People are terrified that they’re being exposed to radiation all the time, whether from distant nuclear accident or the mobile devices snuggled against their heads. Generally, they are wrong. Here are the most radioactive objects in the world around you, and the truth about which ones cause health problems.
Zirconium is best known to the public as the ring you get your fiancée if you don’t love her enough to invest in a blood diamond. Popular as it is in “fake” jewelry, zirconium is more often used in power plants and space shuttles, because it has a remarkable resistance to damage by radiation.
During the 1920s and 1930s, people put radium on their skin and in their cocktails. They put uranium in health tonics. And they drank water from The Revigorator, which was a pot lined with uranium. In 2009, scientists tested a Revigorator, to see what it actually did.
A picture of some deformed plant sex organs is alarming people all over the internet this week. The photo, taken by Twitter user @san_kaido, shows a bunch of daisies that look like conjoined twins. The accompanying tweet describes their twisted, ribbonlike appearance, and reports a radiation reading for the spot.
How much of a dose of radiation do you get by snuggling up against your significant other for a year? Unless they’re glowing green, it’s a small dose, but it’s not nothing. We’ll tell you how much radiation you, and the people around you, emit.
There are many films that have picked up a reputation for being “cursed,” and one that may actually deserve it. It’s the lingering effects of radiation that haunted this film. And in true horror movie fashion, the film crew brought the curse home with them.
Radon is dangerous mostly because we don’t notice it. We can buy detectors, but we’re not equipped with any of them. The gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. You can’t see it... because it’s too hot. As radon cools down, it starts to glow. And it’s tough to say why.
A second robotic probe has investigated the interior of Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant. Using its onboard camera, it sent back eerie images of the plant’s interior, including what appears to be a mysterious green glow.
There’s a bizarre crime wave afoot in Mexico, in which thieves are targeting trucks transporting radioactive materials. But before you suspect terrorists, know this: in all of the recent cases (three in the past 18 months, including one this week), the robbers had no idea what they were stealing.
Here's a really neat, classic experiment that's always fun to see. When you place uranium inside a cloud chamber, you can see it decay and emit bits of radiation. It's like seeing little alpha particle torpedoes shooting out in every direction, leaving a trail behind.
Radon gas is a hazardous thing to have around the house. It hangs around a short time before shooting out alpha particles. With a cloud chamber, scientists show us exactly what that decay process looks like, and it's stunning.
Artist Phillip Stearns' A Chandelier For One of Many Possible Endings is a custom light fixture containing 92 elements, each connected to a Geiger counter and each representing an electron in a Uranium atom. They light up in response to radiation, creating a haunting pattern.
Fukushima is Japan's radiation nightmare that just won't go away. Ever since March 11, 2011, the damaged plant has been riddled with leaks and cleanup setbacks. Now Tepco, the operator of the damaged facility, says they've recorded spikes between 50-70 times above average readings in the gutters that pour water into a…
A newly declassified document obtained by a nuclear historian reveals that the Manhattan Project scientists who designed and detonated the first atomic bomb estimated that 10 to 100 enhanced "superbombs" would produce enough atmospheric radiation to wipe out the human race.
Ever heard of Wigner energy? It caused the worst nuclear disaster in British history. That's because it works much better in fiction than in reality.
After the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima, scientists around the world went into high gear, trying to figure out how we could respond next time. And for chemists at Berkeley Lab, that means trying to develop a pill that people could take to neutralize radioactive elements in the environment.
Is Halloween complete without some mysterious lights in the sky? Learn the theory behind the Hessdalen Lights, and why the reality might be scarier than visiting UFOs.
If you've been exposed to a certain type of radiation, you should waste no time getting decontaminated — by having a beer. This is a time-honored way of dealing with tritium contamination, from the early days of Los Alamos to today.
We love artwork made with innovative materials — but sometimes, it can go too far. This Victorian-era glassware, made with uranium to make it glow, is definitely in that category.
Fortunately, they're not a very pleasant species. Screw worms enjoy laying eggs in the mucus membranes of mammals, and telling their friends to do the same. A little applied radiation really helped. Perhaps.