Elemental Discoveries in Remnants of Destruction

Towards the end of World War II, there was a devastating creation of the Manhattan project that resulted in mass loss of life. This creation is known as the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb later went on to start a doomsday clock with more inventions of world enders such as the nuclear bomb, as well as the biggest bomb ever tested, the Tsar Bomba. 

Despite all of the destruction that comes out of these bombs, they do proportionately advance a society a great deal. With the first test of an atomic bomb in July 1945, all the debris from the blast fused together, leaving the ground of the New Mexico test site coated with a glassy substance now called trinitite. Sorry, Indiana Jones, but that fridge isn’t saving you this time. 

Scientists took a small piece from the trinitite which was found to contain a rare form of matter called a quasicrystal, born with the nuclear age. Scientists reported this discovery on May 17 in the academic journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” For people who may not know, normal crystals are made of atoms locked in a lattice that repeats in a regular pattern. Quasicrystals have a structure that is orderly like a normal crystal; however, that same structure doesn’t repeat. Quasicrystals are also the same material found in meteorites. 

“The study tells us that artifacts from the birth of the atomic age are still of scientific interest,” says materials scientist Miriam Hiebert of the University of Maryland in College Park. Not only are these material still of interest, but it shows that there are still many things to be discovered from the past.

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