Science: Pressure Metals

The structure of the planets, including the earth, can be understood best by studying the behavior of matter under very high pressure. Such is the theory of Astrophysicist William Henderson Ramsey of Britain's University of Manchester. The simplest example is Jupiter, which Ramsey thinks is made largely of hydrogen. Near the surface where pressure is low, the hydrogen is in gaseous form. Deeper down it turns into a nonmetallic solid. It is still too light to account for the density of Jupiter's interior.

When the pressure reaches about 800,000 atmospheres, a strange thing happens to hydrogen. Its molecular structure collapses, and it...

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