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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Y2K, the Molecule
17 December 1999 7:00 pm
You've purged that old software from your C drive, tucked a few extra cans of baked beans into the cupboard, and maybe even stuffed some cash under the mattress. So now you probably think you're ready for Y2K. Maybe so. But what about Y2K? The molecule, that is.
Y2K doesn't actually exist, and nobody's planning to produce it. But in theory, it could be made from two atoms of the rare, expensive metal yttrium (Y) and one of potassium (K). In today's Science, a pair of chemists from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, reports that Y2K will be stable, should chemists ever attempt to create it. Twelve hours of supercomputer number crunching revealed that when these ingredients come together, the result is a tiny burst of energy and an either linear or T-shaped Y2K molecule.
What properties a chunk of solid Y2K would have is still a bit of a mystery, says Jeffrey Roberts, who performed the analysis along with theoretical chemist Christopher Cramer. Roberts says he hit upon the idea for the molecule while sitting through a less than stellar talk at a chemistry meeting. "My mind started to wander, and I was looking at a periodic table, spelling out words with the elements," he says. He talked over the idea of studying the molecule with Cramer in the hallway. And when the two later searched the literature, they were somewhat shocked to learn that it had never been examined before, says Roberts.
For an encore, Roberts and Cramer say they'll check out Y3K. Well, maybe not right away. Says Roberts: "We'll do it when it's time."