A rare, powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the East Coast United States on August 23. Damage was light, but millions of people were surprised and unnerved by the event. The earthquake occurred near Mineral, Virginia, about 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It was a shallow earthquake, and shaking was recorded all along the Appalachians, from Georgia to New England. There have been several aftershocks and more are expected.
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth'scrustthat creates seismic waves. It is estimated that around 500,000 earthquakes occur each year, detectable with current instrumentation. About 100,000 of these can be felt. Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.
Twenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee, ayoung scientist at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), worked on a better way to communicate and share research information stored on computers at the CERN facility. The result was a browser and editor that could enable information sharing through a common hypertext language. The result was the world’s very first website. The project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news and documentation, and it quickly spread. Now, it touches nearly all aspects of our daily life.
You can get a quick read on exciting historical research accomplishments of DOE and its predecessors via the DOE R&D AccomplishmentsBlog. The Blog provides comments about and calls attention to the multiple diverse aspects of the outcomes of past DOE R&D that have had significant economic impact, have improved people's lives, or have been widely recognized as a remarkable advance in science. After viewing the short entries on the blog, you can then select the link to the DOE R&D Accomplishments website for more information.
At the youngest ages, children are intrigued by Mentos in a Diet Coke. Figuring out what nature is trying to tell us, which is otherwise known as doing science, can be exciting. But, too often, young people become disabused of that excitement when they experience the drudgery of reading dry texts while confined in a stuffy cubicle or a study carrel. Now we are taking a step to help change that perspective. We are displacing text with video, and we are making it easy to find and learn science wherever you happen to be.
It is an unfortunate circumstance that fun is too often taken out of science. We should want students of all ages to be happy, as happy people invest themselves more into what they are doing. We should want science to remain an avocation even as it becomes a vocation for some students and others move on to different interests.
I have to admit that I am truly a science fiction and fantasy geek. Blame it on growing up on a steady diet of Star Wars and Transformers. This bit of background information helps explain why I smile internally whenever I get the chance to talk about dark archives. Those words call to mind a picture of some mysterious, powerful object at the center of an epic story, like The Lord of the Rings. Great words.