What Makes Rare Earths Rare?

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You may not know what lanthanum, Neodymium or Samarium is, but you probably wouldn't be able to read this on your computer without them. These names are better known as "rare earths," a group of minerals found in our gadgets. They've been getting a lot of press in recent months due to the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and especially after China announced plans to reduce mining and production of them. What are they? Where do they come from? And is there a hidden price we are paying for use them? Frances meets with Richard Seymour, a researcher in materials science at USC’s Collaboratory for Advanced Computing and Simulation, to find out what makes these minerals so desirable.



  • Richard Seymour - Materials Science Researcher, USC's Collaboratory for Advanced Computing and Simulation