Radiation To Be Directly Converted Into Electricity By Nanomaterials

November 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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More and more from less and less seems to be the watchword of the energy hunters among scientists. They literally try to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Discarding voluminous steam and turbines US and Russian researchers adoptedĀ  thermoelectric materials that convert heat into electricity through nuclear fission to power spacecrafts. But thermoelectric materials have very low efficiency. Now US researchers say they have developed highly efficient materials that can convert the radiation, not heat, from nuclear materials and reactions directly into electricity.

Liviu Popa-Simil, former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear engineer and founder of private research and development company LAVM and Claudiu Muntele, of Alabama A&M University, US, say transforming the energy of radioactive particles into electricity is more effective.The materials they are testing would extract up to 20 times more power from radioactive decay than thermoelectric materials, they calculate. Layered tiles of carbon nanotubes packed with gold and surrounded by lithium hydride are the materials they test which suggest such promise. Devices based on these materials could be small enough to power anything from interplanetary probes to aircraft and land vehicles


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The 38th Olimpiad at Dresden

November 14, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Winter time in Dresden.

Winter time in Dresden

Ramesh Balasubramanian, an international in chess, airs his thoughts on the 38th Olimpiad at Dresden, Germany, which just commenced.:

38th Olympiad begins at Dresden, Germany today, with significant rule changes.

  • The number of rounds has been reduced from 13 to 11
  • The number of reserves on each team has been reduced from two to one
  • It will be scored by match points instead of game points
  • The third point is the most significant change. Olympiad match and game point statistics are available for the last 6 Olympiads here. In five of the last six Olympiads the medal standings would have been different when scored by match points. Germany, for instance, would have finished 3rd instead of 6th in 1998 – pretty significant, I would say. This rule clearly levels the playing field for teams with breadth (strong players on upper boards), by reducing the advantage of teams with depth (strong players even on lower boards) since a 2.5-1.5 win is as good as a 4-0 rout. Reduction in the number of rounds should also favor breadth over depth as higher rated player(s) in a team can play more games, as there are fewer overall matches to play. Allowing only one reserve player can favor teams with depth – in case of loss of form of one player, that team will still have four strong players to field.

    Last European Team Championship had similar rules and 10th ranked Poland, with four players in 2600-2650 and one in 2500s , finished 4th – one place above a much stronger 2nd ranked Ukraine. That said, powerhouses like Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and China should do well, this time too. But the change of rules has made this more exciting and should increase the medal prospects of US. Indian media has assumed this will favor India. Indians have a point to prove after the disaster at Turin.

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