Something to dance to

I know horrible blogger.  Foolishly not blogging to prepare for a conference and study for the Qualifier (test to become a PhD candidate).  Well I’m going to continue not posting.  Qual is August 18th.  Here is a song I parodied to entertain you in the mean time.  Below is the karaoke version of the original song.

Let’s get down to business

To defeat the Qual.
Did they send me freshmen
When I asked for grads?

You’re the saddest bunch I ever met
But you can bet before we’re through
Mister, I’ll make a doctor
Out of you.

Tranquil as U-238
But on fire within.
Once you find your center
You are sure to pass.

You’re a spineless, pale pathetic lot
And you haven’t got a clue.
Somehow I’ll make a doctor
Out of you.

Chien-po: I’m never gonna understand this stuff
Yao: Say goodbye to those who knew me
Ling: Boy, was I a fool last semester for cutting transport
Mushu: This test has them scared to death
Mulan: Professors please don’t screw us
Chien-po: Now I really wish that I knew Diff Eq

We must be swift as beta decay
With all the force of a great turbine
With all the strength of a raging reactor
Mysterious as the inside of ITER

Time is racing toward us
’til the Qual begins.
Heed my every order
And you might survive.

You’re unsuited for academia
So pack up, go home you’re through
How could I make a doctor
Out of you?

We must be swift as beta decay
With all the force of a great turbine
With all the strength of a raging reactor
Mysterious as the inside of ITER

[everyone]BE A DOCTOR
We must be swift as beta decay
With all the force of a great turbine
With all the strength of a raging reactor
Mysterious as the inside of ITER

Photo Op

I’ve been in my lab doing a lot of research recently so I decided to let that inspire this post.

Different gasses ionize and create different colors.

O2 450

Oxygen 450mT

Ar 50

Argon 50mTorr

And, mixing them obviously gives blended colors.

Ar O2 50

1:1 Argon: Oxygen 50mTorr

From the last photo you can see the plasma is kinda everywhere in the chamber.  As pressure increases the plasma becomes more confined around the electrodes.

Ar O2 450

1:1 Argon: Oxygen 50mTorr

Comparing photo 3 and 4 you can see that at different pressures the same gasses ionize and create different colors.


Photo Taken by easternvoltageresearch.

This is why atmospheric plasmas have a purple white color.  Despite air being 70% nitrogen and 30% oxygen, which are salmon and white respectively at 100mT.

Plasma Television

From researching TVs I’ve decided that all color TVs are set up with a grid pattern.  The grid is comprised of pixels and each pixel contains 3 cells.  These cells make red, green, and blue so we get color TV.  If this proves to be false that will be noted at that time.  If you know it’s false please leave a comment.

Plasma TVs are comprised of a sheet of glass with clear electrodes running across it in rows.  Above that are the cells.  The cells contain a gas that will fluoresce in the UV range and when the light hits sides of the cell it interacts with a powder that will fluoresce in the visible range.  Above that are more clear electrodes running down in columns again attached to glass.

To make an image power is sent down the electrodes to make a power voltage difference in the cell causing the gas to ionize.  This occurs much faster than we can see so all these bright flashes are compiled into a picture by our slow eyes.

Traveling Space


Postcards from various destinations, photo stolen from Kickstarter site.

So I know it isn’t plasma but it is space travel and that is pretty cool.

There is a theater group on Kickstarter, the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, that is trying to raise funds for space tourism.  They set up a travel kiosk in the cities they visit.  People can then go to it and plan a trip to some way word location.  The interesting thing is they actually have scientists on the payroll so it’s not just planning a vacation it is also learning science about your destination.  They have done these before, it seems like the Kickstarter is more to get an idea of what would be good cities to set up shop.

Retrotechtacular: Breaking Atoms to Break the Ice

Tessa Kummerer:

Interesting article on the first nuclear ship and interesting 1959 video on a Russian ship in English.

Originally posted on Hackaday:


This documentary from 1959 gives a satisfyingly thorough look inside a nuclear powered icebreaking ship called Lenin. This actually set a couple of world’s-firsts: it was the first nuclear powered surface vessel and the first civilian vessel to be powered thusly.

The ship was built to clear shipping paths to the northern ports of Russia. Testing of both ice and models of the ship design point to the ability to break ice layers that are two meters thick. This requires a lot of power as ice-breakers generally use their hull shape and gravity to break the ice by driving up onto it to bend the ice to the breaking point. The Lenin achieved this power using its nuclear reactor to heat steam which drove electric generators. The energy produced drove three screws to power the vessel.

Of course this was back in the day when control panels were substantial

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