Geologist Strikes It Rich At Los Alamos

You could say that geologist John Rakovan struck it rich last week- he discovered that an enormous 217.78-gram chunk of pure, sparkly gold, found in a river in Venezuela, was the world's largest single-crystal specimen. This rare find is worth a hefty $1.5 million.

Rakovan faced the difficult challenge of confirming that the specimen was one crystal without cutting it. He used neutron diffractometry to confirm the finding while keeping the nugget in once piece, which he was able to do using the high-pressure/preferred orientation (HIPPO) instrument at Los Alamos National Laboratory's Lujan Neutron Scattering Center.


Los Alamos National Laboratory is, of course, most famous for being one of the labs where the once-classified development of nuclear weapons took place. Nowadays, projects include research into other badass fields such as national security, space exploration, nanotechnology and supercomputing.

If you don't have the high-security clearance required to visit the lab at Los Alamos, then stop by the Los Alamos Historical Museum instead- I hear it's a real blast.

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