Science journalist Dave Mosher found a perfectly charming way to propose to his girlfriend, Kendra Snyder. Snyder is a communications officer with Brookhaven National Laboratory, home of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, in which physicists collide gold ions in an attempt to study the state of the Universe in the moments after the Big Bang.
Just before 4:00 p.m., Kendra's boss Pete pulls her aside to say he has received an unusual phone call from a physicist at RHIC. The physicist -- aka Bill -- found a rare crystalline deposit in RHIC's beamline at the STAR detector, he says, and needs her to go down and see if it's worth writing a story about.
Conveniently, Pete and all of Kendra's other coworkers are tied up. Even Kendra's eager intern turns down the opportunity to see this bizarre deposit and the giant detector.
How weird, Kendra thinks.
After a 5-minute drive, she meets Bill the physicist at the fiveish-story loading dock outside of the detector's chamber. Bill starts to spout mumbo-jumbo about beamline metals, collision energies, crystallization environments, chemical reactions, and so on. They walk behind an enormous concrete radiation shield and there is the colossal detector, recently opened up for its usual summer maintenance period.
They walk up a dual staircase and onto a platform just below the particle beamline. "And that's the kind of crystal we found," says Bill, and quickly scurries down the other side of the staircase. It's a diamond ring in a box.
Nick Sousanis, who delivered his doctoral dissertation in comic book form, has a new comic in the current Nature magazine, explaining the last 25 years’ worth of climate talks, as a primer in advance of the Paris climate talks next week.
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