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Canadian Researchers Create Supernova In-lab 308

Erebus42 writes "Canada has done something neat. Apparently researchers at the University of British Columbia have created supernova in their ISAC (Isotope Seperator and Accelerator), transmuting sodium 21 into magnesium 22. Spiffy."
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Canadian Researchers Create Supernova In-lab

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  • If a country were able to make this portable enough to use in battle, could this be made into a type of weapon?

    The rammifications of a portable supernova are chilling when you put in in Osama or Saddam's hands, no?
    • Nova Scotia's on the other coast you butthead!
    • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:15PM (#2722864) Homepage Journal
      They didn't make a "portable supernova." They created situations where radioactive isotopes were generated at accelerations comparable to those in a supernova, allowing them to make real observations of situation analogous to those occuring in a supernova. We call this science.

      It will never cease to amaze me that there is this army of trolls just lying in wait to come up with the stupidest, most knee-jerk, ignorant and uninformed comment on damn near anything withing moments of its appearance. There's almost a sort of genius to it...

      Unfortunately it's a really stupid, useless sort of genius.

      • i second that motion...

        and for those of you who think that the US could do better etc, and so what, and other such comments take note: the supercollider project was to be 20,000 GeV of potential... perhaps forever lost to scientists like those canadian reasearchers with innovative ideas. hats off to the canadians.
      • It will never cease to amaze me that there is this army of trolls just lying in wait to come up with the stupidest, most knee-jerk, ignorant and uninformed comment on damn near anything withing moments of its appearance.

        Yes...the most prominent ones are called "journalists".
    • by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:29PM (#2722969) Homepage
      Lots of things could end up in Osama's hands. Let's ban hands altogether.

      Where's the guy who makes the joke about other people asking about Beowulf clusters of supernova's?
    • I suppose the perfect antidote to a portable 'Supernova' weapon would be a portable 'Blackhole' weapon. Man the defense industry is going to love this.
    • Has everyone forgot that what happened on September 11th was made possible by the everyday technology of airplanes and _box cutters_ ?

      Come on.. a few months ago bin Laden was under the refuge of a backwards government that *prohibited* technology.. and now, if you listen to people like this, bin Laden and al Queda are suddenly on the cutting edge of <a href="http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/12/18/ 1450218&mode=thread">computer trojans</a> [slashdot.org] and nuclear astrophysics.

      This isn't to say that bin Laden and al Queda aren't dangerous, but let's keep things in perspective, mmkay?
  • R1: 'Hey eddie, turn the dial up, let's see what this can do, eh! (get it? eh?) R2: 'Here it goes!' *POOF* R1: 'Where'd nova scotia go?'
  • A supernova in my backyard! Great going Canada!

    Now could you make a black-hole for power generation purposes?


  • Neat? (Score:4, Funny)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:06PM (#2722790) Homepage
    Canada has done something neat.

    Christ, how many dollars is the new coin worth this time?

  • Ah yes (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrroot ( 543673 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:07PM (#2722798)
    The world has enough Sodium 21. It's about time someone started converting all that crap to Magnesium 22.
  • Is this science for sciences sake, or will there be any praticle uses from this. I can't think of any off the top of my head....
    • The idea is that by recreating a supernova we can possibly see how the universe was formed. The theory I believe suggests that the big bang was essentially a really large supernova. It said this in the article (although I've been known for not reading every single little word, sort of like in Army of Darkness)
    • ...But I can remember people saying things like this about the laser. It was called "a solution looking for an application."

      The better we understand how the universe works, the closer we get to that hyperdrive.

      Also this shows that the same physics applies here as applies many light years away. That might seem like an obvious assumption to make, but it is good to confirm these things.

  • by exceed ( 518714 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:09PM (#2722813)
    "Canada is now leading the world in the field of nuclear astrophysics.

    "We have bragging rights."

    Finally... I was wondering when we would. ;-)
  • The way the author describes this, they make it sound like something impressive. But, um... could someone fill me in here? And for all the other clueless out there?
    • Re:Help... Please? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nerdlyone ( 539405 )
      In a star, the massive outward pressure from the nuclear reaction is balanced by the inward pressure of gravity. The bigger the star, the more gravity. The more gravity, the closer the individual atoms inside the star have to be. Once the star gets big enough, some of the atoms are literally mashed together to form a new element. Example: a hydrogen (one proton) gets added to a helium (two protons), creating whatever element #3 is. This is alchemy. New elements. All the heavy elements (i.e., anything greater than atomic number 2) were supposedly made this way. We are all stardust. Every atom in our bodies went through a supernova, or so the theory goes.

      In this experiment, they apparently used a particle accelerator to add a proton to sodium 21. This made magnesium (?), a new element. But it didn't last long, the proton decayed into a neutron, converting the atom back into sodium, this time with 22 nucleons (one extra neutron than before).

      The reason this is news: we have never converted one element into another before (at least not this way).

  • Well, I always new that UBC was cool, but I kind of wondered what the hell they did with that big 'ol atom smasher at the corner of the Campus. (Yeah, I know it has a real name, but come on, I go to the school, I can call it what I want)

    "Where are we going... and why are we in this handbasket?"

  • by adamy ( 78406 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:11PM (#2722838) Homepage Journal
    THere seems to be wuite a bit of bragging in the article, but I guess that is to be expected. Something big like this sounds like it took a lot of effort, so these guys were psyched. Can't say as I blame them.

    But it does kindof worry me that Canadians ccan now create there own elements at will. What is to prevent them from creating tons and tons of gold and flooding the gold market? Or How about creating their own Plutonium. Uh oh, I think Canada just got the bomb...Or Carbon. If canada can create it's own Carbon, what can keep them from creating diamonds and flooding the diamond market. And Carbopn is the basis for life. they can create their own stem cells. George Bush ain't going to be happy about that one...Wait, I just relized this means they can create their Hydrogen. My god, they cancreate their own sun. My god, Canada must be stopped.

    Congrats goes out to these guys.
    • (I know you're being sarcastic but for those that might not think so...)
      Well one thing to prevent making tonnes and tonnes of gold would be, well, the cost? To make it would cost tonnes more than the gold is worth.

      Oh, and sure Canada hasn't been making any nukes, but we've had the materials for a long time. Ever heard of the Can-Du reactor? (safest reactor in the world I believe) It outputs perfect nuclear waste for a nuke (hence all the fuss by the US when a few were sold to China)

      It's kinda cool for nifty sake as well. Hmm, maybe we can create more elements with stupid names!
      (do I hear that song blame canada on the horizon?)
    • Nah, we're just using this as a step to create beer. Canadians looooove beer, especially Canadian beer. If only beer were an element, we'd be so much closer to the perfect society. We'd close the borders, turn on some hockey, start up the Beer maker, and have a few friends over...
    • But it does kindof worry me that Canadians can now create there own elements at will.

      TRIUMF is a couple of km from the UBC hospital, and for years they've been creating elements for medical imaging and treatment. The material is produced in the TRIUMF beamline, extracted and processed through some rather nasty chemistry, then shot down a pneumatic tube to the hospital to be injected into the patient. These isotopes have short half-lives (minutes) so they have to be produced close to where they are used.
    • There seems to be quite a bit of bragging in the article.

      Considering how much the present B.C. government is trying to cut back anything with a budget, it's likely the hype is an attempt to hold on to any funding that TRIUMF has whatsoever.

      When the provincial government starts considering cutting whole universities [techbc.ca] you've got to scream to stay alive...
    • Let's get to the point of this. The reason the Canadians are trying to replicate Supernovae is because Canada is TOO COLD*. They're doing this insidious dangerous experiment as part of their campaign to Make Canada Warmer. Sure, they could just burn all that oil instead of shipping it south of the border, but that's not enough - they want something Really Really Warm, and this not only solves the problem, it gets the job done a lot faster than shipping us aerosol cans full of ozone.

      *I mean, how often have you seen a weather map on TV that has temperatures in Canada that are even 32 degrees? It'll be 72 in Seattle and just across the border in Vancouver it's 20 degrees. And when it's 35 degrees in Buffalo, it's usually like ZERO in Toronto.

  • by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:13PM (#2722850) Homepage
    ..Canadian shield proves ineffective.
  • "Canada is now the world leader in this research," TRIUMF director Alan Shotter said after the breakthrough experiment
    "We are pushing this technology to the absolute limits of what's possible."
    With the completion of ISAC in 1999, TRIUMF became unequalled in the world in its ability to study nuclear astrophysics and element synthesis in the universe. The only other facility of its kind, in Geneva, sent congratulations Monday to the ISAC team that beat it to the finish line.
    "The Americans are planning a similar facility and they expect it to cost $800 million US and take 10 years to build. So we're 10 years ahead," Schmor said.
    "Canada is now leading the world in the field of nuclear astrophysics.
    "We have bragging rights."
    I swear, this article had more to say about Canada than the actual process or what it means. Okay, Canada! We get it! You guys rock! Next time we want some space magnesium, we'll know where to look. In the meantime, keep planting those trees.

    • Aw, give em a break. After all, they already apologized for Brian Adams on numerous occasions...
      • Oh jeez, it's been a while.

        Listen. Everybody - we're really, really sorry about Brian Adams. Nobody actually listens to him up here, but the gov't sponsors the production of tonnes of his albums, which we decided to dispose of south of the border.

        We're really quite mortified at the whole thing. Please accept my apologies.
    • Okay, Canada! We get it! You guys rock! Next time we want some space magnesium, we'll know where to look. In the meantime, keep planting those trees.

      Ya, being Canadian means we might be better than our American neighbours when it comes to nuclear astrophysics, but when it comes to satellite TV, you guys kick ASS! (GO DTV!!!) :)
    • To the naysayers amongst you, I'm actually Canadian born and a dual citizen, so this is just a poke in the ribs, really.

  • Supernova? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:14PM (#2722858) Homepage Journal
    What has this to do with stars exploding?

    I mean, yes, this is a nuclear reaction that occurs in supernovas, but it's only one of many. If you come to my house and I sell you a book, I have not recreated Barnes and Noble in my study.

    Still, it's a cool trick.
  • by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:15PM (#2722866) Homepage
    But the next thing ubc wants to do is ignite the "supernova".

    Next for the lab is what Shotter describes as one of the thorniest problems for nuclear astrophysicists, duplicating the reaction of the isotope oxygen 15, which is believed to be the spark that ignites nova explosions and x-ray bursts.

    What can I say, America better not try and invade... :)
  • While this is all facinating and incredible and stuff, im just wondering when these guys are gonna blow up he planet =)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Chalmers: Good Lord, what is happening in there?
    Skinner: Aurora Borealis?
    Chalmers: Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen?
    Skinner: Yes.
    Chalmers: May I see it?
    Skinner: Oh, erm... No.
  • So now I can have my Leaden Took turned into a Golden Took?
  • If you go through the quotes you will notice that the scientiest never said they created "a supernova". For some reasons - saying so is really stupid, a supernova is something million times brighter than a star (more precise: around 10^10 times as bright as our sun). Even if our sun goes up in a nova it won't even come close to that - how do you want to build that in a lab?
  • Artifical supernovas? Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't supernovas the cause of black holes? I mean, it seems unlikely to occur, considering the small mass involved in the experimental samples... but if the matter is compressed enough, won't we get a "mini" black hole -- the idea that escape velocity from a single point would be that great is not (completely) insane.
    • Re:Black Holes? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:54PM (#2723160)
      but aren't supernovas the cause of black holes?

      Not necessarily. The immense amount of forces that are involved in a supernova create conditions that allow black holes to form. All you really need for a black hole is enough heavy matter in small enough space.

      It's like this... When planets and even small stars form, the electromagnetic force is enough to keep individual atoms from crushing each other. You can't push electrons any closer.

      Stars who die without becoming any bigger become white, and eventually black dwarfs.

      In larger stars, after they ignite, the nuclear force-- the constant fusion reaction-- is enough to do the same thing. Once that fusion reaction shuts down, however, the atoms begin to collapse, increasing density and pressure until the heavier atoms are able to fuse.

      If a star this size goes nova, the electrons and protons collapse, leaving neutrons. The neutron matter will hold up to a certain point under the force of gravity. AP's correct me, but I think it's the electroweak force that is responisble for this resistance.

      If a star dies at this stage, you get a neutron star.

      If a star is very, very massive... Think blue giants... Even the force that keeps the neutrons from crushing eachother is not enough to overcome the force of gravity. The neutrons collapse under their own weight into an infinitly small point and the space around the singularity warps until the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light.

      I'm certain what we all know that singularity + event horizon = black hole.

      Despite the fact that the researchers were creating the same kinds of reaction that occurs in the latter period of the death of a star, they simply weren't dealing with the kind of mass necessarly to create a black hole. Even if scientists *did* manage to create enough pressure to force matter to collapse into a singularity, it would evaporate away into Hawking radiation almost instantly. You don't just need the singularity to keep a black hole, you need to have it be massive and keep feeding it to keep it alive.
  • by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:18PM (#2722885) Homepage

    When are they going to make a dollar that's actually worth one dollar?
  • If they could only convert Pt78 into Au79 then the Alchemist's Dream will be realized!

    Oh, wait a minute. The price for Platinum is 1.7 times the price of gold.


  • Using a proton beam from the university's TRIUMF cyclotron directed by giant electromagnets, the team accelerated the radioactive isotope sodium 21 in a recreation of the explosive death of a star eight times the size of our own sun.

    So let me get this straight. They made a small supernova? They made a supernova the size of a sodium isotope?

    Would that be a Supernovetta?

    • So let me get this straight. They made a small supernova? They made a supernova the size of a sodium isotope?

      Would that be a Supernovetta?

      I think the term is "nanonova".

  • If this was a supernova, the earth and the moon would be a plasma wave in a few seconds and the rest of the planets and the sun would be next. Hell, Alpha Centuri would be toast in about 4.5 years!

    What a load of hype!!!
  • I went outside a little while ago and didn't see any bright flashes. I was looking northward too (from Florida). Are you sure this wasn't made up, like the lunar landings?

  • Project director Paul Schmor noted, "We have satellite detectors in space called observatories, studying the effects [of stellar explosions] long after the event.

    "Now we can re-create the event itself."

    BS. You may be able to emulate the effects or the reactions of supernovae, but studying the facsimile will avail us nothing in the realm of physics.

    That would be like me saying that I could create a black hole in my bathtub with a few particle accelerators and a little needle to punch a hole in the STC, and then saying I knew how they formed in space.

    The very fact that you could do such a thing is impressive, but the creation is based on your limited, earth-based observations nonetheless.

  • One can see any number of science fiction books coming out in which Canada manages to suck itself into a black hole or blow itself into orbit.
  • by LMCBoy ( 185365 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:23PM (#2722924) Homepage Journal
    It's a huge stretch to say this is the first man-made supernova. Maybe it's the first man-made r-process nuclear reaction, but that's a far cry from a supernova. The reaction they've reproduced involves trace elements, not the iron/nickel that are really important in a SN.

    Basically, a SN happens when a massive star has converted all of its core fuel into iron by nuclear fusion. The star's gravity compresses and heats the iron until it can fuse also. However, iron is the most tightly bound element, so fusing iron nuclei doesn't release heat energy, it removes it. The thermal pressure that was holding up the star's core disappears in a fraction of a second, and the whole thing comes crashing down in a huge implosion. The implosion causes the core material to form a neutron star or a black hole, and the rebounding shock wave blows the rest of the star apart.

    Doesn't sound much like what they did. I don't mean to downplay their achievement; it's still very impressive. I'm just lamenting the sorry state of most science reporting...
  • ...there long term goal being to convert water directly into beer

    Now I get it :)
  • Offtopic, but it's interesting to know that the University of British Columbia has the ubc.edu domain too as the article links to. As a former UBC student, I always thought that it was just ubc.ca... Always thought that .edu was just for the american universities. Simon Fraser University - also in Vancouver, BC is just sfu.ca, not sfu.edu.

  • All this bragging aboot Canada makes me want to go download that Molson beer commercial from AdCritic...
  • Breakthrough (Score:2, Informative)

    by quantaman ( 517394 )
    By the way there is a slight inaccuracy in the post.

    the sodium 21 was transmuted into magnesium 22, which decays into the radioactive isotope sodium 22

    as opposed to remaining as magnesium 22. That being said this is still a huge breakthough. With the exception of hydrogren and helium all the elements in the universe are believe to have been formed in Novas or Supernovas. These researchers now has the ability to observe this process directly. Up till now all our knowledge on the subject in based on theories based observations of distant (super)Nova. Who knows the possible extensions of this technology? Transmutation of elements? Fission reactors? Not to mention the huge betterment of our understanding of these processes which will undoubtedly lead to new fields of research which may lead to other breakthroughs in themselves.

  • Scientific groups RUSH and SAGA were disappointed to learn of TRIUMF's success, but swore to produce even bigger explosions next time.
  • Now that they have conquered the tricky sodium to magnesium problem, they can begin work on the classic lead to gold problem. We must annex Canada (no, its not a state yet despite what most Americans think) before its too late!
  • NOT QUITE!!! sure its one of the reactions in one...but if they created a supernova...we wouldnt need canada.com (of all places) to report....the shock wave would deliver the news a little faster!

  • Now can they turn silicon into unobtanium?
  • I'm waiting for the machine that turns Pb into Au.
  • What happens when they figure out how to cheaply turn an element into gold? I guess it would be some strange isotope of gold that would then decay into a new isotope of the original element?
  • A University of B.C. research team has recreated the death of a star and subsequent birth of elements that form the universe, the first time this has been done by mankind.

    The statement following was left out for some unknown reason. In the interest of preserving the true integrity of journalism, it is included below:

    The team, along with the University of B.C., became the first humans and university, respectively, to be instantly vaporized by a supernova. Bystanders were awed at the sight before receiving intensive doses of gamma- and x-rays. Despite their injuries, some requested prior notification of future tests, in hopes of capturing the event on film.
    University of B.C. officials were not commenting on the event, but bystanders were eager to recount their version of the story: "It went boom," said one man, who claimed to be in his early forties and said he had been attending the school for over 20 years, "and I think I had a class in that building once! It's things like this which make me try that much harder to graduate."
  • by rdmiller3 ( 29465 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @06:48PM (#2723096) Journal
    To transmute Na(11,21) into Mg(12,22), you just add a proton, ...which I imagine is bound to happen if you blast a solid sample of Sodium-21 with a high-enough energy proton beam for long enough. Well, duh!

    I guess I'm not catching the real significance of this "achievement". What was the theory? What was this experiment attempting to prove or disprove? Were they just showing off how fast they could accellerate protons??

    Proclaiming that their proton beam somehow creates a miniature nova seems like a ploy to attract attention (and funding, of course).

    • The DRAGON experiment is concerned with trying to acquire data about the transmutation reaction of Na(11,21) into Mg(12,22). The reactions occur quite infrequently and result in only a very small momentum change in the particle, so the two bending magnets and electric dipoles are required to isolate the stream of Mg particles and feed them into a detector.

      I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but you can probably find them on the ISAC webpage.

  • Since the newpaper writer clearly hasn't a clue what he's talking about, I ran over to the TRIUMF webpage for the actual story. Here's what they have to say in the "News" section:


    Research with radioactive exotic ions is recognized worldwide as an exciting new frontier in physical science. ISAC, one of the world's first facilities specifically dedicated to the production and acceleration of such exotic ions, has been developed and constructed at TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Low energy exotic beams were first produced in 1999 and during the past summer the exotic ion 8Li was the first beam to be successfully accelerated to high energy (~1.5 MeV/A). On the 5th of October an accelerated beam of 21Na (a radioactive isotope of sodium) was produced (at a preliminary intensity of about 4x108 particles per second on target) and experiments with this beam are producing the first data concerning nuclear processing of sodium in stellar explosions.

    For the future, there are plans to accelerate a whole variety of exotic isotopes that will be used to address a wide range of research areas.

    So, to sum up, they've got their isotope accellerator up and working to the point where they can do some very nice experiments on high-energy nuclear processes, including a number that are important in stellar explosions. No supernova though.


  • It's only a northern sun.
  • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @07:20PM (#2723397) Homepage Journal
    In a parallel breakthrough sure to rock the physics world to its very foundations, Tsar has created a mini black hole in his ISAC (Incredibly Stinky, Ancient Cubicle), causing light to bend uniformly around a point approximately six inches above his desk. The feat was accomplished by using a sample of very pure silicon-based substance called "glass", which was ground and shaped to form what is, in effect, a solid "lens".

    Ultraviolet light generated by an ionized gas was then used to excite a flourescent coating on the interior of a nearby cylinder, creating visible light which was reflected by the surface of a technical document placed precisely in its path. The light was then directed through the "lens" to produce the light-bending effect commonly seen only around supermassive objects such as black holes and galactic superclusters.

    Tsar's next ambitious project is to create a miniature expanding multiverse by blowing up several balloons for a staff New Year's party, the expense of which will likely be covered by the piles of grant money expected due to the unqualified success of the LENS experiment.

    Disclaimer: I'm all all for the advancement of science, but why do we have to use hyperbole to make it seem interesting, or valuable? Maybe if everyone stopped claiming to have created supernovae or black holes or the core of a star or the moment of creation, we could get to a point where dull, devoted, brilliant researchers who didn't minor in drama can still get funding for their worthy efforts. (This is not a plug—I'm not a researcher, and I'm vastly overpaid as it is.)
  • The media always get this one wrong. TRIUMF is not the same as UBC -- it happens to be situated near to UBC's campus, but they are about as separate as Linux and Redhat. Not completely distinct, but you'll get lots of people annoyed if you always say Redhat when you mean Linux.

    The name "TRIUMF" actually comes from the original name: TRI University Meson Facility. The three founding universities being UBC, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria.

    Work at TRIUMF is done by people from the member universities, people from other institutions (although there's more paperwork involved IIRC), and by "facilities scientists" -- people hired by TRIUMF itself. I don't know about the rest of the research group, but Paul Schmor is listed in TRIUMF's databases as having TRIUMF affiliation -- not UBC.
  • Another good link (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrEd ( 60684 ) <tonedogNO@SPAMhailmail.net> on Tuesday December 18, 2001 @07:24PM (#2723434)
    is here [thestar.com] at the Toronto Star. It's a bit older, but hey, it's got more background information about the facility.

    I can't believe that the 3D View of the Experimental Hall [triumf.ca] (which I worked two weeks on as a summer student) is actually posted on Slashdot! Fame and fortune, here I come!

  • It still amazes me after all these years that so many people react to the Slashdot editors' trolls. A lot of articles posted to Slashdot are informative, but obviously as a corporate entity, Slashdot needs to attract the masses with sensationalist, trollish stories as well. There are at least three 5-rated posts in response to this story that it is exagerative.

    This happens over and over. Do you think that the Slashdot editors are that stupid? No, they are smart, and they make a lot of money. If they keep it too tight and smart, a lot of people (read: lurkers, not the average poster) might get bored or scared away.

    Why do you think there is no article moderation or ratings in this supposedly "open" community? All I'm saying is that you shouldn't waste so much energy on getting worked up over Slashdot's editing.

  • Let's make some gold, baby...
  • I was wondering what that bright flash was. Just wish they had warned us to put on 9999 SPF sunblock. Still, at least I know who's to blame for being sunburned extra crispy: Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
  • Ok, this question is coming from a total idiot, as I have little knowledge of physics: but what is the possibility of something like this "mushrooming" unintentionally? Kind of like the "grey goo" for nanotechnology, or "ice nine" from Cat's Cradle?

    I understand these things are small, and are likewise controlled, but if you create something which may accidentally grow exponently bigger (if this is even possible)?...

    • Ok, this question is coming from a total idiot, as I have little knowledge of physics: but what is the possibility of something like this "mushrooming" unintentionally?

      Somewhere between "negligible" and "none".

      Have a nice day.

      (A useful baseline is to consider the cosmic radiation that hits us every day. These particles can have much higher energies than anything TRIUMF is putting out, and the planet's survived ~4 billion years so far. Experiments like RHIC are at high enough energy levels that it's worth asking the question, but the TRIUMF stuff is quite routine and is not going to run away.)
  • Yep, spiffy is a perfect description.

    You grab any old particle accelerator and aim it at element X and get element Y. Spiffy.

    Well, I guess Canada needs bragging rights to SOMETHING better than "The only country in the world less likely to get in war with the US than Texas".

  • by Snafoo ( 38566 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @03:32AM (#2724904) Homepage
    Why, here in Canada, we've not only created a supernova but in fact a whole 'mirror universe'. Although virtually identical to the US in most ways, in this 'twin world' the dollar is almost worthless, the politics are leftish, measurements are conducted in a rather strange "metric" system, the minority language is French rather than Spanish, and people manifest love for their nation by violently asserting a profound lack of patriotism.

    As near as I can tell, the real universe split from its when the war of independence failed to happen, although it could also have something to do with the invention of poutine.

    Interestingly, since prime-time television programming has apparently not yet been invented in this timeline, this alternate universe is almost completely dependent upon its mate for non-drama, non-Prince-Edward-Island-themed broadcasts. Thus, while the existence of a 'shadow -universe' may come as a shock to all of you in out there in the real one, citizens of this other realm have known about your universe for quite some time. They've been watching you! They don't wear goatees, but they all seem to wear mustaches! Avoid replacement by your evil twin: Destroy Canada today!
      • Why, here in Canada, we've not only created a supernova but in fact a whole 'mirror universe'. Although virtually identical to the US in most ways, in this 'twin world' the dollar is almost worthless [...]

      And wait a minute... you all have beards... so you must be the Evil Mirror Universe!

      And now you control the very power of the stars. God help us all.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman