Pure uranium is a radioactive heavy metal with a silvery-white sheen. During the process of fission, uranium produces plutonium. But plutonium has to undergo further processing before it can be used as fuel in a nuclear power plant.
There are 118 elements in the periodic table. But just eight of them make up 99% of the Earth’s mass: oxygen, silicon, aluminium, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium. When the Earth was formed, the dense elements sank towards the core.
For some years now, healthy people have been advised to take a small daily dose of aspirin. This is because its blood-thinning effect was thought to prevent heart attacks, while the risk of developing some cancers was also reduced.
There are around three billion genuine Bank of England banknotes with a face value of £55 billion in circulation. Around 233,000 counterfeit notes with a face value of £4.2 million were taken out of circulation in the first half of last year.
Credit cards are very desirable items for hackers hoping to access the data stored on their RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. These chips allow us to make contactless transactions, but represent a boon for hackers.
A 600,000-ton iceberg is heading straight for the Hibernia oil rig, the world’s biggest offshore drilling platform. As much as 200 million litres of crude oil are stored here – and a collision would have devastating consequences for the waters of the North Atlantic.
Michelangelo’s wall and ceiling frescoes in Rome’s Sistine Chapel and his sculpture of David are world famous. But the Renaissance artist’s incomparable reputation was only made possible by the sponsorship of the Medici family.