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Science finds stuff in weird places all the time. The nightmare creatures in the depths of the ocean. Sand rivers on Mars. Probable diamond storms on Neptune and Uranus. Living creatures in thermal vents, as well as the freezing vacuum of space. I have to say, this one made me giggle.

Time crystals have been found in those rock-growing kits for children. Yes, I know what that sounds like. A material that has proven difficult to create in a lab setting is something that kids make on the regular to learn about crystals. Wild, right? It’s also presented some real questions.

We use time crystals for all sorts of things. Atomic clocks and gyroscopes, also GPS. DARPA is looking into them for mysterious reasons. Who knows what other applications we might find for these interesting crystals.

Scientists have assumed for the last few years that these specialized crystals only form in very disordered environments. This discovery, of just how easy some things can be created and in unexpected places, will make the research of time crystals a lot easier.

It does get me thinking though. What other common things do we have that scientists need for their research, but haven’t noticed is right under their noses? Who knows, maybe the dandelions growing between the cracks in the sidewalk hold the ingredient in abundance to cure blindness. So, remember the time crystals when writing a story. The answer might best serve as an unnoticed, but common, item in the story.

Yogurt for eating nuclear waste, perhaps.

-T.A. Creech

Science in the pursuit of Fiction.


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