Caught the movie "Deep Impact" yet? Just how real-to-life does Steven Spielberg's blockbuster portray an asteroid striking the planet Earth? Computer scientists at Sandia National Laboratories think they can better approximate a real asteroid catastrophe. Using virtual reality techniques, decades of experience in shock physics, advanced computer programs, and the world's fastest computer, the scientists recently completed one of the largest hypervelocity impact physics calculations ever performed. In the computing scenario, an asteroid 1.4 km in diameter strikes the Atlantic Ocean 25 miles south of Brooklyn, NY. To model the event, the scientists broke up a 120-square-mile space that roughly corresponds to the New York City metropolitan area, the air above, and the water and earth below, into 100 million separate grids. Sandia's teraflops supercomputer then calculated what happened in each cube as the asteroid splashed down. The researchers then reassembled the cubes to produce a 3D movie of the collision. How did Spielberg do? According to the simulation, the impact would vaporize the asteroid, deform the ocean floor, and eject hundreds of cubic miles of superheated water vapor, melted rock, and other debris into the upper atmosphere and back into space. The debris would rain down over the world for the next several hours and form a high global cloud. The shock wave from the impact would level much of the New England region. E-mail email@example.com.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.