Atomic Mouse

Atomic Mouse

“Atomic Mouse” is a series of comic books created by Al Fago. It is a story about an ordinary mouse, Cimota Mouse, who takes U235 and turns into a super mouse called Atomic Mouse. Cimota Mouse is Count Gatto’s little pet that gets magic tricks done on. One day Count Gatto turned Cimota Mouse into a tiny mouse the size of atoms. He meets a few atoms who give him the U235. After becoming Atomic Mouse, he helps keep his town peaceful and has to often fight of his old master Count Gatto. The comic captures the views on atomic energy of people from the early 1950′s. Atomic Mouse reveals how people believed U235 made people stronger and better. It also reveals how people in the 1950′s believed that nuclear energy could keep America safe.

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Day 17: Climate Change

Having watched one of Naomi Oreskes’ presentation on the Merchants of Doubt students will discuss the history of climate change theory.  We will start with a brief timeline of scientific research on climate change.  Then we will work in groups to study the greenhouse effects of carbon dioxide based on Spencer Weart’s digital version of The Discovery of Global Warming.  We will close with a discussion of technological efforts at climate engineering.  Students will discuss James Fleming’s Chemical Heritage article, “Manufacturing the Weather.”

Homework

  1. In Bacigalupi’s WindUp world, food is measured in calories and energy in joules bound up in springs. In what ways does reducing these staples to homogenized, commensurable numbers symbolize a dystopian future.
  2. How is science to blame for the dystopia?
  3. How different is this dystopian future from our modern reality?

 

Nuclear power’s first fatal accident.

Nuclear power’s first fatal accident.

On January 3, 1961, the world had it’s first people killed as a direct result of a nuclear power accident. According to the website, “a small, 3MW experimental BWR called SL-1 (Stationary Low-Power Plant No. 1) in Idaho was destroyed after a control rod was removed manually.” All three men killed in the accident were military members, two army and one navy. One of the army men, Richard McKinley, is buried in a lead lined coffin in Arlington National Cemetery, so as not to further spread the radiation he was dosed with. “The three men were killed as they moved fuel rods in a “routine” preparation for the reactor start-up. One technician was blown to the ceiling of the containment dome and impaled on a control rod. His body remained there until it was taken down six days later. The men were so heavily exposed to radiation that their hands had to be buried separately with other radioactive waste, and their bodies were interred in lead coffins.”

Day 16: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Today we will be discussing Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring and its impact on the use of pesticides in America.  We will start by looking at some of the background history of DDT from the 1940s and 50s.  We will then discuss Carson’s biography, her book, and her legacy.

Homework

Biggest Threats to Human Existence

Biggest Threats to Human Existence.

I read this article and found it to be very interesting. On the list of biggest threats to human existence, nuclear war was number 1. The article mentions that it is only a matter of time before a nuclear war begins. When it does happen, the entire would will be at risk of extinction. The article also mentions that the Cuban Missile Crises almost caused a World War that would have been nuclear. The article also mentions some other scary stuff that could potentially exterminate humans!

via Biggest Threats to Human Existence.

ATOMIC CLOCKS

ATOMIC CLOCKS

With our recent class discussions and readings covering atomic bombs and atomic attacks, I decided to look into atomic clocks. Despite the name, these clocks are not actually radioactive, but instead have an oscillating mass and a spring similar to normal clocks. However, in an atomic clock the oscillation is between the nucleus of an atom and the electrons that surround it. The “mass of the nucleus of the atom as well as the electrostatic ‘spring’ between the positive charge on the nucleus and the electron cloud which surrounds it determines the oscillation frequencies”. The most common types of atomic clocks use either Cesium (the most accurate), Hydrogen, or Rubidium (the simplest). The first of these clocks was made in 1949 and used an ammonia molecule for its oscillations. The article provides more information on how the clocks are made and tuned as well as how accurate they are according to which atom is featured in the clock.