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Monday, November 7, 2016
When you ask people to name the heaviest material they can think of, most will probably respond right away with lead. Most would also probably be surprised that gold is much heavier than lead. Almost twice as heavy.
But even gold is not the heaviest metal. And when it comes to the heaviest material in the universe we have to leave metals altogether and travel to Geneva, Switzerland and the Large Hadron Collider to discover a whole new form of matter.
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Today's Random Fact:
Osmium is the most dense metal! Many people are familiar with lead (11.3 kg/mL), but Osmium is twice as dense (22.6 kg/L)! Each liter of Osmium weighs 22.6 kg (50 lbs). For comparison, each liter of water weighs only 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs). Some other heavy metals include Tungsten and Gold (19.3 kg/L), which are almost as dense as Osmium.
The Large Hadron Collider made a matter known as quark-gluon plasma. It's a hundred thousand times hotter than the inside of the sun and denser than anything in the universe, except black holes.
Quark-gluon plasma is what scientists believe the entire universe was like immediately after the Big Bang. It's made up of quarks, which are the elementary building blocks of positive charged protons and neutral neutrons and gluons, particles that glue quarks together using the strong force. A physicist says that "if you had a cubic centimeter of this stuff, it would weigh 40 billion tons."
To make that magic matter, the LHC was used to smash together lead ions at nearly the speed of light.