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Benchmarks: May 29, 1919: Solar eclipse "proves" relativity

By Nate Burgess

On May 29, 1919, the moon’s silhouette crept slowly over the sun, bringing premature night to observers in a broad swath of the Southern Hemisphere between South America and Africa. Few onlookers realized that this event would provide the first successful test of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

01 Jun 2009

Down to Earth With: Marc Kuchner

Marc Kuchner likes to joke that when he feels sociable at a party, he tells fellow guests that he is an astronomer. But when he wants to be left alone, he says, he tells them he is an astrophysicist. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Kuchner spends his time thinking about planets outside the solar system and looking for ways to better see them — and he’s devoted some of his time to working on the Terrestrial Planet Finder, a proposed NASA mission to look for and image Earth-like exoplanets. For his work on improving the detection and understanding of exoplanets, SPIE, an international society that advances light-based research, awarded him the group’s Early Career Achievement Award earlier this year.

23 May 2009

Energy Notes: January 2008-2009

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
20 May 2009

Mineral Resource of the Month: Thorium

Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive element usually found with other minerals, such as monazite in alkalic igneous deposits and carbonatites. 

 
14 May 2009

Benchmarks: April 26, 1986: Nuclear explosion at Chernobyl

By Carolyn Gramling

A rusting Ferris wheel dominates the skyline of Prypiat, Ukraine’s ghost town. A few kilometers away, within a massive concrete structure called the Sarcophagus, are the remnants of the worst nuclear disaster in history: the ruins of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor number four — and about 200 tons of highly radioactive material.

24 Apr 2009

Down to Earth With: Michael Novacek

When it comes to fossil hunting, Michael Novacek has just about seen it all. As a paleontologist, senior vice president and provost of science at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Novacek has braved everything from Andean snowstorms to Yemeni bandits in his quest for fossils. Somewhere, he found time to write two books about his expeditions: “Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs” (1996) and “Time Traveler” (2002). Novacek recently chatted with EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson about his experiences.

23 Apr 2009

Mineral Resource of the Month: Bromine

Bromine, a naturally occurring element, is comparatively rare in Earth’s crust, but is found as a dissolved species in seawater, saltwater lakes and underground brines associated with petroleum deposits. Seawater contains about 65 parts per million of bromine — or an estimated 100 trillion tons, whereas the highly salty Dead Sea is estimated to contain 1 billion tons of bromine. Bromine is also recovered from seawater as a co-product during evaporation to produce salt. 

 
14 Apr 2009

Down to Earth With: Maria Zuber

In 2011, a pair of orbiters will launch for the moon, making some of the most exact measurements yet of our satellite. Luckily for the orbiters, they’ll have Maria Zuber at the helm. A geophysicist at MIT, Zuber was recently named one of “America’s Best Leaders” last year by U.S. News & World Report for her role in establishing women in high-level science. The moon orbiters alone will make her one of the first women to lead a NASA robotic space mission. Recently, Zuber talked with EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson about the mission, leadership and saving the economy.

23 Mar 2009

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