Monday, June 23, 2014

Insane Science

So I was on a team judging some insane science last week. Here's what these crazy nut cases  did.

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........

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