Tuesday 15 April 2008

"Grand challenges" report

(Via ACS Chemical and Engineering News): The US Department of Energy's report on "Directing Matter and Energy" is available online. It's huge (144 pages in umpteen megabytes) and slightly technical, but it's definitely worth digging through if you know the basic chemistry. It sums up some of the most interesting ideas and open problems in physical chemistry in a reasonably understandable manner. Superfluidity? Non-equilibrium dynamics? Nuclear-electronic coupling? It's all in there.

My favourite? Using cleverly arranged chemical systems to mimic the behavior of subatomic particles like quarks, so we can study them without needing high-energy particle accelerators.

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