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LHC rapper returns to drop knowledge about rare isotopes


Kate McAlpine, the rapper who garnered much notice (including from this site) and millions of YouTube views for her track about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is back with a new track on a new subject: rare isotopes.

In the video (viewable below), McAlpine waxes poetic on the creation and study of the elemental variants known as isotopes at the planned Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). (Isotopes of an element have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons and hence different masses.) Among other goals, FRIB hopes to elucidate the nuclear reactions at the cores of stars and the physics of stellar explosions, known as supernovae, that create many of the elements that make up planets and their inhabitants.

McAlpine produced her blockbuster LHC rap as a science writer for CERN, the European lab for particle physics that manages the gargantuan particle accelerator, which operators hope to bring back online before the end of the year. (An electrical malfunction shut the machine down shortly after its initial start-up this past September.) And she has a personal connection to FRIB as well: Michigan State University, her alma mater, will design and host the facility.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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