Potential breakthrough in science

Claims of a revolutionary achievement: hydrogen turned into a metal-like state

©Harvard University

After 80 years in which scientists have been trying to transform hydrogen into metal, it is now believed that this goal has finally been met. Last week, researchers Ranga Dias and Isaac Silvera from Harvard University published the results of their experiments in the Science Magazine, claiming that they managed to make molecular hydrogen reach a metallic state, which would have applications in several domains of science and industry. According to the BBC, among the future possible uses of this wonder-material are electrical wiring with no resistance and a very powerful type of rocket fuel, which could revolutionise spaceflight.

Although the final product of the two scientists‘ experiments is quantitatively insignificant, as the metallic material they have obtained so far is smaller than the cross-section of a human hair, Dias and Silvera are confident that it will be possible to find ways in which its production could be increased. The method they used to bring hydrogen to a metallic state was to squeeze a hydrogen-containing cell between two synthetic diamonds at pressures of up to 495 gigapascals, which is equivalent to that of almost five million Earth atmospheres.

However, a number of sceptical reactions did not fail to appear following the publication of Dias‘and Slivera’s results, as a number of scientists who work in related domains stated that the data presented in the scientific paper is not conclusive.

If the experiments have indeed led to metallic hydrogen being obtained, this could be considered one of the scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century.


English – German glossary:

state = (hier) Zustand

to publish = veröffentlichen

experiments = Versuchen

applications = Anwendungen

wonder-material = Wunderstoff

electrical wiring = elektrische Verdrahtung

resistance = Wirkwiderstand

rocket fuel = Raketentreibstoff

to revolutionise = umwälzen

spaceflight = Raumfahrt

insignificant = geringfügig

cross-section = Querschnitt

to squeeze = pressen

equivalent to = entsprechen

publication, paper = Veröffentlichung

conclusive = beweiskräftig

indeed = wirklich

to lead to sth = zu etw führen

breakthrough = Durchbruch