Ignition! (+ free Gumby)

If I ever find myself teaching nuclear physics, I am so assigning this (pdf) as a problem set -- it's a declassified paper written by Edward Teller (with E. Konopinski and C. Marvin, all Manhattan Project scientists) in 1946 showing that you can't ignite the atmosphere with a nuclear weapon. I love the fact that this paper was written a year after three atomic weapons had been detonated. To be fair, though, the same trio had suppsedly presented the same calculation within the project as early as 1942.

What can I say? It's a Friday and I feel like taking a break from political posts.

YouTube and its ilk are busy forging alliances with various media companies, which on the whole will probably wind up working to the detriment of their users. However, for now, here's something fun: the original Gumby shorts are getting posted online.

And in other news, did anyone notice that six of the ten Intel Science Talent Search finalists this year are women? (Back in my day, it was the Westinghouse prize.) Does make you wonder exactly how we're screwing up badly enough to have so few women in science faculty coming out the other end of the process. The first place winner, incidentally, is getting some press for constructing some manner of homemade spectrometer. There was a period in there when biotech projects were taking a lot of the top prizes, but I think the ISTS judges have always had a weakness for making cool stuff on the cheap. My year, the winner built a tunneling electron microscope out of piezo crystals and Lego. Mary sounds like she's probably much less of a dweeb than he was, though.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on March 16, 2007 7:26 PM.

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