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I dag, på denne utrolig sure og grå novemberdagen har jeg lyst til å komme med et tips: Boken "Den magiske virkeligheten" som er skrevet av biologen Richard Dawkins ♥ (Ja, han som blant annet har skrevet "The selfish gene" 🙂 )

Jeg fikk mitt eksemplar da jeg holdt tale på humanistisk konfirmasjon nå i vår, og så har jeg egentlig ikke sett noe på den før nå når jeg står midt oppi flytting, og plutselig går igjennom alle bøkene. Det var ikke et øyeblikk for tidlig: Denne boken er helt fantastisk, både innhold, måten den er skrevet på, og ikke minst de nydelige illustrasjonene. Jeg tenkte først at det var en bok for ungdom og voksne, men når jeg så nærmere etter så så jeg at det er fullt mulig å lese denne også for barn. Så for et par kvelder siden begynte jeg å lese om hva er virkelig og hva er magi for Alexandra. Hun er jo snart 8 nå, og jeg tror det kanskje er en nedre aldersgrense.

Men det finnes også en annen form for magi, og den ligger i gleden over å oppdage de virkelige svarene på de store spørsmålene. Hva er ting laget av? Hvor gammelt er universet? Hvorfor ser kontinentene ut som brikker i et puslespill? Hvorfor har vi så mange slags dyr og planter? Hvem var det første mennesket? Hvorfor oppstår det tsunamier? Vitenskapen er virkelighetens magi.

Altså, er ikke dette bare helt utrolig vakkert? Jeg smelter i alle fall helt av dette, og er ikke i tvil om hvilken bok fine niese Andrea finner under treet om en kort måned ♥

Boken er skrevet på en sånn måte at man lett kan hoppe rundt i den, etter hvilket tema man syns er spennende der og da. Heldigvis! For man får virkelig lyst til å lese overalt - helst på én gang.

Vi startet feks med å lese innledningen, om hva er virkeligheten og hva er magi - hvordan vi vet hva som sant og ikke, og hvordan forskning virker. Så ble Alexandra litt ferdig med det, og så bladde vi litt, og så ville hun gjerne lese om hvorfor det skjer fæle ting. Det vi leste ga oss også en kjempefin diskusjon om det vi leste om; altså, det at det faktisk skjer like mye fælt med de som er snille, og hva vil det egentlig si å være snill...? Viktige, og spennende, temaer!

"Den magiske virkeligheten" kan anbefales fra 2/3 klasse, men den burde faktisk egentlig leses av alle ♥ Dette er virkelig et (godt 😉 ) julegavetips fra meg i år.


PS: Dette er på ingen måte et betalt eller sponset innlegg (jeg er ikke så stor og kul at jeg blir sponset 😛 ) fra Humanistisk forlag - dette er en 100% ektefølt anbefaling! Forøvrig digger jeg dette forlaget, for de har sååå mange fine bøker ♥

Klem 🙂

Happy new year my dearest!
I've been quiet since Christmas eve, and there are two main reasons for that:

1) I needed the time to relax and be with my family - preparing my self for what will be an intense year. 

2) Someone broke into our car and stole half of the presents we got for Christmas (for example Anders' present for me 🙁 ), and our suitcase with clothes and stuff. This was a mentally exhausting experience, which also stole a lot of time since we've been on the phone with different insurance companies and the police and everything. End of the story is that even though we had the best travel insurance in the biggest insurance company in Norway, we got nothing, since we happened to be inside our own apartment when it happened (the car could have been parked at exactly the same place; if we had been somewhere else when it happened, we would have been covered). After the day when it happened (in the middle of the day, the 27th of December) when I cried most of the day, I've wanted to just put this episode behind me, and I've tried focusing on all the fantastic things I've got in my life - Alexandra, Anders, health, amongst others, and I haven't really felt I had any time for blogging. Hope you understand.

But now I'm back! Back at the University, back on the blog, back with my research.
Maybe you've already guessed why I'm saying this will be an intense year... 
2016 is the year where I have really just one, main goal: to finish my PhD. There is a lot of work to do be done, and I think it will be hard, but with the support and help of especially Anders, and also my fantastic supervisors, I think I'll manage! I will of course share (almost) everything from the last part of this trip, from a Master of Science to becoming a Doctor 😉 Hope you will follow me!

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First of all, the most important message to day is: MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my wonderful, fantastic readers - I love you all!
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To follow up on the last blog post about stars, here are two more facts about stars that I think suits the theme of this day (my favourite day of the year):
1) There is no “Star of Bethlehem”, or "Christmas star". What the wise men probably saw on their way to meet baby Jesus, was Halley's comet (there are other theories as well, but I like the comet theory 🙂 ), which was visible 11 or 12 years BC.
We told Alexandra this the other day, and she replied by instructing us to change the word "star" into "comet" in the songs 😀 (For the record: I have no trouble singing "star" - this was her choice...)
2) The most poetic fact is that we are all made of star dust (or we can call it starstuff), and Carl Sagan said it so beautifully and fantastic, I will just finish this holiday blog post with his words:

Even though I didn´t manage to "complete" the advent calendar, there´s been quite a lot of (nuclear) physics related blogposts lately - and very little personal stuff. This is, of course, in one way is great, since nuclear physics is awesome, but it´s also important to talk about one self and everyday life, and not just physics - it´s hard to understand, but after all, life is more than physics and the lab 😛 
It´s been too long since I shared some instamoments with you, so today is a good day to do so 🙂 
(If you want to, you can follow me here)
I´m learning to be Parisian - love <3 this book // halloween // morning selfie with my morning coffee
reading Einstein #oldschool // Paris with my mother // Alexandra swiimming

"whu science should be more pink" - my TEDx talk in Geneva // little sister Carina and her Magnus 🙂 // ready for the christmas party with the wonderful people in Bulldozer Film
Andrea has spent the night at Rose castle // my fantastic colleague Ann-Cecilie and me on our way to Berkeley // morning swim selfie

flying Widerøe on my "tour" in the north of Norway // kiss me <3 coffee // fall
fun night with Henrik and Anders // the dress! // ready (almost) for "God morgen Norge"

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Now it´s time to go and get my make up on, fix my hair, put on a dress (haven´t decided which one yet), and fix Alexandras hair (she has been wearing her new christmas dress for hours already 😉 ), and then I think it will be time for dinner and presents...
Merry christmas everyone!


...or maybe not that bad - but I admit that I didn´t manage to see the advent calendar through :/ I blame christmas, though 😉
And, I guess, the fact that the last month probably has been the busiest one in a while - and in addition to rest of the christmas present wrapping that has to be done, there´s also the travel bill from the trip to Berkeley and a backlog of about 100 e-mails (that I should do today). Next year I´ll be more prepared for the advent calendar, so hopefully it will be even better than this year 😛
Anyway, here are some snaps from my livingroom in Rose-slottet (Rose castle <3) last night and now - in ten minutes, or so, Alexandra will come, and we will fix the rest of the presents together, and suddenly my dad will be here, and then we´re driving home for christmas 😀

So, in the calendar today there are gammas (gamma radiation) - I´m giving you an ALFNA matrix 😀 xD <3
The ALFNA matrix/plot is a sort of 3 dimensional plot where there is the excitation energy of some nucleus (we don´t know which one - and this is what we/I try to figure out) on the y-axis, and on the x-axis is the energy of the gamma(s) the nucleus sends out. The thing is that when a nucleus is hit by a particle, the nucleus is excited, or sort of heated - it gets some extra energy, and to get rid of that extra energy it sends out  gamma radiation. 
From earlier experiments that have been done (the bible is here) we know quite a lot about what kind of gammas (which energies) the different nuclei will emit when they are excited to this and that energy. In this particular ALFNA matrix we believe that we have oxygen-17 (there is always some oxygen 🙂 ) and beryllium-10 (the backing of the uranium foil/target is made from beryllium). The oxygen-17 peak for example, is supposed to emit a gamma ray with an energy of 870 kilo electron volts (keV), and here it is at around 1300 keV - which means that we are quite off, and everything needs to be calibrated (which is exactly what I´m working on now 😉 ).
So this is the plot I´ve been staring at today (together with my supervisor, Sunniva <3). 
...and I´m staring even more now (pretending to have a really huge brain) - looking like this 😛

Only 8ish days ´til Christmas now...and in todays calendar is another cross-section graph - this time it´s the cross-section/probability of neutron capture on uranium-233:

On the y-axis is the value of the cross-section (the higher the number, the higher the probability of a neutron being captured by the nucleus when hitting it), and on the x-axis is the energy of the neutron.
But there are several graphs here...and they all show different values for this cross-section - the truth is that we don´t exactly know what it is (my research is into this...) :/ The blue, turqoise and red lines are the "official numbers" (evaluated nuclear data), the different dots are actual measurements (some with HUGE error bars), and the green line is calculated with the default input parameters about the nucleus.
It´s quite an important cross-section for the thorium fuel cycle, since it tells us about the probability of a neutron being captured by uranium-233 instead of making it fission (which is what we want it to do) - so it would be nice to know it better 😉

So, yesterday I didn´t get the chance to share a graph, so today you´ll get a double dose 😀
Also, I got a complaint that the last graphs didnt´have any christmas decorations on them - so I´ve tried to do better this time...;)
Today you get two versions of ALPHA! 
ALPHA is the "capture to fission ratio" - it tells us how often a neutron is captured/absorbed, rather than causing a nucleus to fission. We want ALPHA to be as low as possible - since a low ALPHA means that little waste is produced 😀
First there is ALPHA for neutrons with low energy:
The red line is for uranium-233, and the blue is for plutonium-239. For low-energy neutrons, ALPHA is lower for uranium-233 than plutonium-239, and this means that there is a smaller waste production from thorium-fuels than uranium...IF the neutrons have a low energy/are thermal (this can´t be said often enough 😉 )!
Then there is ALPHA for neutrons with high energy - and here it changes (as it also did with ETA):
For neutrons with high energy the waste production is smaller for uranium-fuels than with thorium...

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Today is December the 12th, and in the calendar is the rest of what I gave you yesterday - it´s ETA again, but this time it´s ETA for neutrons with high energy (fast neutrons). The graph is very important for the neutron economy of a nuclear reactor...
ETA tells us about how many neutrons you get out for each neutron going in (to a nucleus) on average ("neutrons emitted/neutrons absorbed"). As you can see you get, on average, more neutrons from fission of plutonium-239 (blue line) than you get from uranium-233 (red line) - if the neutron going in has high energy/is a fast neutron. In other words: it´s exact opposite of what was in the calendar yesterday...!
So, since plutonium-239 is a better fissile material than uranium-233 (when hit by high-energy neutrons), you can produce more new fissile material from uranium, than you can from thorium 😀 Or, to sort of conclude: for thermal neutrons, thorium seems to be the way to do it, bur for fast neutrons, uranium/plutonium seems to be the way to do it <3<3<3

In the calendar today is a graph that is very important for the thorium fuel cycle... 
Today I give you ETA!
ETA tells us about how many neutrons you get out for each neutron going in (to a nucleus) on average ("neutrons emitted/neutrons absorbed"). As you can see you get, on average, more neutrons from fission of uranium-233 (red line) than you get from plutonium-239 (blue line) - if the neutron going in has low energy/is a thermal neutron.
So, since uranium-233 is a better fissile material than plutonium-239 (when hit by low-energy neutrons), you can produce more new fissile material from thorium, than you can from uranium 😀 We like that <3<3<3