Rare Isotope Rap

Rare Isotope Rap

As teaching is one of this lab’s main themes
It’s the place that introduced me to physics with beams
They accelerate nuclei, the protons and neutrons
At the centers of atoms, we call ‘em nucleons
Protons define the element, its chemistry
Neutron numbers affect elements with subtlety
They define the isotopes, and with the FRIB they hope
To make some that no one’s ever seen before, and that’s dope.
So you know the elements from the periodic table
But this other version highlights isotopes that are stable
The isotopes we know are on a diagonal track
And at first glance, I thought that it looked pretty whack
But as you get away from that stable nucleus line
There’s radioactive isotopes we don’t usually find
On earth, because these nuclei prefer to decay
Into more stable isotopes by tossing particles away
Before they can, the teams here check out their dynamics
Measure masses and lifetimes, and study their mechanics

They’re building FRIB with mysteries to solve
Like what reactions drive stars and how do they evolve
The strong force binds nuclei but we still can’t say
Exactly why some are stable while others decay
A more powerful machine can push the frontier
The physicists here, they get nuclear

So let’s say you were making a new kind of nucleus
In F-RIB, a planned facility that’s long been discussed
The starting atoms – they’re just ordinary
Stable isotopes – they’re easier to store and carry
You strip off their electrons for a charged state
They zip through electric fields made to accelerate
Then you slam them into something, we call it the target,
Five percent of your nuclei are going to really hit it
Those that do will be different from your starting crew
They’ve lost protons and neutrons, or maybe gained a few
All kinds of fragments have just been created
So you put them through a magnet that can get them separated
If it’s got lots of protons, it takes an inside curve
But more neutrons tend to drag it for an outside swerve
You filter out the isotopes that you don’t want in the stream
And voila, you’ve got a rare isotope beam
And to put your nucleus on the nuclear map
You’ll then measure it in a detector or trap
This facility is for research and to teach
So the “you” could be more than just a figure of speech.

They’re building the FRIB with mysteries to solve
Like what reactions drive stars and how do they evolve
The strong force binds nuclei but we still can’t say
Exactly why some are stable while others decay
A more powerful machine can push the frontier
The physicists here, they get nuclear

A branch of nuclear physics works to understand the stars
Because burning hydrogen only takes them so far
If they’re big they can run through helium, carbon
Neon, oxygen and silicon, right up to iron
Which is bound so tight that burning reaches its conclusion
There’s no energy to gain by either fission or fusion
So the core collapses, then BAM it explodes!
The nuclei get broken but it’s sending out loads
Of nucleons, which ram each other and stick together
Protons and neutrons can switch from one to the other
Swapping charge is simple when they’ve got the energy
To make a small charged particle and set it free
So they stagger through the chart, and when the story is told
They might be copper or iodine or possibly gold
And on a much smaller scale, these nuclei are made
In a lab to see how this scenario played
Out. The stuff we see on the earth from Peru to Moldova
Came out of an explosion – we’re made of supernova
(Supernovae…)

Although it’s for basic science, FRIB could hold answers
For medicine – specifically the treatment of cancer
Isotope therapy shoots nuclei into tumors
Killing cancer cells to keep the patient out of the tomb
The beam packs the most punch in the place where it halts
And since it stops in the tumor, it overcomes the fault
Of ordinary radiation, traveling all the way through
So isotopes have fewer side effects than x-rays do
Targeted radiotherapy is also under study
Inject an isotope into the patient’s body
Attached to a carrier that brings it into
The tumor, where it decays, killing just cancerous tissue
FRIB could make whatever isotope was needed
Aiding efforts to ensure this disease gets defeated.

They’re building FRIB with mysteries to solve
Like what reactions drive stars and how do they evolve
The strong force binds nuclei but we still can’t say
Exactly why some are stable while others decay
A more powerful machine can push the frontier
The physicists here, they get nuclear

2 Responses to “Rare Isotope Rap”


  1. 1 Ali Emre Haziran 17, 2009, 2:33 pm

    AlpineKat’in videoları da efsaneymiş yau. Gerçi sadece bir tane var sanıyodum, sen ikinciyi koyunca baktım 3 taneymiş sanırım. Nobel müzik ödülü falan vermek lazım(?!)

    Sözkonusu deneyi de duymamıştım ama, simyacılığa sarmış adamlar. Çok fantastik sonuçlar doğuracak gibi duruyor.

    İnsan düşününce, bizim güç bela, yıllarca uğraşarak, çok küçük düzeyde başarabildiğimiz birşey, milyarlarca yıldır uzayda kendi kendine oluyor. Süpernovalar. Bizim dünyamızın oluşabilmesi için kaç yıldız ölmek zorunda kaldı. Din veya uzaylı inançlarına girmeden, sadece ufak bir mantık yürütmeyle, ne kadar ufak ve önemsiz olduğumuzu fark etmek zor değil. Neyse, bu konuda çok doluyum, insanlığın kendini beğenmişliğinden dertliyim dostlar:P(fizikçilere değil lafım, insanlığın ilerlemesini isteyen herkes candır, canandır. üç kuruş kâr için dünyanın azına sıçan godoşlara kızıyorum) Üstüne blog yazasım geldi bak. (bu psikolojinin üstüne Soundgarden’dan Black Hole Sun dinlemek farzdır).

    Not: “Supernovae” ve videonun sonunda “they get nuclear” olan fizikçilere çok güldüm. Geiger sayacıyla robot dansı da iyiymiş.

  2. 2 Schwanzerberg Haziran 17, 2009, 10:59 pm

    😀 Nobel (Bilimsel) Müzik ödülü vermek lazım harbiden… Bu hatunla Asia Brief röportaj yapmış ‘Large Hadron Rap’ şarkısından sonra. İşte tam isminin altına da şunu yazmışlar: Rapping Scientist😀

    Bu FRIB olayı hakkaten çok ilginç bir şeymiş. Ben de daha yeni öğreniyorum nükleer fizikle alakalı çalışmaları. İşte o sırada da AlpineKat ablamızın bu çalışmasını gördüm.


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