Lecture: 20 March “It Rains Diamonds on ‘Ice Giant’ Planets” by Siegfried Glenzer, SLAC

20 March 2018, Tuesday, 7:45 PM, Presidio Officers’ Club

“It Rains Diamonds on ‘Ice Giant’ Planets”


Siegfried Glenzer, Director High Energy Density Science Division, SLAC

A new experiment at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory reveals how large diamonds may be formed with just hydrogen and carbon, in the deep interior of ice giant planets such as Uranus and Neptune. Experimental simulations using high powered optical lasers revealed “diamond rain” forming in real time. Scientists predict that diamond crystals would be much larger, and likely to slowly sink down to the planet core over thousands of years.

Diamonds in the Sky

Professor Glenzer said, “For this experiment we had LCLS, the brightest X-ray source in the world, and intense, fast pulses of X-rays are needed to unambiguously see the structure of these diamonds”. These experiments help provide us with better insight into the structure of exoplanets.

Brief Bio

Siegfried Glenzer, who is the recipient of the recent E O Lawrence award, is Professor and High-Energy-Density division director at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab. He joined SLAC as a distinguished scientist to build a new discovery class program to explore matter in extreme conditions.

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