Metallurgist Grigory Raykhtsaum shows Smithsonian three different ways to test if something is solid gold: a color test, a thermal conductivity test, and a particle test. It’s all computerized now so all he has to do is scan the object to get a read on the color, zap it with an electrical current to measure the…
Gold is so malleable that a single gram of it can be stretched into a strip nearly two miles long. A tiny little coin can be pressed into a 0.0001-millimeter-thin golden rectangular sheet the size of a tatami mat. So leave it to the talented artisans of Japan to transform a tiny bit of gold into shimmering gold leaf…
Believe it or not, when you suspend gold in water, it can turn a lilac-blue color. You just need the right amount of salt. And plasmons. See samples of this blue-gold liquid, and learn how a famously warm material can turn cool.
We’ll believe it when we see it, but two men, one a Pole and one a German, say they know the location of a heavily armored Nazi train that was rumored to be hidden away in a tunnel during the dying days of the Second World War—a train that could contain upwards of 300 tons of gold.
If you want to find out what’s unusual about chloroauric acid, look at the “Au” in the middle. It indicates that this is an acid made using gold. We’ll tell you why people make this acid, and how it can hurt you.
Back in 1904, placer miners combed the Shoshone River for any trace of precious metals. With gold and silver found nearby, long days and hard work sorting through stream deposits had the chance of paying off big.
The Lycurgus Cup is a Roman goblet, recently found to make use of nanotechnology to change color. Know what else changes color? A pregnancy test! Amazingly, both of these objects use similar nanotechnology.
Having found a gold lining to the West's otherwise devastating drought, prospectors are flocking to the record-low rivers of the Sierra Nevada foothills. A mini gold rush has kicked off in previously inaccessible riverbeds, not far from the site of California's original gold rush.
Australian researchers have found trace amounts of gold in the leaves of Eucalyptus trees. Now, we’re not talking about a lot of gold — but these amounts are strong indication of larger deposits lying beneath.
A new study by Australian geologists has shown that over 80% the world's commercial gold deposits were generated in a flash process, the result of depressurizing earthquakes that rapidly converted mineral-rich fluids into precious veins of gold.
Canadian scientists have discovered a tiny alchemist in disguise, the bacterium Delftia acidovorans. When this microbe is infused within a toxic mixture of water-soluble gold, it excretes a molecule that both protects it from the elements while also transforming the poisonous ions into solid nanoscale gold particles.…
If we can bedazzle body parts and attach precious stones to our nails, isn't it time we look for a way to appropriately deck our hair with reprehensible displays of wealth? Science to the rescue! You can now turn your hair brown, with real gold.
Winning the Nobel Prize brings with it a diploma, cash award, and a 200 gram medal made of gold. Each medal is specially cast for the winner, emblazoned with his or her name.A handful of Nobel Prizes met an unusual end – fodder for the treasury of countries during World War I and II. his 1934 Nobel Prize in…
The world's smallest ear doesn't belong to any animal. Instead, it's a tiny piece of gold suspended in a laser beam. It can hear sounds a million times fainter than any human ear can, making it a powerful acoustic microscope.
This may sound strange, but there's simply too much gold. That is, there shouldn't be gold here at the Earth's crust - it all should have been sucked deep into the core long ago. For that, we can thank asteroids.
Every day, the world finds another way to show us that, once we work on a level that's small enough, nothing makes sense. Things we take for granted no longer happen. For instance, say you're lying in bed in the early morning sunlight - or, no judgment, the late afternoon sunlight. If all that daytime starts bothering…
100 years ago, a newspaper published Thomas Edison's musings on the far-off future of 2011. According to the famed inventor, we should be driving around in solid gold taxis.
Now we know how hot things got when the universe was born. We've taken the temperature of a substance that only existed when time first began. It's an ultrahot, 4-trillion degree "soup" of subatomic particles made from gold.