Five thousand years ago, our ancestors cherished gold for its mystical qualities, believing it warded off evil spirits and healed the sick. Now in the 21st Century, non-toxic and biologically benign gold is used by modern medicine to help us lead longer, healthier lives.
Focused lasers: With gold-plated interiors, lasers give off a more focused beam, helping save the lives of heart patients suffering from once-inoperable heart conditions and tumors. Accurate thermometers: Gold-plated thermometers give accurate body temperatures of newborns and unconscious patients. Life-saving medicines: Biochemists use gold to bond with complex and compound materials, such as proteins, to create needed drugs. Genetic research: Researchers place gold on DNA strands to study the hybrid genetic material of cells.
An Everyday Lifesaver
Outside the world of medicine, gold is at work, usually unseen, helping make people's lives safer.
In cars, airbags depend on gold-coated contacts and electronic sensors for reliability, saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the past 15 years.
In the air, commercial airplanes rely on gold-bonded compressor vanes to cool their turbines from exhaust that can reach up to 1150 degrees Fahrenheit.
At work, gold-coated infrared equipment is used to detect a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide and other air pollutants.
Below ground, miners rely on gold-activated sensors to warn of low levels of oxygen and trigger an automatic replenishment in seconds.
Exploring the Heavens
Since Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon in 1969, gold has played a key role in our conquest of space. Thanks to its unmatched reflective qualities, gold is used to protect spacecrafts and astronauts from the searing heat of the sun and infrared radiation. From spacewalks to weather satellites, gold coating is making space accessible from the earth.
In spacewalks, an astronaut relies on gold coating to protect the vital lifeline tethering him to the ship, while the astronaut's eyes are shielded from the sun's rays by a gold-coated visor.
In the space shuttles, rocket engines have four miles of gold-brazed tubing, which safely carries liquid hydrogen without melting the ship's nozzle at operating temperatures of up to 6000 degrees Fahrenheit.
In geo-stationary weather satellites, sheets of gold-coated Mylar deflect heat that would otherwise degrade their performance.
In the Hubble telescope, all parts of its electronic camera are coated with gold to insulate against heat damaging its celestial snapshots.
Opening a New Era of Global Communications
Since the first rudimentary computer, gold has been at the vanguard of the march of digital technologies. Today's Information Age is dependent on gold, making possible the free exchange of ideas from every corner of the world.
Computers, the heart of the digital revolution, depend on gold circuitry.
Electronics and telecommunications equipment count on gold for reliable performance, since gold does not corrode in normal atmospheric conditions.
Trading in securities and other financial instruments depends on gold for static-free transmissions worth billions of dollars.
National security is aided through the major role gold plays guaranteeing the reliability of sophisticated electronic monitoring and communications.