Scientists have been attempting to turn hydrogen into metal for the past 80 years, and last month a team at Harvard University successfully pulled off what is termed as the “holy grail” of physics–but now the sample has completely disappeared.
The metal, which scientists also managed to keep in its new form for several weeks, was poised to revolutionize science, reports say. If it had survived, it could have helped make even faster computers and create more efficient cars and other electronic devices. It would have also saved much of the power that is lost in transmission, making the world more energy efficient.
So what happened to the new metal?
Scientists claim it may have been lost in the machinery or that it could have eventually melted at room temperature. But others are not so convinced, and some physicists say that the team never actually turned hydrogen into metal.
Reports say that the sample was kept wedged between two tiny diamonds at -460°F and at a pressure equivalent to that of the center of the Earth.
Professor Isaac Silvera of Harvard University stated that one of the diamonds was crushed into a fine powder while he was trying to monitor the metallic hydrogen using a low-intensity laser. He heard a click as it disintegrated.
Oddly enough, there is no trace of the metallic hydrogen ever having been there in the first place.
Some skeptics say that the scientists may believe they created the matter, but actually did not. But Silvera remains firm in his claim that his team did actually turn metal into hydrogen, it has simply been lost.
He told The Independent:
“The sample is in the wreckage some place or it’s not meta-stable and it disappeared, it turned into a gas. If it was meta-stable and if it could withstand the shock of a catastrophic failure, it would still be in the gasket.”
If the hydrogen did turn into gas, this would be a major setback in the creation of the matter, as it would prove that what the scientists created could not withstand the Earth’s atmosphere and therefore would not revolutionize electricity as they had originally hoped.