In the news there was this little snippet that it has been discovered that straining a piece of Graphene can create pseudo-magnetic fields of 300 tesla or more. To put this in perspective, an MRI scanner normally runs between 0.5 to 3.0 Tesla. The earth’s field is 0.5 Gauss (1 Tesla = 10,000 gauss) and the strongest field that has been generated by the human race for research is 85 tesla for a field that lasts only thousandths of a second. When stronger fields are created, the magnets blow themselves apart.
So now scientists (by accident of course) have discovered that straining a little piece of material can cause a magnetic field more than 3 times the strongest field ever generated! Could this be the jump in ease to get to a strong Magnetic Field that we need to get Tokamaks running for Nuclear Fusion? Who knows?
Fact of the matter is, that we think we live in a time where we think everything has been discovered.. And then this little gem drops into our laps..
What is next? And what is to be discovered in the next decade? We always think that the current status quo is the best it will get, but who would have figured that anyone born in the year 1900, having only dreamt of flying, would have been given the opportunity to fly an airplane after the Wright Brothers succeeded in controlled flight in 1903? And closer to our era, who would have thought only 20 years ago that people would spend many hours a day in front of a box that connects the whole world together.
Just saying.. There is a lot more to discover no matter what we think..
What is Graphene: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene
MRI scanner background: http://www.howstuffworks.com/question698.htm