Friday, February 4, 2011

Coming every Friday (give or take... with a margin of error) and LCLS

Since my days are taken up with work (scribbling about science and technology) and my nights are taken up with fiction (writing the Silver Rush historical mysteries of 1880 Colorado), I suffer regularly from what I think of as "time travel whiplash"—switching intense focus between these two worlds.

So, why not blog about it? But, I need a schedule. Once a week is doable, I think. Fridays are good: the work-week is done (well sometimes), and I generally have lots of science bits rattling around my brain, and the fictional world is usually clamoring for its turn. So here we go. Blogging on Fridays, with some unknown margin of error. Of course, the more I blog, the larger the sample size, and the smaller the error bar (at least, that's the theory).

As promised, here's a nifty bit of science to keep your eye on: the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC creates X-ray pulses that can capture images of atoms and molecules in motion. How fast does the "shutter" have to be to take these pictures? Less than 100 femtoseconds. And how fast is that? One hundred femtoseconds is the amount of time it takes light to travel the width of a human hair. i.e., pretty darn fast.
More about the LCLS here.
Some amazing research results from LCLS here.
And an amazing image from these recent results: 
 An X-ray diffraction pattern of a single virus particle. The X-ray pulse lasted a millionth of a billionth of a second and heated the virus to 100,000 degrees Celsius, but not before this image was obtained. (Image: Tomas Ekeberg, Uppsala University.)


  1. Great site.
    I can hardly wait till you take on fractals!

  2. Hi Camille! Sometime down the road, I'm sure I will! :-)

  3. Loved it. Can't wait to see what's next.

  4. Hello Renaissance Women!
    Thank you!
    It's all a random walk... I can't wait to see what's next myself. :-)

  5. Great idea, Ann! (Although you must be sleep-deprived!) But I love blogs that focus on a writer's particular theme of interest. Cool!