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A team of condensed matter physicists from the ICTP, SISSA (Scuola internazionale superiore di studi avanzati) and INFM (Istituto nazionale per la fisica della materia)--Erio Tosatti, Guido Chiarotti, Alessandro Laio and Sandro Scandolo--has applied modified computer simulations to shed new light on the composition and temperature of the Earth's core. Similar techniques have been used previously to examine the effects of ultra-high pressures in the atmospheres of such giant planets as Neptune and Uranus. The results indicate that the melting temperature of the Earth's solid iron core is roughly 5000°C--about 2000°C lower than prevailing estimates. The finding could significantly alter our understanding of the nature and behaviour of the Earth's core. The article appears in the 11 February 2000 edition of Science. This marks the third time during the past 12 months that the ICTP-SISSA-INFM research team has had an article published in Science.

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