Extreme matters, Pressure to explore new worlds and exotic solids

Gilbert "Rip" Collins

Friday, November 6, 2020
1:30 p.m.

A science revolution is underway with the discovery of thousands of planets outside of our solar system, the creation of revolutionary materials, and the potential for harnessing fusion energy.  Unlocking these discoveries hinges on our ability to understand and manipulate matter to and beyond atomic pressures, conditions that alter the nature of atoms themselves.  At such conditions our intuition for matter begins to breakdown, with hydrogen becoming metallic, water becoming superionic, and core electrons engaging to form chemical bonds at KeV energy scales.  I will show how laboratory laser experiments are opening this science frontier at light speed, revealing the potential of squishing a watermelon into a superconductor, showing how we might make transparent aluminum like in Star Trek, and changing how we explore the nature of planets-potential platforms for life throughout the universe.