Although exploding balloons might seem like just another distraction to keep students awake in science classes, they can also be used in serious scientific research. Recently, two BYU professors used exploding balloons to better understand how sounds like those created by other loud sources—rockets, military jets, bombs, and shotguns–travel around us.
Using the considerable resources of BYU's Marylou Supercomputing Center, we combined two computational approaches to crystal structure prediction. The two methods complement one another and often make predictions of new phases in binary metallic phase diagrams.
The picture above shows a new prediction in Hf-Sc at the stoichiometry of 5:1
This image was secured during the installation of the 0.9-m telescope at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. Data for this image is from August 27, 2009. This was the first night that a CCD had been mounted on the telescope so that imaging was possible. This 'First Light' image shows the globular cluster known as M15 in the constellation of Pegasus. The distance to this cluster is more than 33,000 light years and yet individual stars are easily resolved all through the cluster. Globular cluster stars have an extremely low abundance of heavy elements as compared to stars found in the solar neighborhood and represent the oldest population of stars known in the Galaxy. It is interesting to note the many cool red giant stars that are visible in the cluster as well as a large number of evolved horizontal branch stars that are blue in color. Many of the horizontal branch stars are known to be RR Lyrae variable stars that are useful as distance indicators since it is possible to determine their luminosity and compare that value to their apparent magnitude as measured from the observed images. The color image processing for this picture is the work of Dr. Rob Gendler. Dr. Gendler is well known for producing amazingly detailed astronomical images that are regularly featured on the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day.
The experimental and computational data on rhodium binary alloys is sparse despite its importance in numerous applications, especially as an alloying agent in catalytic materials. Half of the Rh-transition metal systems (14 out of 28) are reported to be phase separating or are lacking experimental data. We predicted stable ordered structures in 9 of those 14 binary systems. We also found a few unreported compounds in the known compound-forming systems. There needs to be an extensive revision of the current understanding of Rh alloys through a combination of theoretical predictions and experimental validations.
Crystal transformations that reduce symmetry are called "distortions". ISODISTORT (iso.byu.edu) is a powerful group-theoretical tool that can generate, parameterize, and interactively visualize virtually any crystal distortion involving atomic displacements, magnetic moments, occupational orderings, or lattice strains. Figure based on La2CoRuO6 (J. Mater. Chem. 15, 715-720, 2005).
Trevor Stout, Kent Gee, Traci Neilsen, and Alan Wall et al. recently published an article titled "Intensity analysis of the dominant frequencies of military jet aircraft noise" in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. Click on the image above to read it.
Aurora and Volcanic Light Pillar : That's no sunset. And that thin red line just above it -- that's not a sun pillar. The red glow on the horizon originates from a volcanic eruption, and the red line is the eruption's reflection from fluttering atmospheric ice crystals....
This photograph and Description come from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.