In Dakar, Senegal, a woman goes into a dark, small room called an m’bar, a goldsmith studio. The walls are covered with black dust, and she is there to commission an intricate piece of gold jewelry that will be part of her family’s wealth, as well as a symbol of her status, political power and prestige. She’s accompanied by a griot, who will sing songs praising the client’s family connections and her beauty to inspire the teugue, the goldsmith, to create an especially exquisite piece of jewelry. Continue reading In Senegal, Female Empowerment, Prestige and Wealth Is Measured in Glittering Gold
Usain Bolt lives up to his surname ever time he steps onto a track. He loves to brag about being the fastest man on the planet, whether cameras are focusing on him or not. Whenever the Jamaican sprinter sets his feet into the block, it’s not uncommon to witness this guy make history in track and field.
Gold may be beautiful and valuable, but some mining operations to extract the precious metal are seriously dirty.
Metallurgist Grigory Raykhtsaum shows Smithsonian three different ways to test if something is solid gold: a color test, a thermal conductivity test, and a particle test. It’s all computerized now so all he has to do is scan the object to get a read on the color, zap it with an electrical current to measure the conductivity, and scrape a bit off to have it analyzed in a powerful microscope.
Over the last year, Apple processed 90 million pounds of electronics they were unwanted or broken. It turns out they were nearly worth their weight in gold—a substance which is used heavily in electronics for its conductivity and resistance to corrosion.
The legendary physicist tried for years to turn lead into gold—and may have used a newly recovered manuscript in his quest.
Natural resources: coffee, tea, cotton, maize, tin, phosphates, iron ore, cassava, diamonds and gold. Its richness produces a gross domestic product valued at $33.23 billion. Ten percent of Africa’s gold is there.