic superprisms; growing nanotrees


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