First, they built a two-kilometer long tube in California.
Then they built the ultimate death ray in it - you know, Star Wars and all that - an X-ray laser.
Then, just for fun, they smashed things up!
|Credit: Gregory M. Stewart/SLAC|
First, they fired it at a piece of aluminum, reducing it to a spot of plasma hotter than the center of a star. Unhinged, but, I concede, fun.
But now here comes the totally bonkeroony bit. They put a tiny protein molecule at the end of the gun, generated a huge pulse of X-rays, and blew it to smithereens! (Guffaws, rolling about on the floor laughing, pointing fingers). What these deluded loons thought was, that in the teeny-weeny bit of time time after the pulse hit and before the delicate little biological molecule vaporized into eternity, the X-rays would scatter off it and form an image of the protein. Then, they could use the structure to understand biology, design new medicines etc. Totally Tonto, I tell you!
Thing is - looks like it might be working........