Welcome to I'm a Scientist Get me out of here!
About I’m a Scientist
I’m a Scientist is like school science lessons meet the X Factor! School students choose which scientist gets a prize of £500 to communicate their work.
Scientists and students talk on this website. They both break down barriers, have fun and learn. But only the students get to vote.
This is Krypton Zone. It has a range of scientists studying all different topics. Who gets the prize? YOU decide!
About this Zone
You might have heard of kryptonite: Superman’s ultimate weakness. But have you heard of krypton?
Krypton is a noble gas: that means it doesn’t smell, doesn’t have a colour and doesn’t react with the world around it.
In fact, for a long time after its discovery in 1898 most scientists believed that krypton couldn’t combine with any other elements.
But in 1963, scientists showed they could make a chemical which combined krypton with the element fluoride. This chemical needs to be cold or it doesn’t stick around long. It needs to be kept at -30˚C, brr!
Even though it doesn’t have a colour or a smell, that doesn’t mean krypton is dull as ditch-water (after all, ditch water’s actually pretty smelly).
When electricity is passed through it, krypton glows a very bright white, so it’s good for lighting.
Krypton is one of the gases used to fill energy-saving light-bulbs. And if you’ve ever seen advertising signs where all the letters are glowing different colours, chances are it’s krypton inside the greeny-yellow parts.
Because it produces a brilliant white light, krypton is also very good for photography.
Krypton is also used in lasers. Krypton-fluorine lasers are insanely powerful: one pulse from these lasers has about 500 times the power of the entire electrical grid of the USA.
These pulses only last a very short time though: about four billionths of a second.
Blink and you’ll miss it.