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Physicists Unravel Plutonium's Bizarre Behavior

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Plutonium, in addition to being radioactive and fissile, has some rather exotic physical properties that make it... shall we say, exciting, to work with.


One of these is that, like uranium, plutonium is pyrophoric.  That is, it burns spontaneously on contact with air.  The greater the surface area of the plutonium, the faster it burns.  This makes the management of the metal shaving from any machining operations critical.


In addition, plutonium has six solid allotropes, and they vary wildly in density:




Finally, and unusually, plutonium contracts when it freezes.


It's rather odd stuff.


Well, scientists just announced that they now understand a bit more about why it does this bizarre shit.


Here's the paper, I don't claim to have understood anything past the abstract.

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This might be the best quote ever made:


“Plutonium sort of exists between two extremes in its electronic configuration—in what we call a quantum mechanical superposition,”



That should be a  band name.


Quantum Mechanical Superposition


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