Throw in the fact that rare earth elements are important to all kinds of technologies -- they're the reason smartphones vibrate, why TVs have vivid reds and greens, and how computer hard drives are able to etch data -- and you've got a recipe that scares many technologists and researchers.
What would happen to our technological landscape without these rare earths?
Hadjipanayis, chairman of physics at the University of Delaware, and researchers from two other institutions, the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory in Iowa and GE Global Research in upstate New York, are preparing for that day.
They're in a race to make an even stronger magnet than before -- an essential component in green technologies, which use magnets to transfer electrical energy into motion. And they're trying to do it by using as little neodymium as possible, since that element is getting harder to come by.
Definitely give Martha Stewart a run for her money.