Saturday, 28 January 2017

An 80-year-old prediction comes true as scientists turn hydrogen into a metal


A team of scientists said they have successfully turned hydrogen into a metal, potentially confirming a prediction made 80 years ago. In 1935, physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington predicted hydrogen could turn metallic, but only under a few conditions: “under high enough pressures,” with the “hydrogen molecules broken apart and the electrons squeezed loose,”

This week, a team of scientists at Harvard University published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Science saying they managed to squeeze hydrogen in a diamond vise to the point that the element became reflective, a key property of metals. “You can see it becomes a lustrous, shiny material, which is what you expect for a metal,” said Isaac F. Silvera, a physics professor at Harvard University.