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physicsworld.com Volume 25 No 3 March 2012 PHYSICS AND THE EARTH Our planet in perspective

physi csworl d.com Vol ume 25 No 3 March 2012PHYSICS AND THE EARTHOur planet in perspective2012 COMSOL. COMSOL and COMSOL Multiphysics are registered trademarks of COMSOL AB. Capture the Concept is a trademark of COMSOL AB. Other product or brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.Contact us at 01223 451580SOLAR ENERGY: These type of collectors utilize solar energy by heating a uid ow that is then used to generate electricity. Heat is transferred by surface-to-surface radiation from the outside shell to the pipe walls. Shown is the heat ux vector and temperature on both surfaces.Capture the Concept.With COMSOL Multiphysics you are empowered to build simulations that accurately replicate the important characteris-tics of your designs. The key is the ability to include all physical effects that exist in the real world. This multiphysics approach delivers results tangible results that save precious develop-ment time and spark innovation.comsol.com/bookletQuanta 3Frontiers 4New supercontinents model Distilling water using nanolters Arachnid designs News & Analysis 7US pulls out of ExoMars Russia announces Phobos-Grunt 2 Brazil opens theoretical-physics centre First Kavli centre for Japan Robert Hazen: carbon pioneer Fracking comes under the microscopeComment 17Our planet in perspectiveForum 19Lessons from Fukushima Mike WeightmanCritical Point 23Measuring the Earth Robert P CreaseFeedback 25Your views on presidential science pledges, plus comments from physicsworld.comPhysics and the EarthIn perspective 30A feast of spectacular images of our planet from afarA pressing matter 37Deep inside the Earth, our planets core is one of the most unusual and extremeplaces in the entire solar system. And as David Appell nds out, it could even containgiant crystals up to 10 km longEyeing the Earth with neutrinos 44Fleeting and elusive they may be, but geoneutrinos generated through the radioactive decay of nuclei inside the Earth could revolutionize our understanding of what lies beneath, as Gianpaolo Bellini and Livia Ludhova explainWhen north heads south 51The Earths magnetic eld has ipped many times, but is the reversal spontaneous or caused by some external trigger? Franois Ptrlis, Jean-Pierre Valet and Jean Bessethink the answer may lie with the distribution of the Earths continentsHow to forecast an earthquake 58While it seems unlikely that we will ever be able to predict precisely when, where and with what strength an earthquake will occur, progress is being made in the idea of probabilistic forecasting, as Edwin Cartlidge explainsReviews 64The time of our lives Physics not for poets Web life: Earth Exploration ToolbookGraduate Careers 71Finding jobs in hard times Simon Perks All the latest graduate vacancies and coursesRecruitment 76Lateral Thoughts 88Baking, speed limits and circuits John SwansonSpot on creating the ideal foam 5Physics World is published monthly as 12 issues per annualvolume by IOP Publishing Ltd, Temple Circus, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6BE, UKUnited States Postal Identification StatementPhysics World (ISSN 0953-8585) is published monthly by IOP Publishing Ltd, Temple Circus, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6BE,UK. Air freight and mailing in the USA by Publications Expediting,Inc., 200 Meacham Ave, Elmont NY 11003. Periodicals postageat Jamaica NY 11431.US Postmaster: send address changes to Physics World,American Institute of Physics, Suite 1NO1, 2 Huntington Quadrangle, Melville, NY 11747-4502On the coverPhysics and the Earth: our planet inperspective 3063 (ESA)Potato-shaped Earths gravity map 3035ESA/HPF/DLRphysi csworl d.com Contents: March 20121 Physi cs Worl d March 2012Ruggero GabbrielliUntitled-2 1 17/01/2012 11:21By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the MoonUS Republican presidential candidateNewt Gingrich speaking at a campaign rally in FloridaGingrich says he wants Americans to think boldlyabout the future and for the country to have thecapacity in space that the Chinese and Russianswill never come anywhere close to matching.We already have a word for those whoclamour to send Americans back tothe Moon: lunaticsRobert Park from the University of Maryland in hisWhats New bulletinPark says that Gingrichs plans are not only veryexpensive, but also insane.We live in a world where its quite allright to be proudly ignorant of Faradayor EinsteinCERN director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer speakingat the World Economic Forum in Davos, SwitzerlandHeuer says science faces a challenge to reverse a trend in society towards scientific apathy, andeven antagonism.I would hate it to come down to a shootoutThomas Ludlam, chair of the physics departmentat the Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York,quoted in ScienceLudlam was commenting on budget difficulties atthe US Department of Energy, which may have tochoose between continuing to run the RelativisticHeavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven or building the$615m Facility for Rare Isotope Beams atMichigan State University.Particle physics? I dont think so. The whole place was a front for snowboardersComedian Ben Miller writing in Eureka!Miller says that the Large Hadron Collider at CERNis really just a smokescreen for physicists wantingto get some time on Alpine slopes.Nobody had cut the weeds. It lookedso sadJill Tarter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, quoted in the New York TimesTarter was commenting after astronomers returnedto the Hat Creek Observatory in California, whichreopened thanks to private donations pluggingbudget cuts at the University of California, Berkeley.For the recordQuantaNuclear gnashersCleaning up a redundant nuclear plant isusually a very serious business. But workersdecommissioning the Dounreay site innorthern Scotland could be in for a surpriseafter news emerged that deep inside theplants iconic sphere lies half a set of falseteeth. According to the February issue ofDounreay News, the dentures belonged to acolleague of retired engineer Don Ryan,who worked on the site from 1961 until1994. Speaking as part of an oral-historyproject recording the memories of workersat the site, Ryan revealed that the colleaguejust happened to be leaning on rails besidethe instrument panels, facing outwardstowards the spherical steel wall when hesneezed quite energetically. Half a set offalse teeth then disappeared from viewunder the inuence of gravity and theinternal sphere slope before the choppersrattled down to the never-visited bottom-sphere skirt. Ryan adds that the colleagueeven tried claiming for his gnashers, but theUK Atomic Energy Authority, which thenran the site, rebuffed [this] in rm administrative terms.Bet you cant win?Are you looking to make a cool $100000? Ifso, Scott Aaronson has a challenge for you.The mathematical physicist at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology isoffering this princely sum to anyone whocan convince him that scalable quantumcomputers are impossible. This might seemlike easy money after all, physicists havestruggled for years to build even the mostprimitive quantum processors, and scalingthese up to make a working quantumcomputer seems a tall order. But Aaronsonis not talking about hardware instead, hewants you to disprove the underlying quantum physics that would make aquantum computer tick. This is a bet onthe validity of quantum mechanics as itscurrently understood, he explains.Aaronson is condent he can raise themoney and he even thinks it would be wellspent, because disproving some or all orquantum mechanics would lead to a revolution in physics. As Physics World wentto press, Aaronson had not yet received anyserious entries but, with no time limit on thechallenge, its time to start thinking.Meteoric wineEarthy, oral, oaky. Wine tasters areknown for their rich vocabulary whendescribing different wines but now they canadd hints of meteorite to theirrepertoire. That is because UK astronomerIan Hutcheon has released a wine that isaged with a lump of 4.5-billion-year-oldmeteorite. Dubbed Meteorito, the extraterrestrial wine was created atHutcheons Tremonte Vineyard in Chileusing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes picked inApril 2010. These underwent malolacticfermentation for 12 months in a woodenbarrel containing the meteorite, beforebeing blended with other batches. Thethree-inch meteorite apparently belongs toa US collector and is believed to havecrashed into the Atacama Desert in northern Chile around 6000years ago.About 10000litres of the meteor-agedwine have been made but if you want to getyour hands on a splash, then you will needto make a trip to the Centro AstronomicoTagua in Chile an observatory Hutcheonestablished in 2007.Fringe sciencePhysicists in the UK havetaken the whole concept offringe science to a newlevel by studying thathairstyle of choice for men and women of acertain disposition the ponytail. RaymondGoldstein of the University of Cambridge,Robin Ball of the University of Warwickand Patrick Warren from shampoo-makerUnilever claim that the shape of a ponytailis dened by a competition between gravity,the elasticity of individual hairs and theirmutual interactions (Phys. Rev. Lett. 108078101). And because a ponytail cancontain as many as 100000 hairs, theproblem is best addressed using statisticalphysics. The researchers derived an equation of state for a ponytail thatincludes what they dub a Rapunzelnumber a dimensionless measure ofponytail length. The equation was thenused to predict how the shape of a ponytailvaries with length, with a real ponytailrequiring an additional term that reectshair getting frizzier as it grows longer. Whyanyone would want a ponytail in the rstplace, however, remains unanswered.Seen and heardphysi csworl d.com3 Physi cs Worl d March 2012iStockphoto/DarrenMowerNuclear Decommissioning AuthorityGeophysicists in the US have developed amodel that may have nally solved the riddleof how supercontinents form. The modelsuggests that each new supercontinentassembles a quarter of the way around theglobe from the centre of the previous super-continent. Projecting their model into thefuture, it indicates that the next supercon-tinent Amasia will form as a merger ofthe Americas and Asia via the Arctic Ocean.The collision of continents into one hugelandmass and their subsequent driftingapart is thought to have occurred severaltimes during the Earths history, in a cycle of300500 million years. Rifting and driftingoccurs at subduction zones areas on theplanet where two tectonic plates movetowards one another and one slides under theother. The last supercontinent, Pangaea,began to disintegrate about 200 million yearsago and two competing hypotheses have pre-viously tried to explain how a new supercon-tinent would form.The rst says that the continents will con-tinue to drift apart as they do today, with theAtlantic Ocean continuing to widen even-tually bringing together North America andAsia. In this extroversion model, the newsupercontinent would be situated on theopposite side of the globe to its predecessor.The second idea is that the continents atsome point do a U-turn and drift backtowards their starting position. This intro-version model relies on new subductionzones opening up that would allow theAtlantic oceanic crust to sink back beneaththe continents, closing off the Atlantic Oceanand forming a new supercontinent in thesame location as Pangaea.However, as neither of these models suc-cessfully explains all of the features of previ-ous supercontinent transitions, geophysicistsat Yale University, led by Ross Mitchell, havenow developed a different model that theysay provides a better t for past data. In theirorthoversion model, after a supercon-tinent breaks up, the continents initially driftapart but become trapped within a northsouth band of subduction a relic of the pre-vious supercontinent. The new supercon-tinent forms in this band, one-quarter of theway around the Earth or at 90 from the cen-tre of its predecessor.To test their model, the researchers usedpaleomagnetic data records of the Earthsmagnetic eld preserved in rocks to studyvariations in the rotation of the planet withrespect to its spin axis. Their analysis revealsan angle of 87 between Pangaea and its pre-decessor Rodinia, and an angle of 88 be-tween Rodinia and its predecessor Nuna.From this, the researchers inferred that thenew model best describes supercontinenttransitions (Nature 482 208).Researchers at Manchester University in theUK, led by Nobel-prize-winner Andre Geim,have made an ultrathin membrane fromgraphene oxide that appears to be highlypermeable to water while being imperme-able to all other liquids and gases. Grapheneoxide is like ordinary graphene, which wasco-discovered by Geim in 2004, but is cov-ered with molecules, such as hydroxylgroups. Each membrane consists of millionsof small akes of graphene oxide stacked ontop of each other, with nanometre-sized cap-illaries between the akes.Geim and colleagues found that waterpasses through the graphene-oxide mem-brane extremely fast, while all other gasesand liquids are completely blocked by it.According to the team, water is able to owthrough the capillaries with minimal friction.Indeed, the water diffuses though thegraphene-oxide sheets so quickly that it is asif it were passing through air.The researchers say the membranes areimpermeable to other substances becausethe graphene-oxide sheets are arranged suchthat there is only room for one layer of watermolecules. So when water passes through thecapillaries, it blocks them and does not allowany other substance to go through. And ifthere is no water, the capillaries shrink anddo not let any other substances through. Thenew property could lead to much more ef-cient water lters or a way of removing waterfrom a mixture or container while retainingall the other ingredients (Science 334 422).Cool sun could host habitable planetAn international team of scientists has discovereda potentially habitable super-Earth orbiting withinthe habitable zone of a cool star that is a memberof a triple-star system located about 22 light-yearsaway. This is the fourth exoplanet found within thehabitable zone of a star the first was found lastMay and its discovery demonstrates thathabitable planets could form in more variedenvironments than previously thought. The newplanet receives 90% of the light that the Earthreceives but because the light is infrared, a higherpercentage of this energy must be absorbed by theplanet. The researchers believe that the planetabsorbs about the same amount of energy from itsstar as the Earth absorbs from the Sun, meaningthat the surface temperature is similar to that onEarth, which in turn suggests that liquid watercould exist on the planets surface. However,further information about the planet will be neededto confirm this hypothesis.Frequency comb reaches extreme ultravioletPhysicists in the US have created an opticalfrequency comb that, for the first time, operates inthe extreme ultraviolet (XUV). The comb, whichcould be used to look for tiny variations in the fine-structure constant, consists of a train of laserpulses with peaks that are evenly paced infrequency, like the teeth on a comb. It was createdusing a high-power laser to make an intenseinfrared comb within an optical cavity. The cavitywas then filled with xenon gas, which gets ionizedby the laser, liberating electrons that areaccelerated and emit pulses of XUV light. Thesepulses bounce back and forth in the cavity tocreate XUV combs in the 40120nm wavelengthrange. The team used the comb to study specificatomic transitions in argon and neon atwavelengths of 82 and 63nm, respectively.Heating cools a semiconductorLaser cooling has been used on a solid film ofsemiconductor for the first time, reducing its temperature to a chilly 4K. In the study,researchers from Denmark reduced the vibrationsof a thin-film semiconductor membrane placed inan optical cavity so that it captures light betweentwo reflectors. The semiconductor absorbs thephotons, exciting them to electrons that then fallback to a lower energy before releasing that energyas heat. This changes the length of the cavity,which in turn cools the semiconductor. The teamsuggests that with future developments, the semiconductors temperature could be chilled further so that its vibrations are reduced almost tothe quantum ground state in at least one direction.How supercontinents are bornFilters of the futureIn bri efRead these articles in full and sign up for freee-mail news alerts at physicsworld.comMerged Amasia: the next supercontinent.R Mitchell et al., NatureFrontiersphysi csworl d.com4 Physi cs Worl d March 2012Every seasoned flyer knows better than to carry alarge bottle of shampoo, perfume or evenchampagne in their hand luggage. But all thatmight change, thanks to researchers in the UK whohave developed a scanner that can be used at airports to screen liquids in opaque or translucentbottles. The device could allow the ban on liquidsof more than 100ml in hand luggage to be lifted asearly as 2013.The scanner uses a technology known asspatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS),which was invented and developed byPavel Matousek and collaborators at theRutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK in 2004.A variation on conventional Raman technology, itprovides a chemical analysis deep within a sampleand can be used to scan everything from bonebeneath skin and drugs in plastic packages to liquids in opaque bottles. The new scanner isknown as the INSIGHT100 and was developed byCobalt Light Systems a company founded byMatousek in 2006 to exploit the SORS technique.Conventional Raman spectroscopy relies on theinelastic backscattering of photons as lightinteracts with matter. Normally, the scattered photons are detected from the same spot on thesample that has been illuminated. The problem isthat Raman signals from surface layers tend todominate those signals from within the sample.To get around this issue, the researchers collectphotons from a spot a few millimetres away fromthe illuminated area a spatially offset spot. Thisworks because photons migrate from theilluminated spot and travel through the body of thesample. Thus, SORS delivers a smaller surface signal and a sharper signal from deeper within thesample, while always being non-invasive.The current ban on liquids of more than 100 mlin hand luggage can only be lifted when airportsare able to screen liquids quickly and without opening containers. While X-ray scanners currently do that job, they produce high false-alarm rates, which slow the screening process.Cobalt claims that the false-alarm rate with theINSIGHT100 is considerably lower, at 1% or less,and that the scanner can screen individual bottlesin less than 5 s and also provide a high chemicalspecificity with all types of containers in a varietyof sizes. The scanner has already passed the stringent testing procedure necessary to allow it tobe trialled and is now being used at anundisclosed number of major European airports.Matousek points out that the scanner is to be usedin parallel with X-ray scanners as it complementsthe existing technology.Raman technique peersinto cabin baggageThe foam in this image might have been made using everyday Fairy Liquid detergent, but it is also the firstever example of a WeairePhelan foam, which physicists believe is the lowest energy structure for a foamformed of equal-volume bubbles. The first theoretical concept for an ideal foam of equal-sized bubbles wasdeveloped by Lord Kelvin back in 1887 and was considered to be the ideal until 1994, when Trinity CollegeDublin physicist Denis Weaire and his student Robert Phelan identified from computer simulations that afoam at an even lower energy should exist. The WeairePhelan foam is a complex 3D structure of two kinds of equal-volume polyhedral bubbles, and is 0.3% lower in energy than the Kelvin foam. Making one provedtricky, however, until Ruggero Gabbrielli from the University of Trento in Italy realized that the problem lay withthe shape of the containers used, and so designed a receptacle with walls of an intricate form that encourageand accommodate the WeairePhelan bubbles. The foam is created by placing the special template in a simple solution of water and Fairy Liquid, with bubbles introduced by releasing nitrogen gas from a glass capillary. The resulting foam was backlit and photographed using a digital SLR camera. The samples thatwere produced comprised up to 1500 bubbles (Phil. Mag. Lett. 10.1080/09500839.2011.645898).Innovati onThe incredible robustness of spider webs,which lets them survive even the fiercest ofstorms, is down to a feature of the silk thatlocalizes damage to small sections of the web.That is the nding of researchers based in theUS and Italy, who claim that this property ofspider silk could help civil engineers to devisemore robust structures.Spider silk is known to have a greater ten-sile strength than high-grade steel. But pre-vious studies have not explained how spiderwebs can remain relatively intact after beingsubjected to extreme loading such as hurri-cane-strength winds. A team led by MarkusBuehler from the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology now says it has an answer aftercombining modelling with experiment torelate the nanoscale properties of spider silkto the large-scale integrity of spider webs.A spiders silk is made from basic proteins,including some that form thin, planar crys-tals called beta sheets. When stress is appliedto a strand of this silk, the sheets slide acrosseach other, until the silk eventually ruptures.To examine this process of structural failure,Buehlers team developed an atomic-scalesimulation of silk from the Nephila clavipes a species of golden orb-web spider native tothe warmer regions of the Americas. Itrevealed that when the spider silk is sub-jected to an applied load, its stiffness variesin a nonlinear fashion. Under light stresses,the silk responds fairly uniformly by soften-ing and spreading the load across the entireweb. But at high stresses, the materialbecomes stiffer near the applied load butremains soft elsewhere in the web.When the failure point is eventuallyreached, the stiff silk ruptures, but only in theregion where the load was applied. In thisway, the web is effectively sacricing only asmall section, which can then be repaired bythe spider (Nature 482 72).Why spider webs endureGetting to the froth of the matterRuggero Gabbrielliphysi csworl d.com Frontiers5 Physi cs Worl d March 2012*Conditions apply. See tda.gov.uk/conditions for full details. The future of a joint US and Euro-pean mission to Mars is uncertainafter NASA told the European SpaceAgency (ESA) that it is pulling out ofthe 7850m ExoMars venture. The USwithdrawal comes following the USpresidents budget request, releasedlast month, which sees NASAs $1.5bnplanetary-science budget slashed by21%, with Mars exploration receiving$360m a 39% cut from 2012 levels.ESA is now in discussion with theRussian space agency Roscosmosabout ExoMarss future.ExoMars, which is supposed tolaunch in 2018, consists of two parts.The idea is to launch a Trace GasOrbiter in 2016 to orbit Mars and mapthe red planet for sources of methaneand other gases. Two years later, anExoMars rover, weighing almost300 kg, would be launched to searchfor possible signs of life on Mars, char-acterize the water and geochemicaldistribution of the surface, and iden-tify any hazards for future mannedmissions to the planet.While NASAs overall 2013 budgetis similar to 2012 roughly $17.7bn the agency still needs to pay for itsflagship James Webb Space Telescope(JWST) mission, the costs of whichare expected to balloon from $476.8min 2011 to $659m in 2014. It is this hikethat has resulted in the need for cutselsewhere in the programme and thecancelling of NASAs involvement in ExoMars. NASA administratorCharles Bolden said in a statementthat the agency would insteaddevelop an integrated strategy toensure that the next steps for Marsexploration will support science aswell as human-exploration goals, andpotentially take advantage of the20182020 exploration window.The presidents budget request stillhas to pass through Congress, whichis unlikely to be easy in an electionyear. However, regardless of whatbudget emerges, severe cutbacks willhave to be made. Having just beeninvolved in a near-death experiencefor the JWST, I am very sympatheticto the feelings of my scientist col-leagues who are dealing with the can-cellation of a key Mars mission, saysastronomer Garth Illingworth, who ischair of the JSWT advisory commit-tee. I am particularly concerned thatthese cuts are affecting our interna-tional partners significantly.Meanwhile, a report by theNational Research Council recom-mends the US makes a 20m contrib-ution to ESAs Euclid dark-energymission. Euclid, to be launched in2019, will map the large-scale distrib-ution of dark matter and characterizethe properties of dark energy. Thecommittee says that the US shouldstill go ahead with building the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, to belaunched in 2020, which would searchfor dark energy as well as search forexoplanets. NASA involvement inEuclid is, I hope, a start to renewedinternational collaborations, addsIllingworth.Michael BanksNews & AnalysisMars mission in doubt as US pulls outDown and outBudget constraintsmean that NASA will pull out of the7850m ExoMarsmission, which wasset to launch its firststage in 2016.ESAphysi csworl d.com7 Physi cs Worl d March 2012Russia has announced it may launch asecond mission to Marss moon Phobosafter its original Phobos-Grunt missionended in disaster in January whenscientists lost contact with the craft andit crashed back down to Earth. LevZelenyi, director of the Institute of SpaceResearch at the Russian Academy ofSciences, which was behind the Phobos-Grunt mission, told a press conference inMoscow that a new spacecraft, namedprovisionally as Phobos-Grunt 2, could belaunched in 2018.The timing of the new mission isdesigned to take advantage of a launchwindow when Mars will be particularlyclose to the Earth. Such windows occurroughly every 26 months, but the next window in 2013 does not leave enoughtime to prepare for the new mission, whilethe 2016 window coincides with Russiasplanned lunar projects.Zelenyi says the new mission will be apared-down version of Phobos-Grunt,retaining the control systems from theoriginal design but with less instrumentation and simpler rovers forexploring the surface of Phobos. However,he cautions that the plans for the newmission are still in the very early stages.Nothing has been decided yet, he toldPhysics World. Indeed, Roscosmos, theRussian federal space agency, has beenin discussions with the European SpaceAgency (ESA) since late last year aboutparticipating in the ExoMars mission another mission to the red planet that isset for 2016 (see above). If no deal isreached [with ESA], we will repeat theattempt [to launch a Phobos mission],says Roscosmos boss Vladimir Popovkin.Meanwhile, following intense speculation about why Phobos-Gruntfailed, an official report has concludedthat a computer malfunction, possiblycaused by a burst of cosmic radiation ordefective microchips, was to blame.Phobos-Grunts failure also affectedChina, which had its own Yinghuo-1orbiter aboard the craft. Wu Ji, director-general of the National Space ScienceCentre of the Chinese Academy ofSciences, told China Daily last month thatthe country has had to rethink its plansfor Mars exploration, with a new missionin 2016 at the earliest.Simon PerksPlans unveiled to reincarnate Phobos-GruntRussiaSecond time lucky? Russia may launch asuccessor to thefailed Phobos-Gruntmission to Marsmoon Phobos.RoscosmosThe Indian government has black-listed four top space scientists foralleged procedural lapses whennegotiating a $250m deal for the leas-ing of two communications satellitesto an Indian private company. Thefour scientists include G MadhavanNair, former head of the Indian SpaceResearch Organization (ISRO), whoguided ISRO in launching the coun-trys first mission to the Moon in 2008.The others are K R Sridhara Murthi,former head of the Antrix Corpora-tion in Bangalore, K N Shankara, for-mer head of the ISRO Satellite Centrein Bangalore, and A Bhaskarana-rayana, former director of ISROssatellite-communications program-mes. All four, who have been bannedfor life from holding any governmentpositions, deny any wrongdoing.The controversy dates back to 2005when Antrix ISROs commercialarm signed a deal with Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia PrivateLimited to build two high-poweredcommunications satellites that woulddeliver India with multimedia andinformation services, even to those inremote areas. On 17 February 2011,however, the government cancelledthe contract citing increased stra-tegic needs. It then appointed twointernal investigation committees the first led by B K Chaturvedi, a for-mer cabinet secretary, and the next byPratyush Sinha, a former CentralVigilance Commissioner to lookinto the situation. In a statement onISROs website, Sinhas report saysWe conclude that there have beennot only serious administrative andprocedural lapses, but also suggestionof collusive behaviour on the part ofcertain individuals.Nair claims he did nothing wrongand that no rules of government wereviolated, but the key sticking point isthat he and others apparently did notinform the government in writing thatISRO was manufacturing and leasingcommunications transponders to aprivate company and that the spec-trum was sold too cheaply. To date,neither ISRO nor Devas Multimediahas been accused by the governmentof any wrongdoing.Nair claims that the scientists havebeen subjected to a witch hunt. Henow wants Indian prime ministerManmohan Singh to put a hold onimplementing the ban. The condem-nation and tarnishing of the images ofthese scientists is beyond all compre-hension and against the principles ofnatural justice, Nair wrote in a letterto Singh. The four scientists havegiven their sweat and blood to thecountrythey virtually gave theMoon to the country. Nair adds thatno formal enquiry has been conductedand the four have not been given anychance to present or defend the case.The matter is now being heard inIndias Supreme Court.Pallava BaglaNew DelhiBlacklisted former space boss protests at witch huntIndiaLunar pioneerG Madhavan Nair, former head of theIndian SpaceResearchOrganization, guidedthe agency in launching thecountrys first missionto the Moon.Pallava Baglaphysi csworl d.com News & Analysis8 Physi cs Worl d March 2012A new centre for theoretical physics hasopened in Brazil that aims to become oneof the leading research institutes in SouthAmerica. The centre named after therenowned International Centre forTheoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy will be located at Universidade EstadualPaulista (UNESP) in Sao Paulo. Known asthe ICTP South American Institute forFundamental Research (ICTP-SAIFR), thenew centre was officially opened on6 February in a ceremony attended by thepresident of the Brazilian Academy ofScience, Jacob Palis, as well asPeter Goddard, director of Institute forAdvanced Study, Princeton, US.The ICTP-SAIFR has been created in acollaboration between the ICTP, UNESPand the Sao Paulo Research FundingAgency. Its activities are modelled onthose of the ICTP and will begin with thecentre holding international schools andworkshops. Among the first events will bea workshop on gravity and string theory inMay and a school on astrophysics andcosmology in July.Initially, there will be five permanentresearchers as well as a director, who isthe Brazilian physicist Nathan Berkovits.The centre expects to support about adozen postdoc positions per year as wellas playing host to a number ofinternational visitors and students. With abudget of about $1m per year, theinstitute will also have an active visitorsprogramme. We very much hope that thiswill be only the beginning of a great newproject that will increase the scientificlevel of the region and that will play amajor role in international scientific collaboration, Fernando Quevedo, director of the ICTP in Trieste, toldPhysics World. I have the highest hopes[for this institute].Berkovits says that the idea for theinstitute emerged eight years ago butaccelerated once Quevedo became director of the ICTP in 2009. The ICTPwas crucial for the creation of thisinstitute, says Berkovits. It is, ofcourse, exciting and a great challenge tostart this new institute. The opening ofthe new centre is part of a five-year planto expand the ICTP into other countries,especially in the developing world.Brazil, India and China are playing amore relevant role worldwide, saysQuevedo. The scientific level of Brazil isvery high and a centre located there cantherefore play the same role for SouthAmerica that the ICTP has already been playing worldwide.Michael BanksSouth AmericaTheoretical-physics hub opens in BrazilA meeting of mindsPhysicists includingICTP directorFernando Quevedo,fourth from right, atthe opening of theICTP South AmericanInstitute forFundamentalResearch inSao Paolo.The future of one of Japans leadingcosmological-research centres ap-pears safe after it was awarded a mas-sive $7.5m cash boost from theUS-based Kavli Foundation. TheInstitute for the Physics and Math-ematics of the Universe, which isbased at the University of Tokyo,becomes the first centre in Japan to besupported by the foundation. Thereare now a total of 16 Kavli institutesaround the world, including 10 in theUS, three in Europe and two in China.Set up in 2007, the centre will nowbe known as the Kavli Institute for thePhysics and Mathematics of theUniverse (Kavli IPMU). It seeks totackle some of the biggest questionsin physics, such as the origin, evolu-tion and fate of the universe, as wellas the nature of dark matter and darkenergy. The work is carried out on aninterdisciplinary basis by more than200 researchers, including theoreticaland experimental physicists, math-ematicians and astronomers.The new money is a vital boost forthe institute, which was set up as partof a Japanese initiative to attract sci-entists from abroad to work in thecountry. A total of five institutes werefounded under the countrys WorldPremier International (WPI) pro-gramme, each of which was promised$10m a year for a decade and told torecruit 30% of its researchers fromoverseas. However, in early 2010 theJapanese government cut the WPIsbudget by 22%, raising questionmarks about the IPMUs long-termfuture. Plans for two new WPI insti-tutes were then axed, leaving theIPMU with a smaller, but still prob-lematic, 3.6% budget cut.Hitoshi Murayama, director of theIPMU, says that the support from theKavli Foundation will now help theinstitute to keep going even when theWPI funding runs out. The return[from the endowment] is nowhereclose to the current funding level, butit is a start, he told Physics World.Murayama is confident that the Kavlicash will also bring prestige andinternational visibility [that] shouldhelp the institute to attract and recruitmore scientists. Murayama himselfwas lured back to Japan to run theIPMU after almost 15 years in the USat the University of California,Berkeley. Currently, some 56% of theIPMUs staff are non-Japanese.The Kavli Foundation, based inCalifornia, was set up in 2000 by theNorwegian-born physicist and phil-anthropist Fred Kavli. It sponsorsresearch in astrophysics, nanoscience,neuroscience and theoretical physics.It also awards three prestigious $1mprizes each year as well as fundingworkshops, symposia, Kavli profes-sorships and a programme for sciencejournalists. I hope that our supportof science in Japan can demonstratethat the quest for knowledge has noboundaries, and that finding theanswers to some of sciences biggestand most fundamental questionsrequires international collaboration,says Kavli.Matin DurraniCosmology centre secures long-term futureJapanA promising futureThe five-floor mainbuilding of the KavliInstitute for thePhysics andMathematics of theUniverse in Tokyo wascompleted in 2009.physi csworl d.com News & Analysis9 Physi cs Worl d March 2012Kavli IPMUThe University of Manchester in theUK has been invited to be the solebidder for a new 45m GrapheneInstitute, which would be housed onthe universitys campus. Around38m of the funding will be providedby the UKs Engineering and PhysicalSciences Research Council, whichsays that the institutes main aim willbe to lead the commercialization ofgraphene through the developmentof applications, building on thestrength of UK research in this field.The rest of the cash is expected tocome from the university and alsofrom private investment.Manchester physicist Andre Geim,who shared the 2010 Nobel Prize forPhysics with his colleague KonstantinNovoselov for their work ongraphene, says that it is the right timefor the UK to invest in this areabecause countries such as Singaporeand South Korea are already doing so.However, Geim has mixed feelingsabout the new institute and its benttowards commercialization. Mystrength has always been in curiosity-driven research, [and] this fundingpushes me hard in the direction of the commercialization of grapheneresearch, Geim told Physics World. Iwas not really looking forward to thisnew funding. I consider it not as afavour by [the government] but as anextra burden I was asked to carry.A University of Manchesterspokesperson says that even at thisearly stage various companies areshowing an interest in workingtogether with the institutes re-searchers to commercialize graphene,including Samsung, which already hasa strong graphene-research pro-gramme. Details are scarce aboutwhat the new building will look like orwhen it will open. However, the 40 orso researchers who currently work atthe university on graphene areexpected to transfer to the new facil-ity, with more scientists then beinghired once the institute is open at adate yet to be fixed.Kulvinder Singh ChadhaManchester set to bid for new Graphene InstituteResearchBlessing or burden?Nobel laureateAndre Geim hasmixed views about anew institute to commercializegraphene.James King-Holmes/Science Photo Libraryphysi csworl d.com News & Analysis10 Physi cs Worl d March 2012A bipartisan bill introduced in the USHouse of Representatives aims toreverse 2008 legislation that requiresrecipients of National Institutes ofHealth (NIH) grants to make copiesof their peer-reviewed papers freelyavailable online. Introduced inDecember and sponsored by Cali-fornia Republican Darrell Issa andNew York Democrat CarolynMaloney, the New Research WorksAct could limit public access to pri-vately published research, includingthat funded by the government.The current legislation means thatNIH-funded scientists have to placetheir papers in the National Library ofMedicines repository, which is free toaccess for the public. Supporters ofthe new bill, which would scrap thatrequirement, include the Associationof American Publishers (AAP),whose members includes several pub-lishers of scholarly journals. Theyargue that the bill is necessary becausethe process of peer-reviewing andpublishing research involves signifi-cant financial outlay. Americas pro-fessional and scholarly publishers aremaking more research available tomore people through more channelsthan ever before in our history, theassociation noted in a statement.The Research Works Act ensures thesustainability of this industry.However, the bill only has a rela-tively small chance of passage this year.Indeed, some of the AAPs academicmembers, including the University ofCalifornia Press, have come out inopposition. The American Institute ofPhysics (AIP) an umbrella group forphysical-science societies and theAmerican Physical Society (APS),both of which publish peer-reviewedjournals, have also stated their oppo-sition to the new act. The proposedlegislation is counterproductive to cur-rent efforts and not needed at thistime, said the AIP in a statement.We always allow authors to publishour version of their papers on theirand their institutions websites with-out embargo, Gene Sprouse, theAPSs editor-in-chief, told PhysicsWorld. We have 500 libraries signedup to our library initiative, whichmakes the complete contents of ourjournals from 1893 to today availableto anyone who visits the libraries phys-ically. And starting last year we havemade our articles freely available inhigh schools.Meanwhile, as Physics World wentto press, more than 6000 researchershad signed a petition pledging not topublish in Elseviers journals or to actas a referee or editor for the pub-lisher. They say that peer review is car-ried out by voluntary, unpaidacademics and that the publicationsserve largely to line the pockets of thepublishing company. In response tothe boycott, initiated by University ofCambridge mathematician TimothyGowers, Elsevier declared that it wasproud of the way we have been ableto work in partnership with the re-search community to make real andsustainable contributions to science.Peter GwynneBoston, MAUS bill seeks to overturn NIH research-archiving rulePublishingChange of courseA US bill aims toreverse current legislation that NIH-funded scientistshave to place theirresearch in theNational Library ofMedicinesrepository, which isfree to access for the public.Wikimedia CommonsAt first glance it may look more like afancy paint job but a new car roofdesigned by researchers at Philips andchemical giant BASF has the unusualproperty of giving drivers and passen-gers a clear view by day before turninginto an interior light at night. The roofcontains 129 glass hexagons contain-ing organic light-emitting diodes(OLEDs) that are transparent duringthe day but can generate light when itis dark. The OLEDs are shown herein the roof of a prototype electricDaimler Smart Car.OLEDs are light-emitting diodes(LEDs) in which the luminescentlayer is a film of organic compoundsthat emits light in response to an elec-tric current. Unlike LEDs, they canemit light from their entire surfacearea which creates softer lightthan LEDs. They are already used inrigid form in some display screens andalso in interior design, such as in glass table tops.BASF remains tight-lipped aboutits OLED material, except to say thatit has developed dyes and otherorgano-chemical materials that areused in the development and manu-facturing of OLEDs by Philips. TheOLEDs are built into glass panes thatalso contain embedded solar cells,which generate electricity during theday and then store that energy in thecars lithium-ion batteries. Thisenergy is used to power the OLEDs toilluminate the cars interior at night.It is not certain when the technol-ogy might be ready for commercialproduction and neither BASF norPhilips has said how efficient theseOLEDs are. While regular LEDs turnonly about 20% of supplied electric-ity into light (the same as a conven-tional incandescent light bulb), firmsdeveloping OLEDs especially forelectronic gadgets are still trying toreduce power consumption. Forexample, Osram a subsidiary ofSiemens last month claimed to havedeveloped a bendable plastic OLEDribbon that yields 32 lumens per watt(lm/W), which compares with just 1020lm/W for a halogen bulb.Mark HalperIndustryPhilips and BASF put a new spin on the car roofClear viewOrganic light-emittingdiodes make this carroof be transparentby day but light up at night.BASFThe USs failure to get to grips withthe long-term storage of nuclearwaste has been damaging andcostly, according to the final reportby the Blue Ribbon Commission onAmericas Nuclear Future. The com-missions report contains several rec-ommendations, including the needfor any future repository to firstobtain local consent for any wastefacilities. It also says an independentorganization should be set up solelydedicated to overseeing the USsnuclear-waste management.The work of the commission, whichconsisted of politicians, scientists andengineers, gained particular rele-vance last year when US PresidentBarack Obama halted work on theplanned repository in YuccaMountain, Nevada. First mooted inthe 1980s, the repository was to havestored the USs spent nuclear fuel andhigh-level radioactive waste.While the state of Nevada has nowvetoed a repository, other statesmight accept one. There has beenlocal support in Carlsbad, NewMexico, which already hosts theWaste Isolation Pilot Plant, sayscommission member Ernest Moniz,director of the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology EnergyInitiative. There is no physical rea-son why a new repository has to cometomorrow or the day after, but whatwe need fairly urgently is to adopt theoverall strategy that the commissionhas put forward.US energy secretary Steven Chu,who set up the commission, welcomedthe report as a critical step towardfinding a sustainable approach to dis-posing of used nuclear fuel andnuclear waste. At the request ofCongress, Chus department will nowwithin the next six months develop astrategy for handling spent nuclearfuel and other waste.Peter GwynneBoston, MAUS urged to develop new strategy for nuclear wasteNuclear wasteNobel trio back US neutrino facilityA group of 43 theoretical physicists in theUS including the Nobel laureatesSheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg andFrank Wilczek have expressed support fora key component of the proposed $1.3bnLong Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE).The experiment would involve sending anintense beam of neutrinos that are createdat Fermilab to a large detector deep insideSouth Dakotas Homestake mine, lyingsome 1300km away. In a letter sent to theUS Department of Energy (DOE), the theorists praised the high discovery potential of such an undergrounddetector, noting it could be used to studysymmetry violation in neutrinos, to searchfor proton decays and to perform sensitivestudies of neutrinos emitted in supernovaexplosions. The signatories say that thefacilitys flexibility means it is urgentlyneeded even in a time of budgetconstraints. The support is likely to boostthe LBNEs chances of passing a fundingreview later this summer, when DOEofficials are expected to decide whether the project will go ahead.CERN ramps up collision energyCERN has announced that it will increasethe energy of protonproton collisions atthe Large Hadron Collider (LHC) from 7TeVto 8TeV per beam. The move to a higherenergy later this year should help make itclearer whether the Higgs boson has beenfound with a mass of about 125GeV, aswas suggested in December 2011.Meanwhile, Ximo Poveda of the ATLASexperiment delivered a talk at CERN lastmonth on the latest search for supersymmetry (SUSY). Many physicistshope the LHC will confirm SUSYs centralprediction that for each of the StandardModel particles there exists a heavier sparticle sibling. Poveda reported on thesearch for several supersymmetric partnersof various quarks and leptons squarksand sleptons called the stop, stau andsbottom. However, so far ATLAS has seennothing beyond the Standard Model.UK physics numbers jump by 8.3%Applications to study physics at UK universities have shot up by around 8.3%,according to figures from the Universitiesand Colleges Admissions Service. This year24934 students have applied to do aphysics course in the UK up by 2000 onlast years figures. The boost for physics isin stark contrast to the overall 8.7%decline in university applicants across theUK, which is thought to be caused bytuition fees rising to a maximum of 9000per year for students studying in England.Si debandsWaste woesWork on developingYucca Mountain intoa long-term repositoryfor nuclear waste wasscrapped last year byUS PresidentBarack Obama.Japan has announced it is to launch a second asteroid sample-return missionfollowing the success of the Hayabusacraft, which in 2010 returned the firstsamples ever obtained from the surface of an asteroid. The Space ActivitiesCommission, which governs funding forthe Japanese space programme, formallyapproved the Hayabusa-2 mission in lateJanuary. The Japanese firm NEC, whichbuilt parts of the original Hayabusamission, has also announced that it hasstarted designing the communicationssystem and an infrared camera for theHayabusa-2 craft.Weighing almost 600kg and costingaround $200m, Hayabusa-2 will land on1999 JU3 an almost spherical asteroidthat is 920m in diameter and is thoughtto contain organic matter and hydratedminerals. Hayabusa-2 will attempt to findout where such organic matter and wateroriginated from and how they are relatedto life and ocean water on Earth.The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA,plans to launch the craft in 2014 whenthe asteroids path will be closest toEarth, eventually reaching the body by themiddle of 2018. The craft will then landon the asteroid and stay there for around18 months to retrieve samples beforebeginning its return to Earth at the end of 2019.While the original Hayabusa missiononly scraped the surface of the asteroid it landed on, Hayabusa-2 will insteadrelease a 2 kg impactor before touchingdown. The impactor will hit the asteroidssurface and make a small crater severalmetres in diameter. Hayabusa-2 will thenland in the crater and collect samplesfrom within the asteroid.Michael BanksSpaceJapan plans successor to asteroid missionDepartment of Energyphysi csworl d.com News & Analysis11 Physi cs Worl d March 2012New and improvedHayabusa-2 willfollow in the footstepsof Hayabusa-1(pictured), which in2010 successfullyretrieved the firstsamples ever fromthe surface of anasteroid.JAXAMETALS & ALLOYS for Research / Development & IndustrySmall Quantities Competitive Prices Fast Shipment57-70*89-102***Lanthanoids**ActinoidsPeriodic Table of the Elements123 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1213 14 15 16 17181.00790.090-252.87HydrogenH16.9410.54180.5LithiumLi39.01221.851287BerylliumBe422.9900.9797.7SodiumNa1124.3051.74650MagnesiumMg1239.0980.8663.4PotassiumK1940.0781.55842CalciumCa2085.4681.5339.3RubidiumRb3787.622.63777StrontiumSr38132.911.8828.4CaesiumCs55137.333.51727BariumBa56[223]FranciumFr87[226]5.0700RadiumRa88138.916.146920LanthanumLa57140.126.689795CeriumCe58140.916.64935PraseodymiumPr59144.246.801024NeodymiumNd60[145]7.2641100PromethiumPm61150.367.3531072SamariumSm62151.965.244826EuropiumEu63157.257.9011312GadoliniumGd64158.938.2191356TerbiumTb65162.508.5511407DysprosiumDy66164.938.7951461HolmiumHo67167.269.0661497ErbiumEr68168.939.3211545ThuliumTm69173.046.57824YtterbiumYb70[227]10.071050ActiniumAc89232.0411.721842ThoriumTh90231.0415.371568ProtactiniumPa91238.0319.051132UraniumU92[237]20.45637NeptuniumNp93[244]19.816639PlutoniumPu94[243]1176AmericiumAm95[247]13.511340CuriumCm96[247]14.78986BerkeliumBk97[251]15.1900CaliforniumCf98[252]860EinsteiniumEs99[257]1527FermiumFm100[258]827MendeleviumMd101[259]827NobeliumNo10244.9562.991541ScandiumSc2147.8674.511668TitaniumTi2250.9426.111910VanadiumV2351.9967.141907ChromiumCr2454.9387.471246ManganeseMn2555.8457.871538IronFe2658.9338.901495CobaltCo2758.6938.911455NickelNi2863.5468.921084.6CopperCu2965.397.14419.5ZincZn3069.7235.9029.8GalliumGa3172.645.32938.3GermaniumGe3274.9225.73816.9ArsenicAs3378.964.82221SeleniumSe3479.9043.12-7.3BromineBr3583.803.733-153.22KryptonKr3610.8112.462076BoronB512.0112.273900CarbonC614.0071.251-195.79NitrogenN715.9991.429-182.95OxygenO818.9981.696-188.12FluorineF920.1800.900-246.08NeonNe1026.9822.70660.3AluminiumAl1328.0862.331414SiliconSi1430.9741.8244.2PhosphorusP1532.0651.96115.2SulphurS1635.4533.214-34.04ChlorineCl1739.9481.784-185.85ArgonAr184.00260.177-268.93HeliumHe288.9064.471526YttriumY3991.2246.511855ZirconiumZr4092.9068.572477NiobiumNb4195.9410.282623MolybdenumMo42[98]11.52157TechnetiumTc43101.0712.372334RutheniumRu44102.9112.451964RhodiumRh45106.4212.021554.9PalladiumPd46107.8710.49961.8SilverAg47112.418.65321.1CadmiumCd48114.827.31156.6IndiumIn49118.717.31231.9TinSn50121.766.70630.6AntimonySb51127.606.24449.5TelluriumTe52126.904.94113.7IodineI53131.295.887-108.05XenonXe54174.979.841652LutetiumLu71178.4913.312233HafniumHf72180.9516.653017TantalumTa73183.8419.253422TungstenW74186.2121.023186RheniumRe75190.2322.613033OsmiumOs76192.2222.652466IridiumIr77195.0821.091768.3PlatinumPt78196.9719.301064.2GoldAu79200.5913.55-38.83MercuryHg80204.3811.85304ThalliumTl81207.211.34327.5LeadPb82208.989.78271.3BismuthBi83[209]9.20254PoloniumPo84[210]302AstatineAt85[222]9.73-61.85RadonRn86[262]1627LawrenciumLr103[265]Rutherfordium104[268]DubniumDb105[271]SeaborgiumSg106[272]BohriumBh107[270]HassiumHs108[276]MeitneriumMt109[281]DarmstadtiumDs110[280]RoentgeniumRg111[285]CoperniciumCn112[289]UnunquadiumUuq114Solids&Liquids (g/cm3)Gases(g/l)Meltingpoint(Solids&Liquids)Boilingpoint(Gases)Standard Catalogue ItemsElement NameSymbolAtomicweightDensityM.pt./ B.pt.(C)AtomicNo.advent-rm.com ADVENT[284]UnuntriumUut113[288]UnunpentiumUup115[293]UnunhexiumUuh116Tel + 44 1865 884440Fax + 44 1865 [email protected][]UnunseptiumUus117[294]UnunoctiumUuo11885595PTA5201014/07/201014:14Page1Advent Research Materi al s Ltd Oxford Engl and OX29 4JAMETALS & ALLOYS for Research / Development & IndustrySmall Quantities Competitive Prices Fast Shipment57-70*89-102***Lanthanoids**ActinoidsPeriodic Table of the Elements123 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1213 14 15 16 17181.00790.090-252.87HydrogenH16.9410.54180.5LithiumLi39.01221.851287BerylliumBe422.9900.9797.7SodiumNa1124.3051.74650MagnesiumMg1239.0980.8663.4PotassiumK1940.0781.55842CalciumCa2085.4681.5339.3RubidiumRb3787.622.63777StrontiumSr38132.911.8828.4CaesiumCs55137.333.51727BariumBa56[223]FranciumFr87[226]5.0700RadiumRa88138.916.146920LanthanumLa57140.126.689795CeriumCe58140.916.64935PraseodymiumPr59144.246.801024NeodymiumNd60[145]7.2641100PromethiumPm61150.367.3531072SamariumSm62151.965.244826EuropiumEu63157.257.9011312GadoliniumGd64158.938.2191356TerbiumTb65162.508.5511407DysprosiumDy66164.938.7951461HolmiumHo67167.269.0661497ErbiumEr68168.939.3211545ThuliumTm69173.046.57824YtterbiumYb70[227]10.071050ActiniumAc89232.0411.721842ThoriumTh90231.0415.371568ProtactiniumPa91238.0319.051132UraniumU92[237]20.45637NeptuniumNp93[244]19.816639PlutoniumPu94[243]1176AmericiumAm95[247]13.511340CuriumCm96[247]14.78986BerkeliumBk97[251]15.1900CaliforniumCf98[252]860EinsteiniumEs99[257]1527FermiumFm100[258]827MendeleviumMd101[259]827NobeliumNo10244.9562.991541ScandiumSc2147.8674.511668TitaniumTi2250.9426.111910VanadiumV2351.9967.141907ChromiumCr2454.9387.471246ManganeseMn2555.8457.871538IronFe2658.9338.901495CobaltCo2758.6938.911455NickelNi2863.5468.921084.6CopperCu2965.397.14419.5ZincZn3069.7235.9029.8GalliumGa3172.645.32938.3GermaniumGe3274.9225.73816.9ArsenicAs3378.964.82221SeleniumSe3479.9043.12-7.3BromineBr3583.803.733-153.22KryptonKr3610.8112.462076BoronB512.0112.273900CarbonC614.0071.251-195.79NitrogenN715.9991.429-182.95OxygenO818.9981.696-188.12FluorineF920.1800.900-246.08NeonNe1026.9822.70660.3AluminiumAl1328.0862.331414SiliconSi1430.9741.8244.2PhosphorusP1532.0651.96115.2SulphurS1635.4533.214-34.04ChlorineCl1739.9481.784-185.85ArgonAr184.00260.177-268.93HeliumHe288.9064.471526YttriumY3991.2246.511855ZirconiumZr4092.9068.572477NiobiumNb4195.9410.282623MolybdenumMo42[98]11.52157TechnetiumTc43101.0712.372334RutheniumRu44102.9112.451964RhodiumRh45106.4212.021554.9PalladiumPd46107.8710.49961.8SilverAg47112.418.65321.1CadmiumCd48114.827.31156.6IndiumIn49118.717.31231.9TinSn50121.766.70630.6AntimonySb51127.606.24449.5TelluriumTe52126.904.94113.7IodineI53131.295.887-108.05XenonXe54174.979.841652LutetiumLu71178.4913.312233HafniumHf72180.9516.653017TantalumTa73183.8419.253422TungstenW74186.2121.023186RheniumRe75190.2322.613033OsmiumOs76192.2222.652466IridiumIr77195.0821.091768.3PlatinumPt78196.9719.301064.2GoldAu79200.5913.55-38.83MercuryHg80204.3811.85304ThalliumTl81207.211.34327.5LeadPb82208.989.78271.3BismuthBi83[209]9.20254PoloniumPo84[210]302AstatineAt85[222]9.73-61.85RadonRn86[262]1627LawrenciumLr103[265]RutherfordiumRf104[268]DubniumDb105[271]SeaborgiumSg106[272]BohriumBh107[270]HassiumHs108[276]MeitneriumMt109[281]DarmstadtiumDs110[280]RoentgeniumRg111[285]CoperniciumCn112[289]UnunquadiumUuq114Solids&Liquids (g/cm3)Gases(g/l)Meltingpoint(Solids&Liquids)Boilingpoint(Gases)Standard Catalogue ItemsElement NameSymbolAtomicweightDensityM.pt./ B.pt.(C)AtomicNo.advent-rm.com Advent Research Materi al s Ltd Oxford Engl and OX29 4JAADVENT[284]UnuntriumUut113[288]UnunpentiumUup115[293]UnunhexiumUuh1162010Data






www.webelements.comTel + 44 1865 884440Fax + 44 1865 [email protected][]UnunseptiumUus117[294]UnunoctiumUuo11883442PTA5201023/04/201012:29Page1System integration and competence in vacuum technology complement themselves with piezo technology and nanopositioning: As part of the PI group, PI miCos creates new solutions for precision positioning. In this way, an extended product portfolio and a tighter international sales network are created. A common goal: Enthusiastic customers. Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KGAuf der Rmerstr. 1 76228 KarlsruheTel. +49 (721) 4846-0 Fax +49 (721) [email protected] www.pi.wsPI miCos GmbHFreiburger Str. 30 79427 Eschbach Tel. +49 (7634) 5057-0 Fax +49 (7634) [email protected] www.pimicos.comA big playerI N T HE WORL D OF T HE VERY SMAL LWWW. P I MI C O S . C O Mpi_120082_PI_MICOS_193x125_en.indd 1 16.02.12 09:06News & Analysis physi csworl d.com13 Physi cs Worl d March 2012So what is the Deep Carbon Observatory?The Deep Carbon Observatory(DCO) is a 10-year international pro-gramme, which began in 2009, with theobject of achieving a transformationalunderstanding of carbon that is, itsbiological, chemical and physical rolein the Earth, from crust to core. TheDCO is co-ordinated from the Car-negie Institution in Washington, DC,where I am based, consisting of about1000 researchers in 40 countries.How did you get funding from the AlfredSloan Foundation for this programme?The Alfred Sloan Foundation is aphilanthropic, not-for-profit institu-tion. It had just finished the census formarine life, attempting to classify allocean life, and so was looking for anew 10-year project. One of its pro-gramme officers heard me talk aboutthe origins of life at a conference andasked me about the possibility ofSloan sponsoring a study looking intowhether life originated deep withinthe Earth rather than at its surface.So you went ahead with that suggestion?I thought that topic alone was too nar-row to support a large effort, althoughit is a very important question. How-ever, I thought about doing a study ofhow carbon operates within ourplanet. I wrote a proposal that wasaccepted by an external committee setup by the Alfred Sloan Foundation.How much funding will the DCO receivefrom the foundation?Our approach is that researcherscome to us with ideas and then wehelp to set up collaborations to tacklethe issues. There is no set amount, butwe expect to fund research to the tuneof about $5m per year. We do not seeourselves as a $50m research agencybut rather as using Sloan funds toleverage much bigger things. In orderto get going fast, we initially providedseed funding for 3040 projects withabout 200 researchers. The nextaspect is to get researchers to thinkabout setting up much bigger andlonger-term research programmes.Why carbon?Carbon is an astonishing element.Because it has the widest range ofbonding environments, it forms mat-erials with the most extreme range ofproperties, from the hardest dia-mond to the softest graphite.Carbon forms biological materials, soit is the molecule of life. As we know,it also has tremendous implicationsfor the environment. And yet we donot even have a clear idea how muchcarbon there is in the Earth.Why is it called the Deep CarbonObservatory?We wanted to make it clear that weare not looking at climate issues,ocean carbon or carbon sequestra-tion. We are studying carbon from afew metres under the ground to thou-sands of kilometres inside the Earth.The carbon cycle has been intenselystudied over the last few decades butthe part of the cycle that lies beneaththe surface has been largely ignored.What are some issues you are tackling?A fundamental part of the carboncycle is tied up with volcanoes.Subduction in the Earths tectonicplates takes carbon down into themantle and it is very easy to calculatehow much is going down. It is alsoeasy to monitor the amount of carboncoming out via volcanoes. However,there is a vast imbalance between thetwo, with the carbon emitted fromvolcanoes being only around 5% ofthat being subducted. So within a fewhundred million years, all of theEarths surface carbon would disap-pear and there would be no carbon forlife. One very important issue thatneeds answering is whether carbondiffuses out slowly and steadilythrough the crust or whether theremay be periods when lots of carbon isreleased more rapidly.How will you look for the origins of life?Another question we are looking at isthe nature of deep hydrocarbons. Weknow that most petroleum comesfrom the processing of dead biologi-cal matter, but there are suggestionsof deep reserves of methane or hydro-carbons that may not be entirely bio-logical in nature but formed by otherprocesses. This idea was first pro-posed 150 years ago by Dmitri Men-deleev, creator of the first version ofthe periodic table. It may not be valid,but we need to do experiments to findout whether this is case. That thenleads to the origin of life. Where didthe first abiological molecules comefrom to form the first living cells? Westill do not know the mechanisms thatformed these biological molecules.Will the DCO have a role in the climate-change debate?When you study this subject from afundamental viewpoint, it has prac-tical implications for bigger ques-tions such as climate change, carbonsequestration and fracking. The kindof discoveries we hope to make willinform some of those questions. Wedont want to get directly involved inthose debates, but rather provide theground truth that people can thenuse to form policy.What do you hope to achieve after the10 years are up?We have a number of very ambitiousgoals. One is to provide real-timetracking of every active volcano onthe planet, including its emissions andseismology. We also want a carry out aglobal census of so-called deep fluids fluids that lie hundreds of metresbelow the Earths surface as well asa census of deep microbial life to discover the 3D distribution andnature of microbial life within theEarths crust.Asking the big questionsThe 10-year DeepCarbon Observatoryprogramme, led byRobert Hazen, willattempt to fullyunderstand how theEarth uses carbon.We do not evenhave a clearidea how muchcarbon there isin the EarthA new 10-year project funded by the Alfred Sloan Foundation aims tounderstand how carbon interacts deep within the Earth, and may evenanswer how life started out. Michael Banks talks to Robert Hazen, director of the Deep Carbon ObservatoryQ&AUnderstanding the element of lifeEvan CantrellPhysi cs Worl d March 2012News & Analysis physi csworl d.com14Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, isby any measure controversial. Theprocess which involves pumpingsand and liquid into deep shaledeposits to liberate natural gas hasbeen touted by its proponents as anenergy saviour. For them, frackingallows energy companies to tap intoreserves that are otherwise difficult, ifnot impossible, to get gas from. Yetthe process has been slammed byopponents as being hugely damagingto the environment.While fracking has taken off rapidlyin the US, it has been banned inFrance and Bulgaria. Unfortunately,this polarized debate about frackingis not helped by a shortage of facts.No-one is sure to what extent frackingcan contaminate groundwater, eitherwith methane or with toxic chemicals.There is also a concern that frackingcan trigger moderate earthquakes.While there may be no hard-and-fastanswers, it seems that geophysics maybe able to prod the debate in a constructive direction.Without geophysics, of course,fracking would not be possible at all.Shale is a fine, clay-based sedimentaryrock that has low permeability, so itwill not release its gas into a well eas-ily. To get at the gas, therefore, energycompanies have to display their engi-neering prowess by drilling wells15003000m deep into a shale depositand then running a perforated steelpipe horizontally. Millions of litres ofwater are pumped into the pipe,together with sand and chemicals, athigh pressure. The mixture bursts outof the holes in the pipe, creating frac-tures in the shale around it. Over time,natural gas, which is primarilymethane, can then flow from the shaleinto the pipe and back to the surface,where it can be extracted.Fracking in this modern form which can use hundreds of thousandsof litres of fluid per well began inTexas in the mid-1990s, although itonly really took off in 2007 when otherUS states such as Arkansas, Louisianaand Pennsylvania also became sitesfor drilling. The reason for this strongUS interest is that some parts of thecountry appear to be sitting on mas-sive shale-gas reserves roughly2.4 trillion m3, according to the USGeological Survey, which is one of themore modest estimates. Colorado-based business-information companyHIS, for example, puts the figure atabout 42 trillionm3.The US is not, though, the onlynation with large deposits. UK energyfirm Cuadrilla Resources estimatesaround 5.6 trillion m3of shale-gasreserves in the UK. Hardly surprising,then, that a report last year from theInternational Energy Agency sug-gested the world might be en route toa golden age of gas.Halting the gold rushIn his State of the Union address inJanuary, US President Barack Obamaembraced shale gas, saying that USreserves could last nearly 100 years.Obama called for governments todevelop a roadmap for responsibleshale-gas production and said hisadministration would move forwardwith common sense new rules tomake sure drillers protect the public.America will develop this resourcewithout putting the health and safetyof our citizens at risk, he said.Environmental campaigners, how-ever, are not letting this route gounobstructed. One problem they high-light is the suspected contaminationof groundwater around drilling sites.Last year, ecologist Robert Jacksonand colleagues at Duke University inNorth Carolina published evidencethat aquifers in north-east Penn-sylvania and upstate New York hadbeen contaminated with methane,which can be explosive in high con-centrations (Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA108 8172). That risk had already beenhighlighted the year before in the do-cumentary film Gasland, directed bythe US environmental campaignerJosh Fox, which pictured families inDimock, Pennsylvania, igniting theirtap water, allegedly thanks to methanecontamination as a result of nearbygas drilling.A more serious potential problemis contamination with fracking chem-icals, which include surfactants short-chain organic molecules thatlower the surface tension of a liquid orthe interfacial tension between twoliquids or a liquid and a solid as wellas chemical compounds that act asfriction reducers. Most of these arethought to be relatively benign, butsome may be toxic. Indeed, the precisefracking mixture is often kept secretby the energy companies involved.While it is unlikely that such liquidscould seep up from fracture zones toground level, there is the possibilitythat they could contaminate watersources via surface spills or poor dis-posal. There is no peer-reviewed evi-dence of this, but a 1987 report by the US Environmental ProtectionAgency, which was brought to lightonly last year by the New York Times,revealed at least one documentedinstance of fracking-fluid contami-nation of drinking water. It occurredin 1984 in Jackson County, WestVirginia, albeit at a time when therewas poorer technology and fewer environmental safeguards.Anthony Gorody, a consultant atUniversal Geoscience Consulting inHouston, Texas, believes such reportsof contamination are based on poorscience, and that the issues havebecome less scientific and more polit-ical. In my experience, I have neitherfound nor seen any evidence to sup-port the contention that hydraulicfracturing is responsible for contami-nating shallow groundwater, he says.But if the issues are mostly political,then both sides might be to blame.Its a cavalier and frankly idiotic atti-tude thats causing [energy] compa-nies all these problems, says SteveCohen, an expert in environmentalpolicy at Columbia University in NewYork. Theyre acting as if its the goldSettling the fracking questionEnergy firms have not convinced sceptics that shale-gas extraction, orfracking, is safe for the environment. Jon Cartwright examines whether physics could helpHeadingundergroundThe InternationalEnergy Agencysuggests the worldmight be en route toa golden age of gasthanks to theemergence ofhydraulic fracturing,or fracking a rigfor which is picturedhere in Colorado.iStockphoto.com/jonmullenPhysi cs Worl d March 2012News & Analysis physi csworl d.com15rush lets just get out there and startdigging. And that sort of attitudebreeds mistrust.Shaky groundGeophysics, and specifically seismol-ogy the study of earthquakes maybe one way to help matters. In fact,seismology has long been used by oiland gas companies as a means to see underground. Typically, surfacesources of seismic energy, such asdynamite, are used to create minorearthquakes. Then seismologists canmeasure the subsequent seismic wavesto map underground geology and frac-tures in three dimensions, just as radaris used to map overground terrain.New techniques in seismology aremaking this type of mapping bothmore adaptable and more precise,which may make fracking safer.Rather than using explosions to createearthquakes, seismologists can nowmonitor the tiny man-made earth-quakes, or microseisms, that occurduring the fracking process, as rocksfracture and move around. The energyreleased in these microseisms is rela-tively small think of dropping a bagof sugar from a three storey house but using arrays of geophones inadjacent wells, seismologists can justabout detect them. This could allowengineers to observe the fracking inreal time to see how it is progressingand stop if anything looks suspect.The industry is getting close to usingsuch data to modify fracture propaga-tion rates in real time, says Gorody.Quite a feat, but not possible yet.Another nascent technique in seis-mology avoids the need for man-made earthquakes altogether. Knownas seismic interferometry, it reliesmerely on the background noise ofseismic waves that is ever present inthe Earths crust to map the geologyunderground. If you go into a darkroom, you need a torch to see some-thing, says Peter Styles, a geophysi-cist at Keele University in the UK.But when theres already sunlight,you dont need the torch.Last year, seismologist BrianBaptie of the British GeologicalSurvey and colleagues showed thatseismic interferometry could be usedpick out major geological features inthe Scottish Highlands, such as sedi-mentary basins and centres of igneousand metamorphic rock therebydemonstrating some potential of thetechnique (Proc. Geol. Assoc. 123 74).Styles believes studies like this showthat seismic interferometry andmicroseismic mapping could help sci-entists assess where the safest placesare to frack in the first place.Earthquakes are one of the greatestconcerns about fracking. In April andMay last year, for example, two frack-ing-related quakes of magnitude 2.3and 1.4 hit Lancashire in the UK.Those magnitudes were not especiallyhigh magnitude-3.1 quakes resultingfrom coal mining had hit the region inthe past but they were strong enoughfor protestors to mobilize against thedrilling and persuade the energy com-pany performing the fracking, Cuad-rilla Resources, to stop operations.According to Styles, these earth-quakes probably occurred becausethe fracking was done on pre-existingfaults. Gaining a more precise knowl-edge of the underlying geology couldreveal these faults beforehand, hesays, encouraging energy companiesto frack elsewhere. Nonetheless, hestresses that Its important to realizethat without very small earthquakes,we would have no idea what was goingon underground when we are carryingout things like fracking.Climate concerns?The potential for any earthquakescaused by fracking may worry somepeople, but they might find solace ina recent unpublished analysis thatshows it could be possible to predictthe size of earthquakes caused byfracking (although not the timing orlikelihood of their occurring). Bystudying previous cases of quakes trig-gered by fluid injection into theground, geophysicist Arthur McGarrof the University of the Witwaters-rand in Johannesburg, South Africa,found that there is a relationshipbetween the magnitude of a quakeand the amount of water injected.Double the volume of water, he con-cludes, and the maximum magnitudequake rises by about 0.4 on theRichter scale.So could geophysics help scientistsbetter understand the risks of con-tamination of groundwater by frack-ing? It may be too soon to tell.However, ecologist Bob Howarth ofCornell University in New Yorkthinks it might be a good time forphysicists to begin investigating arelated issue: the amount of methaneleaked into the atmosphere fromfracking sites and gas pipes. Methaneis a more potent greenhouse gas thancarbon dioxide, so it is important toknow exactly how much is lost. Theway to [estimate leaked methane] isusing modern atmospheric tech-niques, Howarth says. I think youcould come up with a pretty good esti-mate of what the flux might be.According to Howarth, physicistscould both help to design measure-ment techniques to calculate the fluxfrom the fracking process and useatmospheric techniques such as eddycorrelation, which uses measure-ments of methane and wind velocityto figure out how much methane findsits way into the upper atmosphere.Indeed, Howarth has reason to thinkthis is an important issue: last monthresearchers at the US NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Adminis-tration and the University of Colo-rado, Boulder, estimated thatnatural-gas companies in the DenverJulesburg Basin, which is centred oneastern Colorado, were losing around4% of their gas to the atmosphere.Indeed, Howarths research sug-gests that, over a 20-year time period,the greenhouse-gas footprint thetotal amount of emissions from frack-ing of shale gas is worse than that ofcoal or oil, although other studieshave suggested it has a smaller foot-print. In any case, he says, the scienceis unresolved, and depends on howmuch methane finds its way into theatmosphere. That sort of [atmos-pheric physics] approach could givethe information that is needed to say,Were way too pessimistic and itsnowhere near that big a problem, or,Were too optimistic, and its worsethan we thought. Without verysmallearthquakes,we would haveno idea whatwas going onundergroundwhen we arefrackingNanda Nalin/Demotix/CorbisUp in armsEnvironmental campaigners suchas those in the FrackMob at an industrygreenwashconference in Londonin November 2011 warn there are many problems with fracking, includingthe possible contamination ofgroundwater arounddrilling sites.Helium Recovery System for Portable Liquid Helium Plant113 Falso Drive, Syracuse, New York, 13211 USA Ph. 315-455-2555 Fax. 315-455-2544www.cryomech.com [email protected] HELIUM PLANT(LHeP)SUPPLY He > 99.99%HELIUM PURIFIERLN2 TRAPFROM USERCRYOSTATHELIUM STORAGEGAS CYLINDER COMPRESSORPACKAGEGAS [email protected] 1 atmCOMPLETE SYSTEM NOW AVAILABLE from CryomechUntitled-5 1 22/10/08 15:47:18CommentThis special issue of Physics World looks at how physics is helping us to understand theEarth, while our website physicsworld.comhosts an accompanying series of video reportsThe devastation unleashed a year ago this month by an earthquake off the eastcoast of Japan was a reminder, if any were needed, of the deadly power of ourplanet. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake, which was one of the strongest of the mod-ern age, triggered a huge tsunami that rose to more than 40m in places and spreadup to 10km inland. Together, the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15000people, with the rising waters doing the most damage, including crippling theFukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.One year on from the Japanese disaster, it is natural that this special issue ofPhysics World on Physics and the Earth should include a look at the latestadvances in earthquake forecasting. While we are unlikely to ever be able to predictprecisely when, where and with what magnitude particular earthquakes will strike,much can be gained from short-term probabilisticforecasting, which can give the odds that an earth-quake above a certain size will occur within a givenarea and time (see pp5863). The virtues of this kindof prediction are also underlined in a series of specialvideo reports that you can watch at physicsworld.com.Ultimately, the best bet for combating the power ofearthquakes is to ensure that buildings are as struc-turally sound as possible. Indeed, the FukushimaDaiichi plant safely survived last years earthquake;as Mike Weightman the UKs chief inspector of nuclear installations points out(pp1920), what caused the problems was insufcient ood protection. While theplants tsunami defences had recently been increased to cope with a 5.7 m hightsunami, the waves that engulfed it were nearly three times that height. Those wavessubsequently spread right across the Pacic Ocean, vividly depicted in the open-ing image of our Earth-visualization feature (pp3035).On a calmer note, this special issue also describes how neutrinos generatedthrough the decay of uranium, thorium and potassium deep within the Earth aregiving us a new technique for understanding our planet (pp4448). Detecting suchgeoneutrinos is a endish task, but two experiments have already managed todo so, in the process revealing new insights into how much heat is generated fromradioactive decay. This heat powers many vital processes on Earth, notably mantleconvection and plate tectonics. Interestingly, some researchers even think that themovement of the Earths plates could be linked to one of the long-standing mys-teries in geosciences why our planets magnetic eld has reversed at a rate thathas risen and fallen over the years (pp5155).Elsewhere, we look at progress in understanding the physical properties of mat-erials in the Earths core, which includes the bizarre possibility that it may hidehuge crystals of iron some 10km long (pp3741). We also tackle the controversyover fracking (pp1415), which involves pumping sand and chemicals into shaledeposits to release trapped natural gas, and we speak to the head of a project thatseeks to understand what happens to carbon that gets subducted into the Earthscrust (p13). And nally, if you enjoyed the images in this issue, why not share yourown pictures in the new Physics World photo challenge group on Flickr, whichthis month is dedicated to Earth sciences (see p27).The contents of this magazine, including the views expressed above, are the responsibility of the Editor. They do not represent the views or policies of the Institute of Physics, except where explicitly stated.Physics WorldTemple Circus, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6BE, UKTel: +44 (0)117 929 7481E-mail: [email protected]: physicsworld.comEditor Matin DurraniAssociate Editor Dens MilneNews Editor Michael BanksReviews and Careers Editor Margaret HarrisFeatures Editor Louise MayorProduction Editor Kate GardnerWeb Editor Hamish JohnstonMultimedia Projects Editor James DaceyWeb Reporter Tushna CommissariatPublisher Susan CurtisMarketing and circulation Gemma BaileyDisplay Advertisement Sales Edward JostRecruitment Advertisement Sales Chris ThomasAdvertisement Production Mark TrimnellDiagram Artist Alison ToveyHead of B2B and Marketing Jo AllenArt Director Andrew GiaquintoSubscription information 2012 volumeThe subscription rate for institutions is 330 per annum for themagazine, 625 per annum for the archive. Single issues are 30.Orders to: IOP Circulation Centre, CDS Global, Tower House, Lathkill Street, Sovereign Park, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 9EF, UK (tel: +44 (0)845 4561511; fax: +44 (0)1858 438428; e-mail: [email protected]).Physics World is available on an individual basis, worldwide,through membership of the Institute of PhysicsCopyright 2012 by IOP Publishing Ltd and individualcontributors. All rights reserved. IOP Publishing Ltd permits singlephotocopying of single articles for private study or research,irrespective of where the copying is done. Multiple copying ofcontents or parts thereof without permission is in breach ofcopyright, except in the UK under the terms of the agreementbetween the CVCP and the CLA. Authorization of photocopy itemsfor internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use ofspecific clients, is granted by IOP Publishing Ltd for libraries andother users registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)Transactional Reporting Service, provided that the base fee of$2.50 per copy is paid directly to CCC, 27 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970, USABibliographic codes ISSN: 0953-8585 CODEN: PHWOEWPrinted in the UK by Warners (Midlands) plc, The Maltings, West Street, Bourne, Lincolnshire PE10 9PHThe Institute of Physics 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT, UKTel: +44 (0)20 7470 4800Fax: +44 (0)20 7470 4848E-mail: [email protected]: www.iop.orgOnline Media Awards 2011: Best Specialist Site for JournalismSIPA UK Awards 2011: Best Editorial and Marketing CollaborationOur planet in perspectiveESAphysi csworl d.com17 Physi cs Worl d March 2012Details at http://drama.iop.org 1113 September 2012Royal Dublin Society, IrelandOrganised by the IOP Instrument Science and Technology GroupThis conference brings together leading international researchers in the area of liquid drop analysis, science and technology, including microfludics, as well as providing a showcase for exhibitors. Conference themes Commercialisation, microfluidics analysis/workshopDrop scienceDrop spectroscopy Fundamental aspects of droplet microfluidics Instrumentation for small volume microvolume sample handling and microfluidicsMicrochannel integrated optics devicesNanotechnology-enabled sensing Optical metrology, imaging and quantitative measurementStandards for microvolume scienceSurface science ISTA Schools competition entitled Drops and NatureShort courses Exhibition of product manufacturers, publishers and companies looking to recruit science graduatesPublic lecturePlenary speakers Robert Forster, Dublin City University, Ireland Reinhard Miller, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany Charles Robertson, Nanodrop Corporation, USAPublic lecturer Terri Odom, Northwestern University, USAKey datesAbstract submission deadline 20 May 2012Notification of acceptance 18 June 2012Early registration deadline 3 July 2012Registration deadline 31 August 2012EnquiriesConferences department,Institute of Physics,76 Portland Place,London W1B 1NT, UKTel +44 (0)20 7470 4840E-mail [email protected] 1 20/02/2012 08:5419physi csworl d.com Comment: ForumPhysi cs Worl d March 2012At 2.46 p.m. local time on 11 March 2011 thebiggest earthquake recorded in Japanoccurred off the countrys east coast. Themagnitude-9 earthquake was one of half adozen earthquakes greater than magnitude 7to occur on that day. Within an hour, the rstof a series of massive tsunamis hit thatcaused catastrophic damage and loss of lifeacross Japan. The tsunami also led to a seri-ous nuclear accident at the TEPCO Fuku-shima Daiichi site, with repercussions feltacross the international community.As time went on, the number of dead fromthe earthquake and tsunami started to rise:nal estimates suggest 20000 people died orare missing. More than 100000 homes weredamaged or destroyed, with whole villagesand towns swept away. The disaster is on ascale that we can only imagine here in theUK. Even for Japan, which experiences highseismic activity, it was unimaginable.In the UK, the Office for NuclearRegulation (ONR) responded by setting upthe Redgrave Court incident suite to provideexpert advice for the UK government on theimplications for the 17 000 UK citizens inJapan. We also required all of our licensednuclear sites to promptly answer questionsand justify the ongoing safety of their opera-tions. For more than two weeks we operatedour incident suite and provided advice to theCabinet Office Briefing Room the UKscrisis response committee and to JohnBeddington, the UK governments chief sci-entic adviser. After this, as requested by thesecretary of state for energy and climatechange, we set about producing an interimreport on the implications for the UKnuclear industry.Getting back on trackAt about the same time, it was with greathonour and no little humility that I acceptedan invitation from the International AtomicEnergy Agency (IAEA) to lead a team ofnuclear experts from around the world on afact-nding mission to Japan from 24 May to1 June 2011.The earthquake and tsunami particularlyaffected the five nuclear plants along theJapanese east coast. My IAEA team visitedthree of them: Tokai, Fukushima Daiichi andFukushima Daini. At all these sites I encoun-tered tales of bravery, leadership andresilience. Workers at the Daini site laid 9kmof heavy power cabling by hand in 16 hoursto ensure initial safety systems worked tocool and control the reactors, while those atthe stricken Daiichi plant had to resort tonovel means, using what they had to hand inattempts to secure cooling of the reactor.I was particularly impressed by the com-mitment of the several-hundred-strongworkforce at the Daiichi site, who all stayedon for days after the tsunami struck, despitenot knowing whether it had affected their vil-lages and put their families at great risk. Thistype of uncompromising loyalty and deter-mination is commonplace in Japan; it is tes-tament to the countrys spirit that its peopleapproached the disaster with characteristicstoicism, discipline and organization. Every-one I encountered was willing to help withtotal openness and transparency.Looking back, the visit achieved its aim toidentify lessons from which the whole worldcan learn. Ultimately, it appears that theJapanese authorities underestimated thehazard presented by the tsunami. This wasdespite adequately estimating the hazardpresented by the earthquake.The magnitude-9 earthquake causedsevere ground motions that lasted for sev-eral minutes at the Daiichi plant. The meas-ured motions reasonably matched thepredictions of the designers of the seismicprotection measures. Upon detection ofthese ground motions, the safety systems atDaiichi shut down the reactors and startedthe back-up systems. All the evidence I haveseen, including the evidence at the otherJapanese nuclear power plants that wit-nessed similar ground motions, supports theview that the Daiichi plant safely survivedthis massive earthquake.However, the flood protection measuresat the Daiichi plant were originally designedto withstand a 3.1 m high tsunami, whereasthe largest wave that crashed into the site inMarch inundated it to around 15m. A reviewin 2002 by the operators of the Daiichi plantdid result in increases to the tsunamidefences to enable it to better survive a 5.7mhigh tsunami. This improvement still provedLessons from FukushimaOne year on from an earthquakeand subsequent tsunami thatcrippled the Fukushima Daiichinuclear power plant in Japan,Mike Weightman says that thequest to improve nuclear safetymust never stop You can never be too careful A man is checked for radiation on arrival at a vehicle-decontamination centre at J-Village in November 2011. This site serves as an operations centre for those battling the nuclear incident inJapans Fukushima prefecture.REUTERS/POOL NewAll the evidencesupports the viewthat the Daiichi plantsafely survived themassive earthquakeComment: Forum physi csworl d.comPhysi cs Worl d March 2012 20to be inadequate, especially considering thehistory of tsunamis along that coast over thepast century.Lessons learnedThe IAEA team presented a summaryreport to the Japanese Government on1 June and, later that month, presented itsfull report to a ministerial meeting inVienna, at which the world communitysought to learn lessons from Fukushima. Inresponse to a request from the secretary ofstate, I have produced two reports (with mas-sive help from colleagues in the ONR andelsewhere) on lessons for the UK nuclearindustry an interim report in mid-May anda nal report in September 2011.My nal report reafrmed the conclusionsand recommendations in my interim reportand added to them, resulting in 17 conclu-sions and 38 recommendations in total.Overall, I remain condent that there are