We are pleased to add our latest work in the domain of radiation shielding to our ever-widening repertoire of highly technical and challenging areas. Although this was one of the earliest features added to Wolfram|Alpha, we have now significantly expanded the functionality of the area that permits users to ask about the shielding efficacy of numerous materials against multiple radiation sources. Most importantly, we have now included the computations for shielding against that most dreaded radiation—the gamma ray. We think these new features will be extremely useful in helping people to better understand the common shielding gadgets they might see every day (such as at the dentist’s office or when getting an X-ray).
At launch we had information only for beta radiation (electron beam) but now have added alpha particles, protons as well as photons to our collection. Additionally, we have significantly improved the natural-language capabilities in this domain. For example, asking Wolfram|Alpha “At what thickness of lead is 3 MeV gamma radiation halved in intensity?” immediately returns the thickness of the lead sheet as the result. Or maybe you’re interested in figuring out how far alpha particles travel through air. Just ask, “What thickness of air will shield 5 MeV alpha particle radiation?” What if there is a glass window? Once again, the query is at your fingertips: “What is the maximum electron radiation that a 2″ thick plate glass can block?” More »
We here at Wolfram|Alpha are constantly trying to improve the user experience by fine-tuning our algorithms and making our functionality in every domain more versatile and flexible. We are pleased to announce that we have made useful upgrades to chemistry functionality in Wolfram|Alpha, especially in the domain of solution chemistry. We have new data that enables you to quickly determine whether a given set of solvents are miscible in each other or not: “Is acetone miscible in benzene?” You also could ask for the list of liquids that are miscible in a given solvent: “What solvents are miscible in acetone?” We are improving our coverage of this area, with new data being added regularly.
One often hears such phrases like “She’s as fast as a cheetah”, or “He is slow like a sloth”. And one often also stops to ponder, “Well, how fast IS a Cheetah?” or “How laboriously slow DOES a sloth actually move?”. Wolfram|Alpha now has a slew of interesting facts about the numerous species that co-inhabit planet Earth. We recently added an overall set of more than 400 new properties, which span the most interesting and intriguing features of different species within the animal and plant kingdoms.
For starters, we can compute how much faster a cheetah is than a three-toed sloth:
It’s a pretty remarkable fact that the cheetah could nap for almost 11 hours and still beat the sloth to the finish line in a 1-mile race. More »