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Everything posted by JSKrimmel

  1. I'm a science teacher at a high school, and so I have a different gauge by which I judge teachers. I think a good science teacher is not one that conveys the most information, but conveys the process of science effectively. It is extremely important for students to understand the scientific method and why it has been so helpful throughout history. The ultimate goal of a teacher, in my opinion, is not to create biologists, chemists, physicists, or any other type of scientist. Their goal should be to help students be able to make intelligent decisions in every aspect of their lives and to encourage students to ask questions.
  2. I don't know exactly how to answer your question, but I can give you some information about diamond and graphite that might help you get to the next step... Diamond is formed from purely covalent bonding. To have four unpaired electrons in its outer shell, diamond crystals create hybrid orbitals by placing one of the electrons in the 2s orbital into the vacant 2p orbital (Remember carbon has 2 electrons in the 2s subshell and 2 electrons in the 2p subshell). The covalent bonds formed between the new orbitals created (now termed sp^3 orbitals) are called sigma bonds. The strength of these bonds is a function of the degree to which the orbitals of neighboring atoms overlap, but I'm not sure how to quantify that into a number. Graphite is also formed by covalent bonding of carbon atoms using hybrid orbitals, but they are bonded together with pi bonds in addition to sigma bonds. These bonds allow electrons to travel between atoms with greater ease than in diamond, resulting in graphite's electric conductivity. In fact, the pi and sigma bonding in graphite makes graphite's bonds stronger than diamond's. The reason graphite is flaky and used as lead in pencils is because of the weak van der Waals forces between the sheets of graphite. Hope I've helped. I'll look for some more information on fullerene, but I think it possesses both pi and sigma bonds just as graphite does.
  3. Naturally I meant that the mass converted into energy would be increased by 60 years of scientific advancement. For example, I know that separating U-235 isotopes was a major challenge. 60 years of advancement would allow for more pure samples of U-235 to be separated, potentially making a more destructive bomb by increasing the amount of mass converted to energy. Also, a bound on the size of the atomic bomb was the weight allowance of the airplane used to transport it. Today's larger bombers obviously have larger payloads and would be able carry approximately 3 times more weight than the Enola Gay. A bigger bomb would allow for more mass to be converted to energy, making the bomb deadlier still. The point that I was trying to make is that there are many scenarios we can come up with that would allow for more mass to be converted to energy. I apologize for not being more explicit.
  4. Living in a world so advanced in technology and so overwhelmed with conflict makes those numbers seem even smaller. An extension of the calculations above using rather conservative death toll estimates shows that on the average it took only 7.470 micrograms (10^-6 g) to kill a single person in Nagasaki and just 4.316 micrograms per individual with the more efficient uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima. (To put it in perspective, each fragment of a paperclip cut into one million pieces would weigh one microgram.) One can only imagine what 60 years of scientific advancement has done to those figures.
  5. I did some rough calculations and using estimates of energy yields, determined approximately the amount of mass that was converted into energy for both the Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima and the Fat Man dropped on Nagasaki. The Little Boy was composed of uranium-235 and although the critical mass, or the mass needed to sustain a chain reaction, for U-235 is 50 kg, only approximately 0.6043 grams were converted to energy. The Fat Man, made of plutonium-239, had a critical mass of only 10 kg yet only between 0.9297 and 1.162 grams of plutonium were actually converted to energy.
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