One thing that is kind of funny is that in Norwegian the word for "nuclear force" and "nuclear power" is the same - "kjernekraft".
It's the same word that describes the force that holds the atomic nucleus together
and the way of producing power by splitting atoms. So in Norwegian you just can't be against kjernekraft
, because it makes no sense: If you're against kjernekraft
you're against atomic nuclei, and basically more or less everything, since there is nothing bigger than elementary particles - there wouldn't even be bigger particles like protons or neutrons, since they are made up from quarks that need kjernekraft
(PS: Of course I'm not really that pedantic - I do understand what people mean when they say they're against kjernekraft. But as I've said earlier, I actually don't understand how it is possible to worry about climate change, and not be pro nuclear, so I guess in a way I'll still say it makes little sense to be against kjernekraft 😉 )
no flowers, no sun, no sunset without kjernekraft...
It’s been a long time since I did a “10 facts” blog post (last one was about heavy water) - too long, I think, so it’s about time I do it again now 😉
I can’t promise there’ll one every week (I’ve tried those every week kind of blog posts before, and there’s always some reason - like my PhD work - why it’s difficult to see it through ), but it would have been fun if 10 facts could be like a Friday thing. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes, but today is Fission Friday; here are ten facts about fission:
- fission is when a (heavy) nucleus splits into two (lighter) nuclei
- an example of fission is when uranium-235 is hit by one neutron and becomes barium-144, krypton-90, and 2 free neutrons (same number of particles before and after fission: 1+235 = 144+90+2 = 236 :D)
- the light nuclei (like barium and krypton) are called fission products
- fission can be induced, which means that it happens because a neutron hits the nucleus (like in the picture) - a little bit like the neutron is a knife that cuts the nucleus into two pieces <3
- fission can be spontaneous, which means it just happens - no neutron or other particle hitting the nucleus - the nucleus just suddenly splits
- fission is my favourite decay mode (I think) <3<3<3
- a nucleus that will fission when it’s hit by a neutron is called (a) fissile (nucleus)
- the energy that is released in fission (when one nucleus splits) is 200 mega electron volts - which is the same as if 50 million carbon atoms burns and produces CO2 (yes, 1 versus 50 million to get the same amount of energy!)
- most of the energy released in fission comes from kineticc energy of the fission products - which is energy from motion of the fission products (they are moving fast away from each other)
- I think the energy release in fission is really really fascinating
If you think it's a good idea to do more "10 facts" blog posts, please tell me what you what you want to read about <3
Ok, I gotta run now, to catch my flight back to Oslo - since I've been giving a talk about motivation for science in Bodø today. If you follow me on Snapchat (sunnivarose), you can see the super cool LEGO rose i got after the talk (the talk was for First Lego League, so it was 100% right to get a rose made out of LEGO :D).
So we just finished our group meeting, and let me just say YEAY!!!! The group meeting today was really nothing else but drinking Cava and eating (a very rich) chocolate cake (all meetings should be like this 😉 )...
The reason? Today it's official: the Norwegian Research Council has approved our application for new detectors at the Oslo Cyclotron Laboratory ❤️ We are getting 21 million NOK for replacing all of our old sodium iodide detectors (CACTUS - may you rest in peace), with new lanthanide bromide detectors (OSCAR - we welcome you!).
Read more about here
(we are the "NEW GENERATION SCINTILLATOR DETECTORS FOR NUCLEAR RESEARCH IN NORWAY")
This is soooo exciting - experiments in Oslo will be better in aboslutely every way!
Nuclear physics is often thought of as nuclear power, but nuclear physics is really the investigation and understanding of (atomic) nuclei, and nuclear power is just one of the applications of nuclear physics.
The nucleus (that we study) is the heart <3 of the atom, and it's where almost all mass of matter resides. Nuclei consist of neutrons and protons; ranging from the smallest one ("normal" hydrogen) with just one proton (and zero neutrons), to the biggest with a few hundred neutrons and protons. (You can't make a nucleus with just one neutron, you have to have at least one proton). The nucleus is small, but large enough to do stuff like vibrate and rotate (what the nuclear physicist would call "show collective degrees of freedom").
A major motivation for studying the atomic nucleus is to gain a fundamental understanding of our world; its origin and future, and its current state. Nuclear physics can explain how stars work to release more or less all the useful energy in the world, while they at the same time produce the different elements - from hydrogen to iron. (Therefore there is today a lot of collaboration between nuclear physicists and astrophysicists.)
In addition to nuclear power, nuclear medicine (medical diagnosis and treatments) is another important application of nuclear physics <3 <3 <3
My talk is tomorrow.
It's not finished yet.
I feel nervous, but also excited...
Nervous, because I wish I had come further than I have, and that I understood "everything". Excited, because I actually do have results, and they are nice, and they make sense. They make me believe that I will actually do this; not just the talk tomorrow, but I will finish my next paper (article/publication) in June (or maybe July - but hoping for June). After that I will start directly to analyse the second part of the uranium experiment, and hopefully it will be much "easier" since I have already done it once 😉
I'm in my bed right now, working on the presentation for tomorrow, which is around 11. Think I will work for around 30 more minutes, and then go to sleep. I'd rather get up at 5 tomorrow morning, and finish it then.
Wish me luck <3
Good morning everyone <3
I'm at the University, attending the second day of the "5th Workshop on Nuclear Level Density and Gamma Strength"
- the conference/workshop that our research group is arranging. Nuclear Level Densities and Gamma Strength (Functions) are fundamental properties of the atomic nucleus, and they are sort of the main goal of my data analysis just now.
I think my favourite talk so far was the one called "Neutron capture cross sections for the astrophysical r-process" by professor Artemis Spyrou from Michigan State University. Nuclear astro physical applications are really exciting <3 Unfortunately I missed the first talk this morning (stupid rain), which was by Luciano Moretto - I really regret this, because he always gives great talks...:/
Anyway; I'll be spending the rest of the week in this same auditorium, listening to talks - together with around 60 other nuclear physicist from around the world (West Coast of US, South Africa, and India, for example 🙂 )
I just realized that a hashtag has occured; #oslogamma! I don't think it will be the most popular hashtag on twitter, but at least it's there, if you want to follow 😉
Ok, now I have to pay close attention to all the talks - or, if there's something I don't understand ANYTHING of, I need to prepare my own talk that I'm giving on Thursday. Also, I need to work more on the actual analyzis of my data, so that I have more than just one plot to show...that would be a very short talk 😉
Ok, so my absolute favourite nuclear reactor is....
...the SUN! Of course.
And I simply LOVE that because of the fantastic nuclear fusion reactor, just about 8 light minutes (149 600 000 km) away, I can wear open toe stilettoes as my lecture shoes - as I did today <3 <3 <3 (Love these shoes too, btw; aren't they pretty?)
Anyway: I think it's so funny that solar power really is nuclear power, since the sun is a gigantic nuclear power plant (or continuously exploding atomic bomb...:P), that gets its energy by fusion of really light nuclei, like hydrogen and helium.
It's soooo cool that you get an energy release when light nuclei fuse to form a heavier one; as always it's because mass and energy are really the same (Einstein again), and the two light nuclei weigh more (when you add them up) than the heavier nucleus you get after they fuse. The "lost" mass has been converted to energy 😀
Ok, now I have to run, to get to an interview - I just had to say hi and tell you about my favourite reactor.
Do you have a favourite (nuclear) reactor?
Today it´s 83 years since Chadwick´s paper in Nature: Possible Existence of a Neutron, where he predicted that there had to be a neutral particle (neutron <3<3<3) in the atomic nucleus, in addition to the proton.
"Up to the present, all the evidence is in favour of the neutron, while the quantum hypothesis can only be upheld if the conservation of energy and momentum be relinquished at some point."
He was right, of course, and in May the same year he had another paper in Nature - The Existence of a Neutron - and he got the nobel prize in physics in 1935 for the discovery of the neutron.
You can read the entire thing (which is only one page) HERE 🙂
New week, new possibilities, new plan.
But first; an important nuclear jubileum today. One of my favourite elements was discovered - or, chemically identified - on this day, 74 years ago 😀 Glenn T. Seaborg, Edwin McMillan, Joseph W. Kennedy, and Arthur Wahl bombarded uranium with deuterons and identified PLUTONIUM (element number 94).
Plutonium is of course known for being used in nuclear weapons and reactors, but it´s also used in artificial pacemakers for hearts, and to power units in space probes <3
This week is about an exciting fission experiment at the lab in Orsay, outside of Paris, and what I call the "bridge chapter" in my thesis - I have to make a "bridge" between basic nuclear experiments and full core reactor simulations. This is what I see as the most challenging part of my thesis so far (and that´s probably the reson why I´ve been postponing to write for a very long time).
I think it´ll bee a good week, but the next 24 hours are critical ones (a little bit too much to do in too little time)...
So yesterday I was interviewed by the newspaper Dagbladet about heavy water
(since they´ve made this new show about the Norwegian heavy water and how they bombed the factory during world war 2 - love the show, btw 😀 ), and I was thinking It´s really long since I´ve had a "10 facts" blogpost, and I think this is the perfect occasion! I therefore give you 10 facts about heavy water <3 <3 <3
- Heavy water is heavy - around 10% heavier than light water (as a nuclear physicist working with reactors I actually call normal water for light water :V)
- Heavy water is chemically called D2O, instead of H2O (normal/light water)
- The D in D2O is for deuteron
- A deuteron is a heavy version of hydrogen (an isotope of hydrogen), and it´s heavier because it has a neutron in its nucleus in addition to the proton (normal hydrogen has only that one proton in its nucleus) - thus a deuteron is twice as heavy as a hydrogen
- Heavy water can be used as a moderator (something that slows down the speed neutrons) in a nuclear reactor (this is what the Germans wanted it for during WW2)
- If you use heavy water in a reactor you can run it on natural uranium - you don´t have to enrich the uranium (like the Americans were doing in the Manhattan project)
- Heavy water doesn´t "eat" neutrons, like light water does - which is why we love <3 it
- Germany wanted to make plutonium - and it´s a really good idea to do this in a reactor with heavy water and natural uranium
- Norway doesn´t produce heavy water anymore, but we use it in our two research reactors, in Kjeller and Halden 😀
- India are researching reactors using heavy water and thorium - which is really cool!
This is a picture of me, wearing a kimono, writing about heavy water in my living room: