“Disappointed and tired eyes”

“Disappointed and tired eyes”

In the 1960s, there were some signs of turbulence in the United States, which seemed to have affected the Argonne National Laboratory.

Some people’s nuclear research projects have been criticized and research budgets have been cut, so everyone speculates that Agong’s survival is threatened. Soon, the director of the laboratory found that scientists were showing “disappointed and tired eyes.” The director recalled his experience at the Exxon Research Laboratory a few years ago. He believed that this frustration was not mainly due to the political influence of the United States, but It is Argonne’s own atmosphere-if scientists have first-class facilities in front of them, they are more likely to make first-class results. He asked his wife for help. Soon, she arranged for workers to paste new tiles and paint on Building 205. They added lights in the public areas and put new pink, gold, and blue decorations on the pale green office. In the end, the building was renewed, the office showed a good overall effect, the environment felt more gentle, and the design of the jazz and blues concert series was the icing on the cake.

A researcher took a large-caliber short-mouthed pistol with bullets to the laboratory. He explained that he had just finished class in a dangerous area nearby, and the pistol was used for self-defense at the time. He accidentally fired his pistol while changing clothes, injuring himself, and was subsequently fired. The supervisor of his department warned: “Don’t play guns in the locker room anymore.” In the annual turkey raffle, Sandy Preto-a part-time belly dance experiment at a nearby club Room researchers-live belly dancing, “surprising four people”.

Nevertheless, the danger of the laboratory cannot be ignored. One day, the new scientist Paul Nielsen served as an assistant to a senior researcher who was heating and freezing molten zinc mixed with a few ten grams of plutonium. To be safe, both of them wore face masks, but the mixture accidentally overflowed and burned through a hot stainless steel plate. Nelson “thinks of his children and decides to quit his job.” Colleagues made fun of him because he flinched from a harmless burning accident. A few years later, an experiment of uranium and plutonium oxide exploded. The glass window of a laboratory was blown through, a large piece of concrete bulged on the concrete wall, and radioactive materials began to radiate. They were no longer so calm this time. The investigation found that the researchers accidentally installed the safety equipment upside down, causing the accumulation of hydrogen and oxygen. The staff responsible for cleaning had to remove the contaminants, and the researchers were isolated and observed for a period of time.

Of course, some things have not changed. Once, Nelson looked out the window and saw 83 white deer. However, Argonne is “aging”. In the 1970s, a former senior manager admitted that Argonne National Laboratory “doesn’t have, the Club Med, the atmosphere that makes a romantic relationship.” When researchers were in high mood. At the time, they seemed to let the various disciplines compete against each other. Engineers refer to chemists as “pharmacists,” and chemists refer to engineers as “plumbers.” Physicists will also belittle materials scientists, but call themselves “talents who accomplish great causes in the scientific world.” Unlike energy storage scientists who insist on going home for dinner at 6 pm every day, physicists usually spend all nights to repair equipment (such as a malfunctioning particle accelerator), sacrificing weekends, and even staying at their posts during holidays.

The physicist is right. Argonne’s battery researchers are generally not the kind of perseverance.

For most of the 18th and 19th centuries, batteries and the electrical energy stored in batteries seemed to poets, philosophers, and scientists almost like an unpredictable force. Those who have made breakthrough contributions in this field are highly respected. In 1799, the Italian physicist Alessandro Volt invented the battery, ushering in the era of electricity. This great initiative originated from a dispute between him and Luigi Galvani, a physicist in his country. Galvani believes that the frog’s body is electrically charged. Volt inferred that the current observed by Galvani originated from the metal used in the experiment, not from the frog itself. Volt created the battery while experimenting to refute Galvani’s views. The contemporary Benjamin Franklin used glass windows, lead plates and wires to make a simple power generation device and called it a “battery” for the first time. However, Franklin made only nominal batteries, and Volt’s invention was the real power storage device. According to Volt’s invention, scientists continue to connect the battery to the corpse to verify whether the electric current can bring the corpse back to life. Many people want to know whether electricity can cure cancer, and whether it is the origin of life. What if the soul is an electrical impulse?

How do we make batteries? First, we must prepare two parts called “electrodes”, one is the positive electrode and the other is the negative electrode. When a battery releases electrical energy (“discharge”), positively charged lithium atoms (“ions”) shuttle from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. This type of battery is called a lithium ion battery. However, ions need a booster to reach the positive electrode. This substance is called electrolyte. If we reverse the process of discharging, that is, forcing the ions to return to the negative electrode, then the battery is charging. If the ions in the battery can repeatedly shuttle between the positive and negative poles, we can call this battery a rechargeable battery. However, only certain batteries can be recharged repeatedly.

The battery has very few components and a very simple structure, which not only helps scientists improve the creation of volts, but also hinders their progress. They can only ponder the positive electrode, negative electrode and electrolyte repeatedly, and of course they can also select various suitable elements from the periodic table for design. This is a “double-edged sword”: they cannot bypass these three components, and only these three components are the true charm of the battery. In 1859, French physicist Gaston Plante invented a rechargeable lead-acid battery. When this battery is discharged, the positive and negative electrodes react with a sulfuric acid electrolyte to produce lead sulfate and electric current. However, Plante’s invention can be traced back to Volt’s battery design, the Volt stack. The former stacks metal plates up and down, while the latter stacks metal plates side by side. The Energizer battery, which went on the market in 1980, is a “close relative” of Plante’s invention. Although more than 100 years have passed, the basic science has remained the same as before and has not changed.