"Z60, Phantaspheraurate" by Robert Whetten (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)

Guest Speaker: Robert Whetten (The University of Texas at San Antonio)

Talk Title:  “Z60, Phantaspheraurate”


Discovery of new substances and their underlying principles consists not so much of "new materials analyzed by established methods" but rather of ancient ones elucidated by newly developed methods.  So we had better focus on the advances — new instruments and procedures — that make discovery possible, prior to any particular application.  Year 2014 marked the Centennial of Mass Spectrometry.   Mass spectrometers (MS) are best known as ultrahigh precision, ultra-sensitive instruments.  Yet they have been reinvented thanks to the new ion sources based on ElectroSpray (ES), as recognized by the 2002 Nobel Prize (John B. Fenn).  At UTSA we are blessed with excellent MS instrumentation, which we have adapted to apply the ES-MS to certain seemingly intractable metallurgical problems.  We were motivated by longstanding questions regarding the geological and microbial origins of noble metals (such as gold and copper) in reduced (metallic) phases.  A surprising new principle, denoted by the formula Z60, has emerged from this work, to explain & unify the observed anomalies.  Beyond the elucidation of structure & bonding relations, the Z60 principle reveals certain aspects of hidden symmetry and a special topology.  The latter provides a direct mapping to a cultural artefact largely unknown in the West, and thus well suited to broader educational purposes.    Many UTSA colleagues & others have been involved already in key aspects of this exciting experimental & theoretical research.  Their respective contributions will be briefly described.  Also advertised are abundant opportunities for further development of these methods and systems, in order to attain new insights and products.

For more information, contact Karoly Holczer


1-434 PAB