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Modeling Supernovae With a Supercomputer 64

A team of scientists at the University of Chicago will be using 22 million processor-hours to simulate the physics of exploding stars. The team will make use of the Blue Gene/P supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory to analyze four different scenarios for type Ia supernovae. Included in the link is a video simulation of a thermonuclear flame busting its way out of a white dwarf. The processing time was made possible by the Department of Energy's INCITE program. "Burning in a white dwarf can occur as a deflagration or as a detonation. 'Imagine a pool of gasoline and throw a match on it. That kind of burning across the pool of gasoline is a deflagration,' Jordan said. 'A detonation is simply if you were to light a stick of dynamite and allow it to explode.' In the Flash Center scenario, deflagration starts off-center of the star's core. The burning creates a hot bubble of less dense ash that pops out the side due to buoyancy, like a piece of Styrofoam submerged in water."

Science Documentaries for Youngsters? 383

An anonymous reader writes "My 7-year-old daughter is asking some interesting questions, such as, 'How did everything get created?' I've explained, in general terms, our family's non-religious views on the subject of creation and the Big Bang. I'd like to find some documentary videos geared to this age level that may explain better these concepts and theories. I've found a few PBS specials online - Stephen Hawking stuff - but they seem to be geared for young adults and older. Does anyone have recommended titles that might be better geared to children of this age bracket?"

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