Volume 95 Issue 49 | pp. 10-11 | Concentrates
Issue Date: December 18, 2017

Lightning triggers nuclear reactions

Ground-based measurements indicate that γ rays generated during thunderstorms can transform atmospheric nuclei
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Nuclear chemistry, lightning, gamma ray, neutron, nuclear reaction

Nearly 100 years ago, physicists proposed that high-energy processes occurring during thunderstorms might trigger nuclear reactions. But limitations in detector technology and difficulties in making measurements during thunderstorms have prevented researchers from recording direct experimental evidence of such nuclear reactions—until now. On Feb. 6, a team led by Teruaki Enoto of Kyoto University tracked two cloud-to-ground lightning strikes during a thunderstorm over the coast of the Sea of Japan. Using . . .

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