Secretary Chu Unveils The Most Powerful X-Ray Laser

Posted on August 18th, 2010 by

The world’s first and most powerful x-ray laser introduced, how much oil is still polluting the Gulf of Mexico, and the Zero Race begins in Geneva.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu yesterday participated in a dedication for the launch of the world’s  first and most powerful X-ray laser. Called the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the laser produces pulses of X-rays more than a billion times brighter than the most powerful existing sources. The ultrafast X-ray pulses act a lot like high-speed strobe light, with the flashes allowing the scientists to take stop-motion pictures of atoms and molecules in motion, shedding light on the fundamental processes of chemistry, technology, and life itself. The Department of Energy is excited about the launch of the laser because they hope that it will help the discover better sources for energy. More than $420 million was spent on the project, $53.6 million of which came from American Recovery Act Funding.

A new study conducted by the Gulf Coast Fund finds that more than 53 million gallons of oil are still polluting the Gulf of Mexico. The study found that much of the oil is located off the shores in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Gulf fishermen met with President Obama while he was vacationing in Panama City Beach this past weekend to suggest that tests be conducted on the seafood before allowing the fisherman to fish in the fishing areas.

The first ever Zero Race began yesterday in Geneva Switzerland. The race, which only allows electric cars to enter, has 4 teams who will follow a course that’s more than 18,650 miles long that takes them all over the world in 80 days. Contestants will pass through Berlin, Moscow, Shanghai, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Austin, and Mexico City before finishing in Cancun, Mexico, just in time for the UN climate conference in November. Each team’s car must include two passengers and drive at least 155 miles at an average speed of at least 50 mph. The purpose of the race is to raise awareness for a more sustainable future.

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