I’ve always envied lab geeks. Walking around in white coats sporting thick black glasses with quizzical looks on their faces, any casual passerby would assume that inside that brain some scientific quandary was being solved at that very moment. And except for the truly grotesque Michael Moore/Rosie O’Donnell looking rubes, most that I knew did OK with the ladies, who got all wet when hearing polysyllabic words. But even a rudimentary understanding of dangerous chemicals dictates that you do not take your work home with you:
A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said Wednesday he was only doing it as a hobby.
Richard Handl told The Associated Press that he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested him on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material.
I thought all that stuff was suppose to be hard to get, aside from playing poker with a Pakistani scientist or shopping the Chechyian version of ebay, that the average guy was pretty much out of luck in scoring anything remotely radioactive.
Now I did some of my best sleeping in my physics and chemistry classes in school, but I’m trying to get a handle on just what this guy was doing. First off, nuclear atoms are pretty frenetic suckers, not quite sure how he was going to isolate one for the experiment. But once grabbed hold of that was one little itty bitty vice and one sharp knife he would need to carry out the experiment.
I also thought that splitting an atom while being in close proximity was not a good thing, the least that could happen is that you now glow bright green for the next 72 years, but the worst is that your neighbors are now really pissed off at you for vaporizing all of their worldly possessions.
Since Alfred Nobel was Swedish, I figure that scientific alacrity is not totally foreign in their gene pool, but what was this guy thinking?