What? How? Why?
At the frontier of chemistry, nights were long And good for ponderingThe drudgery of fifteen thousand refinements.First named for the trouble,Then named for the quarry,And then for more troubleUntil the What was answered.
Now here. This field. How? Why?Steel silviculture’s whirling blades Flash shadows on golden thatch,Current harvested by two ton magnets yoked below.Transmission to millionsSister elements hold the charge.Rare earth from another hemisphereTransposed with cash, a caustic pond,Bamboo reclaiming and reinforcing the scar.
At the frontier of technology, days are indefiniteAnd good for ponderingThe future of eight, nine, ten billion peopleEmpowered, connected, and stranded.Refining our HowUntil our Why is answered. Justine Owen
It would be almost 200 years before commercial use of REEs exploded as they were incorporated into fluorescent lighting, magnets (including the ones used to capture power in wind turbines), optical glass, and batteries (including those in cell phones and electric vehicles). China now mines the most REEs, followed by Australia and the United States. Extracting REEs from the earth is challenging and potentially damaging because they are usually found in low concentrations and with radioactive elements. The mined ore is processed with strong acids and bases, creating toxic wastewater that can get into the environment. In an effort to reduce refining and environmental costs, REEs are being recycled or replaced with less toxic options. Justine Owen