Did Someone Say Synchrotron Light Source?

Today, I leapt from my comfort zone. Physics Central is a blog with a nifty little podcast accompanying the articles on it. Guess what they talk about.

Perhaps it was the cleanliness of the package, or maybe it was the latent scientist in me cheering from the back row of my brain, but I was completely engaged. Note: I failed two semesters of Physics in high school.

Even after I researched the topic at length, I was still confused as to what synchrotron light (the episode’s focus) was. Still am. And that’s a good thing. One can only consume so much aural confection before needing a Brussels sprout.

From what I gathered, synchrotron light sources are what make sub-atomic analysis possible. You get it when you accelerate electrons to just shy of the speed of light. Do I smell time-travel implications? No, unfortunately I don’t. Just really cool, powerful microscopes.

Countries that have synchrotron light sources, tend to have attained “developed” status. That’s really what the cast was about. China got one in 2009. And it seems Jordan is well on their way to building one. It’s a marker for what a country is capable of in industry and science. So what’s next for synchotron light sources you ask? No idea. I guess I’m just proud of myself for committing to this nine-minute mental sprint.

Take a listen. You’ll feel smarter.

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