The noble gases are a group of chemical elements with very similar properties. Once termed as inert, they are all odourless, colourless, monoatomic gases, with very low chemical reactivity.
The six noble gases that occur naturally are helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn).
Why am I suddenly interested in these gases?
Well for two reasons:
- No aspect of the physical composition of the universe can be totally without interest to any thinking person.
- Tomorrow morning I have go for my annual MRI scan to check the rate of growth of my brain tumours and liquid helium is used to cool the superconducting magnets (a.k.a. those noisy little buggers) in modern MRI scanners.
Modern MRI Scanner
MY BRAIN - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER
Meningiomas are a diverse set of brain tumors arising from the meninges, the membranous layers surrounding the central nervous system.
Monday June 28th 2010
I’m feeling a bit nervous today about my consultation at the hospital when I will receive the results of the MRI brain-scan that I had last month, despite various assurances from people claiming to have some inside knowledge of the workings of God’s mind (Deus é Grande).
I sit in the doctor’s office while he intently studies the images on the screen (while I intently study his face). He is taking longer than usual: no, he concludes, the brain is clean …
(whew! what a relief!)
… but you do have a new one forming, its tiny, nothing to worry about for now.
He points out, on the contrast-imaging, a white speck of light on the black perimeter of my brain.
I am crestfallen and struggle to maintain my equilibrium.
Great, I think bitterly, that’s all I needed – another bleeding little star is born.
ANOTHER STAR IS BORN