Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Building the world's most powerful laser

Filed under
Sci/Tech

Ed Moses talks of the "grand challenge" that has consumed him for the past five years, comparing it to trying to hit the strike zone with a baseball from 350 miles (563 kilometers) away or tossing a dime into a parking meter from 40 miles (64 kilometers) away.

"That's the precision we have to have," says Moses, the director of a high-energy physics adventure to produce the world's most powerful laser -- one that scientists hope will create in a laboratory the type of energy found at the center of the sun.

In a building the size of a football stadium, engineers have assembled the framework for a network of 192 laser beams, each traveling 1,000 feet (305 meters) to converge simultaneously on a target the size of a pencil eraser.

The trip will take one-thousandth of a second during which the light's energy is amplified many billions of times to create a brief laser pulse 1,000 times the electric generating power of the United States.

The goal is to create unimaginable heat -- 180 million degrees Fahrenheit (82 million Celsius) -- and intense pressure from all directions on a BB-size hydrogen fuel pellet, compressing it to one-thirtieth of its size.

The result, the scientists hope, will be a fusing of atoms so that more energy is released than is generated by the laser beams, something scientists call fusion ignition. It is what happens when a hydrogen bomb explodes.

The government is investing $3.5 billion, and possibly several billion dollars more, in NIF for another reason: national security.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

digiKam 5.2.0 is published...

After a second release 5.1.0 published one month ago, the digiKam team is proud to announce the new release 5.2.0 of digiKam Software Collection. This version introduces a new bugs triage and some fixes following new feedback from end-users. This release introduce also a new red eyes tool which automatize the red-eyes effect reduction process. Faces detection is processed on whole image and a new algorithm written by a Google Summer of Code 2016 student named Omar Amin is dedicated to recognize shapes and try to found eyes with direct flash reflection on retina. Read more

Games for GNU/Linux

Linux Graphics

Libreboot Drama Continues, GNU Might Keep The Project

It's been one week since the Libreboot downstream of Coreboot announced it would leave the GNU and denounced the FSF over supposedly a transgendered individual having been fired by the this free software group. Both Richard Stallman and the FSF denounced these claims made by Libreboot maintainer Leah Rowe. Since then, no actual proof has been presented to back up these claims by the Libreboot maintainer but the drama around it has seemingly continued. Waking up this morning, I received an email as part of a long email chain from Leah Rowe about how the "GNU project refuses to let go of libreboot" and she wrote, "GNU project has told me that they will not allow libreboot to leave GNU. This is quite possibly the biggest insult imaginable, considering what has happened." Read more